More studies look at the role of blood type and severe COVID-19 symptoms

Posted at 11:08 AM, Oct 15, 2020

More studies seem to indicate there is some connection between a person’s severity of COVID-19 symptoms and their blood type. However, experts agree more research is needed and these studies do not allow people with certain blood types to disregard pandemic safety precautions.

The two latest studies, one from Denmark and one from Canada, both appear to show that people with blood type O may be slightly less vulnerable to COVID-19 and have a reduced chance of getting severely ill.

In the Danish study, researchers looked at more than 7,400 people who tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 38.4 percent had blood type O, while other research indicates that blood type makes up about 41.7 percent of the population.

In the Canadian study, they looked at the length of hospital stays for 95 people critically ill with the coronavirus. They found the portion of patients who needed mechanical ventilation was higher in those with blood type A or AB when compared with a group of patients with blood type O or B.

Researchers also found the blood type A or AB group had longer stays in the intensive care unit, a median of 13.5 days, compared to the other group with blood type O or B who had a median of 9 days.

"I don't think this supersedes other risk factors of severity like age and co-morbities and so forth,” Dr. Mypinder Sekhon, who is a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Critical Care Medicine and Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia told CNN.

"If one is blood group A, you don't need to start panicking. And if you're blood group O, you're not free to go to the pubs and bars."

Researchers say this information could be used in some way in regard to treatment of COVID-19. Both studies were published in the journal Blood Advances this week.

Previous studieshave indicated similar results in patients with blood type O.

In July, a study looking at 1,600 patients in Spain and Italy showed slightly higher rates of severe respiratory failure in patients with blood type A compared to those with blood type O.

Also this summer, the genealogy website released data they collected from 750,000 participants who identified they have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Individuals with O blood type are between 9-18% percent less likely than individuals with other blood types to have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the data,” a company statement said at the time.