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Testing the association between blood type and COVID-19 infection, intubation, and death

Our take —

In a study of 1559 individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2 in New York, having blood type A was associated with higher odds of testing positive, and having blood types O or AB was associated with lower odds of testing positive; among cases, no differences in clinical prognosis by blood type were observed. This study builds on findings and improves on methods from previous studies.

Study design

Case-control

Study population and setting

Observational data on 1559 individuals with known blood type who had been tested for SARS-CoV-2 were extracted from the New York Presbyterian hospital system. Associations between ABO+Rh blood type and SARS-CoV-2 with: 1) infection status; 2) intubation; and 3) death were examined, adjusting for age, sex, overweight status, diabetes, hypertension, pulmonary diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.

Summary of Main Findings

Among the 1559 individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2, 682 tested positive. Of those who tested positive, a total of 179 were intubated and 80 died. Those in blood group A had higher odds of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (OR: 1.34, 95% CI [1.07-1.67], and those in blood groups O (OR: 0.80, 95% CI [0.65-0.99] and AB (OR: 0.56, 95%CI [0.31-0.97] had decreased odds of testing positive, even after adjusting for other risk factors. There were no significant differences found between blood group and the outcomes of intubation or death.

Study Strengths

This study improves on methods published in previous studies by comparing those who tested positive and those who tested negative in the same population. The analyses also adjusted for other risk factors.

Limitations

These data are preliminary and cross-sectional, and it is not possible to determine whether those who were captured in this study are representative of all individuals living in New York, albeit a larger target population. The findings represent preliminary associations and should be further investigated. Larger sample sizes may be needed to examine differences between ABO+Rh group.

Value added

This is one of the few studies to investigate the association between blood type and odds of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, and builds on results from previous studies.

This review was posted on: 9 February 2021