Researchers uncover link between blood type and risk of COVID-19 infection

Knowing your blood type might be more important with new research showing some types of blood are more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than others.

Laboratory experiments by Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people with blood group A are more likely to be infected after exposure to COVID-19 than those with blood type O, The results are published in the journal Blood.

The lab results show the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein displays an affinity for, and preferential ability to infect, blood group A cells.

Further experiments involving blood cells in the lab show the Omicron strain has an even stronger preference for infecting blood group A cells than the original virus.

The experiment also finds the addition of a protein that inhibited SARS-CoV-2 from recognizing certain blood group antigens (substances that cause an immune response in the body) blocked the virus’ preference for infecting blood group A cells, but had no effect on blood group O cells.

The paper provides one explanation for early observations during the COVID-19 pandemic which suggested people with blood type A were more at risk of infection than those with blood group O.

However, Stowell warns the findings do not suggest people with blood type O should take fewer precautions against infection.

“Among a group of several thousand people, some studies suggest that those with blood group A may be 20% more likely to be infected after exposure to SARS-CoV-2 compared with those who have blood group O. 

“But people with blood group O can still contract the virus and may transmit it to others,” he says.

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