Does a patient's blood type (A, B, AB and O are the most common) influence whether he or she will have a more severe case of COVID-19?
The answer, according to a study published in the Annals of Hematology, is no.
Blood type, like eye color, is inherited, or based on the blood types of a person’s mother and father.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that in people who have tested positive for COVID-19, a person’s blood type “is not associated with a severe worsening of the symptoms,” which usually requires hospitalization or the use of a ventilator.
However, according to the study, blood type may influence a person’s chance of getting the coronavirus. For instance, people with blood types B and AB were more likely to test positive for COVID-19, researchers said, while people with type O blood were less likely to have a positive result.
The study was based on data of 1,289 symptomatic adults who tested positive for COVID-19 at five different hospitals during a 40-day span last spring.
A study by New York City’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, which examined more than 7,500 patients who tested positive for the virus, came to the same conclusion as the Harvard researchers.
And while type O blood types were determined to be less likely to test positive for COVID-19, researchers said no one should count on being immune from the virus just because of their blood type.
“Our blood group system is complex and there are still many unknowns when it comes to blood type and susceptibility to the virus,” said Edward Gorak, DO, a board-certified hematologist/oncologist with Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“The theory that certain antibodies in the blood clear the virus out of the blood quicker is only a theory. We need to continue to be cautious and vigilant. COVID-19 is a serious disease and the overall mortality rate can attest to that.”