Blood type could be linked to COVID-19 severity, studies suggest


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)– New studies show your blood type could be connected to how badly COVID-19 impacts you.

“I don’t know most people would know their blood types to be honest with you,” said Dr. George Clarke, director of laboratories for the WakeMed Health and Hospital System.

There are four blood groups: O, A, B and AB and two types within each. New studies suggest certain blood types could predict your risk for COVID-19.

“Why that is, is not exactly understood,” said Clarke.

Clarke said he’s not familiar with any other studies linking blood type to how people respond to viral infections.

A pair of studies reported in Blood Advances and a study in The New England Journal of Medicine suggest they could link blood type with how people respond to being infected with COVID-19.

The sample sizes varied from 95 people to more than seven thousand people, which isn’t enough for a definitive conclusion.  The studies show that people in the O blood group are lower risk and less vulnerable to severe illness with COVID-19 than the A blood group.

“But that doesn’t mean you’re immune to COVID if you’re blood group O; That’s absolutely the last message you should take home from this,” said Clarke.

Dr. Clarke said those in the O blood group can still get COVID-19 and become extremely sick.

He said more research is needed, as there could be plenty of explanations for these studies’ results.

“I would not take this as any kind of advice on going out to find out what your risk is of developing severe disease and changing your behaviors as a result of that information,” said Clarke.

If you don’t know your blood type and want to, one way to find out is to donate blood. Doctors say it’s always needed.

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