By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

There is no relationship between blood type and the severity of COVID-19, according to the authors of a recently published study. However, consistent with previous research, the authors observed a correlation between blood type and testing positive.

Using data from Mass General Brigham, investigators identified 7,648 symptomatic patients who sought treatment at five Boston-area hospitals between March 6 and April 16. From this group, the authors culled the total to 1,289 symptomatic adult patients who tested positive for the virus and had their blood type recorded. A statistical analysis determined the independent effect of blood type on intubation and/or death of these patients.

Investigators observed no significant connections between blood type and disease severity or between blood type and likelihood for hospitalization. They also studied inflammatory markers and positioning during intubation, but no revelations emerged in those areas either.

“This evidence should help put to rest previous reports of a possible association between blood type A and a higher risk for COVID-19 infection and mortality,” Anahita Dua, MD, MS, MBA, senior study author and investigator in the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Mass General Hospital, said in a statement. “Inflammation is a particularly important finding because prevailing scientific thought is that COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the body through systemic inflammation, which can lead to morbidity and death. We found, however, that inflammation markers remained similar in infected patients regardless of their blood type.”

Dua and colleagues did observe that those with blood types B and AB who were Rh positive were more likely to test positive for COVID-19. Further, those with blood type O were less likely to test positive.

“These findings need to be further explored to determine if there is something inherent in these blood types that might potentially confer protection or induce risk in individuals,” Dua said.

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