The effects of blood group types on the risk of COVID-19 infection and its clinical outcome

Hakan Göker, Elifcan Aladağ Karakulak, Haluk Demiroğlu, Çağlayan Merve Ayaz Ceylan, Yahya Büyükaşik, Ahmet Çağkan Inkaya, Salih Aksu, Nilgün Sayinalp, Ibrahim Celalettin Haznedaroğlu, Ömrüm Uzun, Murat Akova, Osman Ilhami Özcebe, Serhat Ünal
Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences 2020 June 4

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease of 2019) is an infectious disease outbreak later on declared as a pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2). It spreads very rapidly and can result in severe acute respiratory failure. The clinical studies have shown that advanced age and chronic diseases increase the risk of infection. However, influence of the blood groups on COVID-19 infection and its outcome remains to be confirmed. The aim of this study is to investigate whether there exists a relationship between the blood groups of the patients and risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients.

MATERIAL AND METHOD: 186 patients with PCR confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 were included in this study. Age, gender, blood groups, comorbidities, need for intubation and intensive care unit follow up and mortalities of the patients were analyzed retrospectively. 1881 healthy individuals, who presented to the Hacettepe University Blood Bank served as the controls.

RESULTS: The most frequently detected blood group was blood group A (57%) amongst the COVID-19 patients. This was followed by the blood group O (24.8%). The blood group types did not affect the clinical outcomes. Blood group A was statistically significantly more frequent among those infected with COVID-19 compared to controls (57% vs 38%, p <0.001; OR: 2.1). On the other hand, the frequency of blood group O was significantly lower in the COVID-19 patients, compared to the control group (24.8% vs 37.2%, p: 0.001; OR: 1.8).

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study suggest that while the blood group A might have a role in increased susceptibility to the COVID-19 infection, the blood group O might be somewhat protective. However, once infected, blood group type does not seem to influence clinical outcome.

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