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People with blood type A may be more susceptible to coronavirus

Infected people with specific blood type may need 'more vigilant surveillance and aggressive treatment', says study

Kate Ng
Wednesday 18 March 2020 17:10 GMT
Coronavirus cases: The spread outside China

People with blood type A may be more vulnerable to being infected with coronavirus compared to other blood types, scientists in China have claimed.

In a preliminary study, researchers at the Zhongnan Hospital at Wuhan University examined blood group patterns of 2,173 people who had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

They found patients with blood type A had a “significantly higher” rate of infection and seemed to develop more severe symptoms of the virus.

Out of all the blood types, blood type O appeared to have the lowest risk of infection, they found. 85 out of 206 patients who died of coronavirus in Wuhan had blood type A, which was 63 percent more than people with blood type O who died.

The same pattern was found across differing age and gender groups. The study suggested the higher susceptibility of those with blood type A could be linked to the presence of natural antibodies in the blood, but added more studies were needed to prove the link.

Although researchers acknowledged the findings were preliminary, they urged governments and medical facilities to consider different blood types when treating infected patients.

Lead researcher Wang Xinghuan said people with blood type A may need “particularly strengthened personal protection” to keep their chances of infection lower, and infected patients with that specific blood type may need “more vigilant surveillance and aggressive treatment”.

In a paper published on health sciences preprint server Medrxiv, Mr Wang wrote: “It might be helpful to introduce ABO blood typing in both patients and medial personnel as a routine part of the management of SAR-CoV-2 and other coronavirus infections, to help define the management options and assess risk exposure levels of people.”

Scientists and medical authorities around the world are rushing to try and understand the highly contagious new coronavirus in order to develop a vaccine.

Nearly 207,000 people have been infected by the illness globally since the outbreak began in December last year, and 8,272 people have died.

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