As per a new study conducted by the Department of Research and Department of Blood Transfusion Medicine at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), people having blood group A, B, and those with Rh factor positive are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection as compared to those having O or AB group and Rh-negative. Furthermore, those with blood group A and Rh + types are associated with a decrease in the recovery period, whereas blood group O and Rh- are associated with an increase in the recovery period. The study was published in the November 21 edition of "Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology".
The research was conducted on 2,586 Covid-positive patients who tested positive through RT-PCR and were admitted to the hospital from April 8 to October 4 in 2020. Follow-up was also taken till their last date of admission as either discharged or dead.
The study "has found that (those having) blood groups A, B and Rh+ are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection whereas (those with) O, AB and Rh- are at lower risk of COVID-19 infection", the statement said. However, "there is no association between blood groups, and susceptibility to the severity of disease as well as mortality," the researchers said.
The Rhesus factor or Rh factor is a protein that may be present or absent on Red Blood Cella (RBC). If cells possess, then the blood type is positive, and if they are absent, it is negative.
"Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is a new virus, and it is unclear whether blood groups have any impact on COVID-19 risk or progression. Therefore, we investigated the association of ABO and Rh blood group with COVID-19 susceptibility, prognosis, recovery time, and mortality in this study," said senior doctor Rashmi Rana.
"We also found that male patients of blood group B are more prone to COVID-19 than the female patients with blood group B, and blood group AB was observed to be more susceptible to infection in patients with an age group of over 60 years," said Dr Vivek Ranjan, co-author and Chairperson, Department of Blood Transfusion.
"However, the ABO and/or Rh blood groups may not be responsible for this association, as these may indicate an unexplored underlying factor like co-morbidity. Therefore, larger, multicentre and prospective studies are needed to ascertain the relationship between blood groups and SARS-CoV-2," the study adds.