Reduced susceptibility to COVID-19 associated with ABO blood group and pre-existing anti-A and anti-B antibodies

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BACKGROUND: Susceptibility to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 shows individual variability in un-vaccinated and previously un-exposed individuals. We investigated the impact of ABO blood group, titers of anti-A and anti-B, other blood group antigens, and the extracellular deposition of ABH antigens as controlled by secretor fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2) status.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We studied incidents in three different hospitals between April to September 2020, where un-diagnosed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients were cared for by health care workers without use of personal protection and with close contact while delivering therapy. We recruited 108 exposed staff, of whom 34 were diagnosed with COVID-19. ABO blood type, titer of anti-A and -B, blood group specific alleles, and secretor status were determined.

RESULTS: Blood group O was associated with lower risk of COVID-19 (OR 0.39, 95 %CI (0.16-0.92), p = 0.03) compared to non-O, i.e., blood groups A, B and AB. High titer anti-A immunoglobulin G (IgG) compared to low titer was associated with lower risk of COVID-19 (OR 0.24 95 %CI (0.07-0.78), p = 0.017). High titer of anti-B immunoglobulin M (IgM) compared to no anti-B (IgM) was associated with lower risk of COVID-19 (OR 0.16, 95 %CI (0.039-0.608), p = 0.006) and the same applies to low titer anti-B (IgM) compared to no titer (OR 0.23, 95 %CI (0.07-0.72), p = 0.012). The 33Pro variant in Integrin beta-3, that is part of human platelet antigen 1b (HPA-1b), was associated with lower risk of COVID-19 (OR 0.23, 95 %CI (0.034-0.86), p = 0.028).

CONCLUSION: Our data showed that blood group O, anti-A (IgG) titer, anti-B (IgM) titer as well as HPA-1b are associated with lower risk for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number152399
Issue number4
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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