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Review

ABO Blood Types and COVID-19: Spurious, Anecdotal, or Truly Important Relationships? A Reasoned Review of Available Data

1
CRCINA, INSERM, Université de Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
2
CHU de Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
3
Microbiotes Hosts Antibiotics and Bacterial Resistances (MiHAR), Université de Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
4
Oniris, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire, Agroalimentaire et de l’Alimentation, F-44307 Nantes, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Shan-Lu Liu
Received: 18 December 2020 / Revised: 19 January 2021 / Accepted: 19 January 2021 / Published: 22 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glycans in Viral Infection and Immunity)
Since the emergence of COVID-19, many publications have reported associations with ABO blood types. Despite between-study discrepancies, an overall consensus has emerged whereby blood group O appears associated with a lower risk of COVID-19, while non-O blood types appear detrimental. Two major hypotheses may explain these findings: First, natural anti-A and anti-B antibodies could be partially protective against SARS-CoV-2 virions carrying blood group antigens originating from non-O individuals. Second, O individuals are less prone to thrombosis and vascular dysfunction than non-O individuals and therefore could be at a lesser risk in case of severe lung dysfunction. Here, we review the literature on the topic in light of these hypotheses. We find that between-study variation may be explained by differences in study settings and that both mechanisms are likely at play. Moreover, as frequencies of ABO phenotypes are highly variable between populations or geographical areas, the ABO coefficient of variation, rather than the frequency of each individual phenotype is expected to determine impact of the ABO system on virus transmission. Accordingly, the ABO coefficient of variation correlates with COVID-19 prevalence. Overall, despite modest apparent risk differences between ABO subtypes, the ABO blood group system might play a major role in the COVID-19 pandemic when considered at the population level. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; ABO blood groups; natural antibodies; thrombosis; attack rate; susceptibility COVID-19; ABO blood groups; natural antibodies; thrombosis; attack rate; susceptibility
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pendu, J.L.; Breiman, A.; Rocher, J.; Dion, M.; Ruvoën-Clouet, N. ABO Blood Types and COVID-19: Spurious, Anecdotal, or Truly Important Relationships? A Reasoned Review of Available Data. Viruses 2021, 13, 160. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020160

AMA Style

Pendu JL, Breiman A, Rocher J, Dion M, Ruvoën-Clouet N. ABO Blood Types and COVID-19: Spurious, Anecdotal, or Truly Important Relationships? A Reasoned Review of Available Data. Viruses. 2021; 13(2):160. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020160

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pendu, Jacques L.; Breiman, Adrien; Rocher, Jézabel; Dion, Michel; Ruvoën-Clouet, Nathalie. 2021. "ABO Blood Types and COVID-19: Spurious, Anecdotal, or Truly Important Relationships? A Reasoned Review of Available Data" Viruses 13, no. 2: 160. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020160

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