Audio Interview

ABO blood groups and SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility

Published on March 22, 2021   15 min

Other Talks in the Series: Research and Clinical Interviews

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Interviewer: Dr. Stowell, thank you for taking the time today to discuss with us the role of blood type in the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Could you please outline how different blood types could have a different response to viral infections? Dr. Stowell: You bet. There have been studies in general suggesting that blood types can potentially impact one's likelihood of getting an infection, before COVID. These studies have suggested that the way that may occur is through potential incorporation of blood group antigens which reside on the membranes of cells in general, not only on red cells but also on the cell surface of our lungs and other cells as well. When viruses are made by those cells the blood group antigens may become incorporated, especially in envelope viruses, which accumulate some of the membrane on the surface of our cells onto their surface. Those blood group antigens that may be populated on the viral surface serve as a target for antibodies that we make naturally, within the first few months of our life. Everyone that's blood group O makes antibodies spontaneously within the first few months of life against blood group A or blood group B. The idea, or concept, that's been out there for a long time is that if a blood group A person, for example, was infected with a virus that's enveloped (meaning that it has a membrane component to it), and that membrane component had the blood group A or blood group B antigen on it, a blood group O person's naturally-occurring antibodies (that are just being made regardless of viral exposure) may be able to bind to the virus and prevent it from infecting them. Or at least reduce the probability that it can infect them.
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ABO blood groups and SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility

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