One of the more consistent questions to come up during the pandemic was whether your blood type affects your chances of getting COVID-19. This naturally brought up another question: How can you check your blood type? Let’s answer both questions for you now.
Two studies published in the journal “Blood Advances” suggest people with Type O blood may have a lower risk of COVID-19 infection. If you’re Type O, you may also benefit from a reduced likelihood of severe outcomes, including organ complications, if you do get sick.
In the first study, researchers used the Danish health registry data to compare more than 473,000 people who were tested for COVID-19 to data from a control group of more than 2.2 million people from the general population. They found fewer people with Type O blood and more people with A, B, and AB types among the people who tested positive for COVID-19.
Another study done at Massachusetts General Hospital found similar results — people with Type O blood were less likely to test positive for the coronavirus than other blood types. But researchers warn that no one is immune to COVID-19. They also say that the research in this field so far is "not pointing to a very cut and dry obvious conclusion."
In another Blood Advances study, researchers examined data from 95 critically ill COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Vancouver, Canada. They found that patients with blood groups A or AB were more likely to require mechanical ventilation, suggesting that they had greater rates of lung injury from COVID-19. They also found more patients with blood types A and AB required dialysis for kidney failure.
Blood type is not the only factor that determines how sick you could get. Other factors that also affect the course and severity of the disease include:
Although more studies are needed, the initial results are encouraging.
Finding out your blood type is relatively simple. You can:
Your blood type will fall into one of two blood groups: ABO and Rh.
Antigens on the surface of your red blood cells will determine what blood type you have. An antigen is a substance that triggers an immune response by your body against that substance.
The presence of specific antigens will designate your ABO blood type. They include:
After determining your ABO blood type, another test can reveal your Rhesus (Rh) factor:
By including the Rh factor, the 8 most prevalent blood types can be identified:
If you’re interested in finding out more about your blood type or what your blood type is, contact your doctor. A simple blood test will tell you all you need to know. You can schedule one during your annual exam.
And if you’d like to find out what else a blood test can tell you about your health, check out our guide called “Decoding Your Lab Results.” It will help explain what the results mean.