Covid-19 and blood groups: ABO antibody levels may also matter

Marie Deleers, Adrien Breiman, Valéry Daubie, Carine Maggetto, Isabelle Barreau, Tatiana Besse, Béatrice Clémenceau, Nathalie Ruvoën-Clouet, Jean-François Fils, Evelyne Maillart, Virginie Doyen, Bhavna Mahadeb, Jacques Jani, Philippe Van der Linden, Mieke Cannie, Nabil Hayef, Francis Corazza, Jacques Le Pendu, Hanane El Kenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Susceptibility to Covid-19 has been found to be associated with ABO blood group, with O type individuals being at a lower risk. However, the underlying mechanism has not been elucidated. Here, we aimed to test the hypothesis that Covid-19 patients might have lower levels of ABO antibodies than non-infected individuals as they could offer some degree of protection.

METHODS: After showing that the viral spike protein harbors the ABO glycan epitopes when produced by cells expressing the relevant glycosyltransferases, like upper respiratory tract epithelial cells, we enrolled 290 patients with Covid-19 and 276 asymptomatic controls to compare their levels of natural ABO blood group antibodies.

RESULTS: We found significantly lower IgM anti-A+ anti-B agglutination scores in blood group O patients (76.93 vs 88.29, P-value = 0.034) and lower levels of anti-B (24.93 vs 30.40, P-value = 0.028) and anti-A antibodies (28.56 vs 36.50, P-value = 0.048) in blood group A and blood group B patients, respectively, compared to controls.

CONCLUSION: In this study, we showed that ABO antibodies levels are significantly lower in Covid-19 patients compared to controls. These findings could indicate that patients with low levels of ABO antibodies are at higher risk of being infected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Infectious Diseases
Early online date13 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


  • ABO antibodies
  • ABO antibody levels
  • ABO blood group
  • Covid-19
  • Covid-19 infection risk

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