Does your blood type impact your risk for COVID-19?

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 6:20 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - You may have seen something about your blood type impacting your risk of COVID-19. Officials at Augusta University say early studies show that may not be too far off.

AU experts say there’s still a lot they don’t know about COVID-19 and blood type. If anyone might notice a connection, it probably would be a blood donation center. But there are plenty of questions here, too.

Dr. Rodger MacArthur, an infectious disease expert at AU, is talking about studies that imply both O and B blood types may be at lower risk for dealing with COVID-19.

“That’s been reported that O handles it better, and A doesn’t handle it well. Right now, it doesn’t make sense as for why that should be,” Macarthur said.

In other words, there may be a connection between the two, but that doesn’t tell us much more right now.

“The majority of our donors are actually O+ donors that had COVID and are now donating plasma,” said Melinda Woodell of the Shepeard Community Blood Center.

Woodell says that should tell us quite a bit. The virus is following the most common blood types.

“Being that the A positive and the O positive are the majority of the blood types, that’s what we are seeing as well,” she said.

In fact, Woodell says their O positive blood is getting used fast. They’ve also been screening blood donors for COVID-19 antibodies since July.

“I can’t say that one blood type was more prevalent of having antibodies than the others,” Woodell said.

Back at AU, officials say they need more research because if there’s more than just a connection -- that’s a big deal.

But for now, they advise people to not act differently.

“It would not be wise to assume that because you have o blood that you are protected from COVID-19,” MacArthur said.

Staff members at the Shepeard Community Blood Center say they are desperate for basic blood donations, not just convalescent plasma. If you donate, you get a free COVID-19 antibody test.

The center needs more AB convalescent plasma donors. They are the universal donor.

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