Background - Following the first reports in the literature, the association between the ABO blood group and SARS-CoV-2 infection has been investigated by a number of studies, although with varying results. The main object of this systematic review was to assess the relationship between the ABO blood group and the occurrence and severity of COVID-19.
Materials and methods - A systematic literature search using appropriate MeSH terms was performed through Medline and PubMed. The outcomes considered were the prevalence of the blood group O vs non-O types in SARS-CoV-2 infected and non-infected subjects, and the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection according to ABO group. The methodological quality of the studies included in the analysis was assessed with the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, and the overall quality of the available evidence using the GRADE system. Benchmarks used to evaluate the effect size were odd ratios (ORs) for case control studies and risk ratios (RRs) for cohort studies.
Results - Twenty-one studies were included in the analysis. Overall, individuals with group O had a lower infection rate compared to individuals of non-O group (OR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.75, 0.86). However, the difference in the effect size was significantly lower in cohort studies compared to case control studies. No evidence was found indicating an effect of the O type on the disease severity in the infected patients.
Discussion - We have found low/very low evidence that group O individuals are less susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to those in the non-O group. No evidence was found indicating an effect of the O type on disease severity in SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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