COVID-19 host genetics and ABO blood group susceptibility.


David Ellinghaus

Year of publication



Camb Prism Precis Med







Impact factor



Twenty-five susceptibility loci for SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or COVID-19 disease severity have been identified in the human genome by genome-wide association studies, and the most frequently replicated genetic findings for susceptibility are genetic variants at the ABO gene locus on chromosome 9q34.2, which is supported by the association between ABO blood group distribution and COVID-19. The ABO blood group effect appears to influence a variety of disease conditions and pathophysiological mechanisms associated with COVID-19. Transmission models for SARS-CoV-2 combined with observational public health and genome-wide data from patients and controls, as well as receptor binding experiments in cell lines and human samples, indicate that there may be a reduction or slowing of infection events by up to 60% in certain ABO blood group constellations of index and contact person in the early phase of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. The strength of the ABO blood group effect on reducing infection rates further depends on the distribution of the ABO blood groups in the respective population and the proportion of blood group O in that population. To understand in detail the effect of ABO blood groups on COVID-19, further studies are needed in relation to different demographic characteristics, but also in relation to recent data on reinfection with new viral variants and in the context of the human microbiome.