ABO and COVID-19

ABO and COVID-19:

Exploring the connection between blood group and SARS-CoV-2 infection

In the current COVID-19 pandemic, ABO blood group is one factor reported to be associated with susceptibility to disease. Group A individuals experience significantly higher SARS-CoV-2 infection whereas group O individuals appear to be somewhat protected, with significantly lower infection prevalence than other blood groups (Tanigawa and Rivas, 2020; Zhao et al., 2020; Zietz and Tatonetti, 2020). The ‘decoration’ of cells and tissues with ABO blood group antigens is the result of genetic variants in the ABO gene on chromosome 9 (9q34.2) as well as secretor status as defined by FUT2 on 19q13.33. Understanding the biologic mechanisms underlying this association and its contribution to disease pathogenesis will help in devising practical approaches to assist in clinical management, particularly to identify and manage individuals at high risk of infection and disease progression. We propose to investigate mechanism(s) by which ABO histo-blood groups influence COVID-19 at the level of tissue-specific ABH glycans and ABO-specific antibodies as well as investigate the influence of ABO genotype on both.

We have developed both ABH glycan array as well as Luminex bead-based ABO antibody detection tools; these tools allow us to measure ABO antibodies with specificity to different ABH sugar subtypes (I through VI) as well antibody isotype. But we do not have the capacity to perform ABO genotyping by NGS.

We are seeking study collaborators who have the capacity to perform ABO genotyping (and preferably secretor status), to partner with us. We are developing other collaborations locally and internationally to collect samples but the addition of additional samples (DNA and serum or plasma) would be most welcome.

If you are intersted in participating contact:

Anne Halpin ahalpin@ualberta.ca

Bruce Motyka motyka@ualberta.ca

Lori West ljwest@ualberta.ca