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Is There a Relationship Between Blood Type and Risk of Contracting COVID-19?


Ashley E. Rhodes
Division of Biology
Kansas State University
Timothy G. Rozell
Animal Sciences and Industry
Kansas State University


This directed case study introduces the basics of blood typing and discusses possible correlations for contracting COVID-19 by blood type. After students complete a set of activities designed to help them understand how blood type is determined at the cellular level, they then consider preliminary data collected from hospitals in China during the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak. Students are asked to examine the findings of a preprint manuscript using basic statistics to evaluate the authors’ conclusions. Through the process of critical examination and the application of basic quantitative skills, students evaluate the preprint as though they were reviewers. The case concludes with a question set that ties together blood type, antibodies, and risk of contracting COVID-19. It would be helpful for students to have a basic understanding of immunology before they start the case, although it is not required. Designed for college-level anatomy and physiology students, the case could be used when covering the cardiovascular system, the components of blood, and the production of blood cells.


  • Understand the composition of blood, how it is formed, and types of cells comprising blood.
  • Differentiate between plasma and formed elements such as leukocytes and erythrocytes.
  • Understand the difference between antigens and antibodies.
  • Illustrate different glycoproteins (antigens) present on different erythrocytes.
  • Explain why each blood type has different antibodies in circulation.
  • Understand the Rhesus factor (+/-) of blood typing.
  • Assess the basic components of a scientific manuscript.
  • Visualize data by graphing research findings reported in a scientific manuscript.
  • Critically assess findings reported in the analyzed manuscript and evaluate author claims.


Blood typing; immunophenotyping; Rh factor; antigens; antibodies; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; preprint; peer review; ABO; blood group; erythrocyte; plasma

Topical Areas

N/A, Science and the media

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division



Type / Methods




Subject Headings

Cell Biology  |   Epidemiology  |   Medicine (General)  |   Microbiology  |   Nursing  |   Physiology  |   Public Health  |   Statistics  |  

Date Posted


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