New research shows that blood types may play a significant role in how coronavirus affects a patient, suggests that the risk of infection is higher for people with blood type A.
Amid the race to unfold how SARS-CoV-2 behaves inside the human body, a team of researchers had recently discovered a link between a person’s blood type and his risk of developing severe coronavirus.
The study, which was published by The New England Journal of Medicine last week, shows that patients possessing blood type A are 50% more at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms such as respiratory failure. People with blood type O, however, are less likely to progress to respiratory failure by 50%.
Experts say the connection between the two factors could help to identify those who are likely to contract severe coronavirus symptoms.
Patients with blood type A face higher risk, unlike O
Per the research, the team has collected more than 1,600 genetic codes from seven medical centers based in Italy and Spain. These patients are reported to have undergone treatment for severe coronavirus infection as well.
Upon their examination, they found out that a part of the patients’ genomes has a linkage on the severity of the patients’ infection.
The researchers further explained that blood types A, B, and AB depend on the presence or absence of proteins called antigen A and B that can be seen in the surface of red blood cells. Blood type O, on the one hand, does not have both said antigens.
The discovery has them prompted the researchers to conclude that patients with blood type have 50% more chance to progress to the severe stage and develop respiratory failure. In contrast, individuals possessing the blood type O have “protective effects,” unlike other blood types.
Coronavirus’ link to blood types needs further study
In a blog post, the director of the National Institutes of Health Francis Collins said that “a person’s blood type might provide useful tools for identifying those who may be at greater risk of serious illness.”
Yet some doctors—Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps and Research and Translational Institute, for instance—are worried about the said study.
According to Dr. Topol, the blood type’s role to the severity of COVID-19 is “tentative” and is “not enough to be sure.” Genetic studies should be larger than the said study as well, as per Associated Press.
But Dr. David Valle of the Institute of Genetic Medicine at John Hopkins University argued that blood types had been long connected to some diseases like Cholera and H. Pylori.
“It’s a provocative study. It’s in my view well worth publishing and getting out there,” Dr. Valle told Associated Press and added that it still requires verification by examining coronavirus patients.