Coronavirus risk lowered for this blood type, studies suggest
A pair of new studies suggest that those with a certain blood type may be less likely to be infected with the novel coronavirus and less likely to suffer severe illness if they were to be infected.
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The studies were both published in the journal Blood Advances, a publication of the American Society of Hematology, on Wednesday. In the first, researchers looked at some 473,654 people in Demark who were tested for COVID-19 between February and July and compared them with the general population of roughly 2.2 million people. (For context, about 7,422 results were positive.)
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Medical syringe is seen with 'covid-19' sign displayed on a screen in the background in this illustration photo taken in Poland on October 12, 2020. (Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Interestingly, the researchers found that among those who tested positive for the virus, a lower percentage had type O blood, while a higher percentage had blood types A, B, or AB.
The researchers in the first study said their findings “demonstrate that blood group O is significantly associated with reduced susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection,” though noted that their study did have several limitations, including the fact that “ABO blood group information was only available for 62% of all tested individuals, and only doctors and nurses were identified as health care personnel.”
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In the second study, researchers looked at 95 critically ill COVID-19 patients in Canada from February to April, finding that blood type appeared to play a role in the severity of their illness.
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"A higher proportion of Covid-19 patients with blood group A or AB required mechanical ventilation and had a longer ICU stay compared with patients with blood group O or B," they wrote.
The studies bolster past research on how a person’s blood type may affect their risk of contracting the virus.
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In June, preliminary results from an ongoing study conducted by the genetic testing firm 23andMe suggested that those with type O blood may have some protection against the novel coronavirus. In fact, early results indicated that people with type O blood were between 9% and 18% less likely to test positive for COVID-19 when compared to the other blood types.
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“These findings hold when adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, ethnicity, and co-morbidities,” the company noted, adding that there “appeared to be little differences in susceptibility among the other blood types.”
Additionally, a study out of China that was published in March also found that those with type O blood may be more resistant to SARS-CoV-2, while those with type A blood might be more at risk.