Scientists from the Severe COVID-19 GWAS Group found that a person’s genes and blood type may help determine their odds for a nastier form of COVID-19, should they get infected with the new coronavirus.
They found that people with blood type A had a 45% higher risk of catching coronavirus and developing COVID-19 with respiratory failure compared to people with other blood types.
On the other hand, people with type O blood had a 35% lower risk for this more serious form of COVID-19.
The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
There are four main blood types: A, B, AB, and O. It’s not clear why blood type might influence susceptibility to severe disease.
In the study, the team analyzed the genetics and blood types of more than 1,600 COVID-19 patients from Italy and Spain, as well as more than 2,200 healthy controls.
Besides the findings on blood type, the team also found that certain gene clusters were tied to higher odds of developing severe COVID-19—one such cluster raised the risk by 77%.
Researchers say that it is possible that genes that control blood type also play a role in the makeup of the surface of cells.
Changes in cell-surface structure might influence the vulnerability of the cell to being infected by the new coronavirus.
The study helps confirm earlier, more anecdotal evidence that blood type was tied to better or worse illness.
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