Amid the flood of studies taking place as researchers try to unlock the secrets of the coronavirus to build defenses against it, one study has found that a person’s blood type might be a key to the severity with which the virus strikes.
The study of a sample of coronavirus patients in China, including some who died from the virus, found that people with different blood types showed different reactions when infected.
“People with blood group A have a significantly higher risk for acquiring COVID-19 compared with non-A blood groups, whereas blood group O has a significantly lower risk for the infection compared with non-O blood groups,” the study reported.
The research was not peer-reviewed, which means its methodology has not been fully vetted, according to the South China Morning Post.
The research found that people with type A blood had more severe symptoms once they were infected than did individuals with type O blood after infection.
Blood type A seems to be more susceptible than blood type O to SARS-CoV-2 infection. No doubt that glycans play a role in this as the blood group determinants are sugars. #glycotime
Relationship between the ABO Blood Group and the COVID-19 Susceptibility https://t.co/U589KF2Dso pic.twitter.com/HUFm32fVer
— Shi Yan (@mryanshi) March 17, 2020
“People of blood group A might need particularly strengthened personal protection to reduce the chance of infection,” the study said.
The research was conducted by a team of Chinese researchers led by Wang Xinghuan with the Centre for Evidence-Based and Translational Medicine at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University.
The study, which used the term “Sars-CoV-2” to describe the virus, urged that “infected patients with blood group A might need to receive more vigilant surveillance and aggressive treatment.”
In contrast, it said, “blood group O had a significantly lower risk for the infectious disease compared with non-O blood groups.”
“It might be helpful to introduce ABO blood typing in both patients and medical personnel as a routine part of the management of Sars-CoV-2 and other coronavirus infections, to help define the management options and assess risk exposure levels of people,” Wang wrote.
The study sampled 206 patients who had died from the virus in Wuhan. Of those, 85 had type A blood and 52 had type O blood.
Gao Yingdai, a researcher with the State Key Laboratory of Experimental Hematology, said the research could be a piece of the eventual medical puzzle but cautioned against reading too much into one study.
Practice social distancing by putting space between yourself and others. Continue to practice healthy habits, like washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and staying home if you’re sick, to help slow the spread of #COVID19.
— CDC (@CDCgov) March 17, 2020
“If you are type A, there is no need to panic. It does not mean you will be infected 100 percent,” she said.
“If you are type O, it does not mean you are absolutely safe, either. You still need to wash your hands and follow the guidelines issued by authorities.”
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