Blood type has been found to have ties with COVID-19 risk. A genetic analysis of COVID-19 patients suggests that blood type influences whether or not a person develops severe disease.

Based on the analysis conducted by scientists in Europe, patients with Type A blood are more likely to develop severe COVID-19 than those with Type O blood. “Our genetic data confirm that blood group O is associated with a risk of acquiring COVID-19 that was lower than that in non-O blood groups, whereas blood group A was associated with a higher risk than non-A blood groups,” wrote the researchers.

According to them, patients with Type A blood had a 45 percent higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 than people with other blood types. People with Type O blood were also just 65 percent as likely to become infected as people with other blood types. The researchers also found that certain gene clusters were directly linked to higher odds of developing severe COVID-19.

While the report did not demonstrate how blood type directly influences the severity of COVID-19, it confirmed the findings of a previous report from China. In the said report, a blood specialist at the Medical College of Wisconsin concluded that blood type could be linked to COVID-19 severity. “Most of us discounted it because it was a very crude study,” said Dr. Parameswaran Hari. “Now I believe it. It could be very important,” he added.

Despite that, other scientists urged caution, saying the role of blood type in the severity of the disease is uncertain. “It isn’t enough of a signal to be sure,” said Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego.

The study involved researchers from Italy, Spain, Denmark, Germany, and other countries. It compared 2,000 COVID-19 patients in Europe with severe disease to several thousand other people who were healthy, had only mild symptoms, or had no symptoms at all.

The researchers conducted the study to hunt for clues as to why some people infected with the coronavirus get more ill than others. In previous studies, it was found that age, gender, and ethnicity were risk factors in developing severe COVID-19.

COVID-19 Coronavirus is spreading worldwide and countries are doing their best to flatten the curve. Photo by: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay