New Blood Test Predicts Which Covid-19 Patients At Severe Risk

Henrietta Brewer
October 18, 2020

While those answers seem to vary month to month, a pair of studies find your blood type may play a key role in how badly COVID-19 affects you.

People with blood type O may have a lower risk of infection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19, and reduced likelihood of severe outcomes, including organ complications, if they develop the disease, two new studies suggest, the studies suggested. A small handful of other studies have also indicated that people with blood type O appear to be less likely than any other blood type to test positive for Covid-19 and less likely to fall seriously sick.

Previous studies have indicated similar results in patients with blood type O. 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. A study published in July looking at patients in five major hospitals in the state of MA found that people with blood type O were less likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those with other blood types.

However, both studies' authors note several limitations that warrant consideration, and suggest further research to confirm these findings and enhance scientists' understanding of blood type association to Covid-19 severity. Yet another earlier study by a US-based biotechnology company, 23andMe, said that people with O-type blood group are less likely to catch the COVID-19 infection.

"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". No associations were found between non-O blood groups and comorbidities that might explain infection rate differences.

Types A and AB also needed a sort of dialysis that helps the kidneys filter blood without putting too much pressure on the heart more often than their counterparts. This means that it's not clear how the relationship between blood type and Covid-19 works and any link may be coincidental.

It's important to emphasize that the type of reduction in risk achieved with appropriate physical distancing, wearing a mask, and hand hygiene are significantly better than depending on your blood group for protection, so people with blood type O should not be complacent about public health advice.

"The Dublin-Boston score is easily calculated and can be applied to all hospitalised Covid-19 patients", said study author Gerry McElvaney from the RCSI University in Ireland.

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