People with Type A blood may be more vulnerable to coronavirus


The new coronavirus is the epicentre of our life right now. That is why all kinds of scientific studies are being conducted around the world to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. From vaccine testing to drug trials, and even understanding what a healthy immune response to COVID-19 might look like. The latest study conducted by a team of Chinese scientists, that has yet to be peer-reviewed, claims that people with type A blood may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus compared to other blood groups.

The experiment involved 2,173 patients in China who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 from three different hospitals: two in Wuhan, where the virus originated, and one in Shenzhen. The researchers looked at the blood group distribution of these patients and compared it to a group of healthy people from the same regions.

"The meta-analyses of the pooled data showed that blood group A had a significantly higher risk of IDOC-19 compared to non-A blood groups. In addition, blood group O had a significantly lower risk for infectious disease compared to non-O blood groups," the authors wrote. The findings applied to all genders and age groups.

The preliminary study also included 206 patients who had died in Wuhan. Of these, 85 had to type A blood -- the equivalent of 41 per cent of all deaths.

The authors of the study point out that their initial findings are consistent with previous studies. According to the reports, ABO blood grouping systems in Hong Kong also differentiated susceptibility to SARS-CoV infection, which originated in 2002. At the conclusion of their study at that time, the authors suggested that "SARS-CoV-2 infected patients with blood group A may need more severe surveillance and aggressive treatment.

People with the virus, in comparison, were distributed as follows: 38% type A, 26% type B, 10% type AB and 25% type O. Similar differences were seen in Shenzhen.

How much can we trust these results?

The study also clearly states that, although the results were significant, this is preliminary work. Moreover, even though the study discovered a relationship between coronavirus and patients with blood type A, it did not explore its causality, so experts warn that we should not worry about whether you this particular blood type. We should take them as preliminary results that need further investigation. Although this is the first study with a limited sample, it does justify the need for further research and could have important clinical implications given the current crisis we are experiencing worldwide.

This controversial correlation has not yet been analyzed by other peer-reviewed academics and researchers cannot explain why the infection may vary by blood type. The study authors are not sure but suggest that it may have to do with anti-A antibodies that have type B and type O. But this is a hypothesis. Until we find out more, this is just preliminary information.

Sakthi Vaiyapuri, a professor of poison and cardiovascular pharmacology at the University of Reading, who was not involved in the study, said that "there is little evidence to support any claim that there is more than a coincidental correlation between ABO blood type and susceptibility to Covid-19. There are too many parameters that cast doubt on the credibility of their claims, which are even worse not mentioned in a pre-printed, non-peer-reviewed study. Without establishing causal links between the Coronavirus and ABO blood group antigens, it is difficult to understand this conclusion, which could be pure coincidence. It is important to note that people should not be frightened by these results, as clearly more scientific research is needed to corroborate these claims.

That said, if you're a type A, there's no need to panic because it doesn't mean you'll end up infected. Likewise, if your blood type is O, it doesn't mean you're totally safe either. We should all follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization that require social distancing and rigorous hand washing. 

Reference: Relationship between the ABO Blood Group and the COVID-19 Susceptibility Jiao Zhao, Yan Yang, Han-Ping Huang, Dong Li, Dong-Feng Gu, Xiang-Feng Lu, Zheng Zhang, Lei Liu Ting Liu, Yu-Kun Liu, Yun-Jiao He, Bin Sun, Mei-Lan Wei, Guang-Yu Yang, Xinghuan Wang, Li Zhang, Xiao-Yang Zhou, Ming-Zhao Xing, Peng George Wang MERDRXIV 2020 doi https://doi. org/10.1101/2020.03.11.20031096

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