A blood type could offer some protection against covid-19

The scientists collected data from 473,000 Danish residents tested for the coronavirus.

Courtesy | The results suggest that people with blood groups A, B, or AB are more likely to be infected with covid-19

People with blood group 0 may have a lower risk of being infected with coronavirus, suggest two new studies released by the American Society of Hematology.

The research, published in the journal Blood Advances, adds new evidence that there may be an association between blood type and vulnerability to covid-19.

However, the statement clarifies, additional research is needed to better understand the reasons and what this means for patients.

The first study concluded that people with group 0 could have a lower risk of covid-.19 infection. In addition, if they do get sick, they would see reduced chances of reaching serious results. What’s more, the report suggests that type 0 blood “might offer some protection” against the coronavirus.

To arrive at these results, the scientists collected data from 473,000 Danish inhabitants tested for the coronavirus and compared them with a control group of more than 2.2 million people (representing 38% of the total Danish population).

The results suggest that people with blood types A, B, or AB would be more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than people with type 0.

Because the distributions of blood groups vary among ethnic subgroups, the researchers also controlled for ethnicity. ‘The prevalence of blood type can vary considerably in different ethnic groups and different countries. We have the advantage of having a strong control group, “said study author Torben Barington, from Odense University Hospital and the University of Southern Denmark.

A second study consisted of examining data from 95 hospitalized patients in Vancouver (Canada), critically infected with covid-19. People with blood group A or AB appeared to have a higher degree of severity than those with type 0 or B.

They found that patients with blood groups A or AB were more likely to require mechanical ventilation, suggesting higher rates of COVID-19 lung injury. Also, a greater number of cases required dialysis due to kidney failure.

These results suggest that patients with these blood groups (A and AB) could have an increased risk of organ failure due to covid-19 over people with type 0 or B. In addition, they remained in intensive care units for longer and with signs of greater severity.

“Our focus was on the effect of blood type on covid-19. We look at this lung and kidney damage. In future studies, we want to discover the effect on other vital organs, ”said study author Mypinder Sekhon of the University of British Columbia.

They are not the first investigations in this sense. “The association between blood groups and the possibility of infection by the SARS-COV-2 virus has already been investigated by other groups from China (in Wuhan), in countries such as Italy and Spain and in the United States,” says the hematologist Augusto Miroli, medical advisor to the Argentine Lymphomas Civil Association.

For example, in June, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that having type A blood is associated with a 50% higher risk of the need for respiratory support in patients with covid-19, while group 0 confers a « protective effect »against the development of respiratory failure, with a 35% lower risk.

What is special about group 0?
The proportion of blood groups in the population depends, among other things, on the ethnic origin of the population.

Now, why would group 0 provide this “protective effect”? When the study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Parameswaran Hari, a blood specialist at the Wisconsin School of Medicine, had explained that people with type 0 blood are better able to recognize certain proteins as foreign and that can extend to proteins on the surface of the virus.

“The speculation in the papers presented is attributed to the presence of a higher level of anti-A antibodies in blood group 0 patients,” adds Trabadelo. These are antibodies that are naturally formed in people who have a blood group other than A, for example, in the case of group 0.

For his part, Miroli comments that “there would be no single explanation” why blood group 0 would be less susceptible to this infection. “In my opinion, we still do not know the real explanation for this phenomenon,” says the hematologist.

And he adds: «The important thing to note is that we are far from saying that there is a particular blood group that is a protective factor in this infection. Therefore, the care measures should be the same, regardless of this variable.

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