We already know that older adults and people with certain underlying health conditions are more susceptible to COVID-19 compared to others. A new study reported that individuals with a certain blood type might be more vulnerable.

Chinese researchers studying the disease in its outbreak epicenter found the proportion of patients with blood type A were both infected and killed by COVID-19 significantly higher than others. The study also highlighted the fact that patients with blood type O made up only a smaller proportion of both infected and killed by the deadly virus.

“People of blood group A might need particularly strengthened personal protection to reduce the chance of infection,” New York Post quoted the Chinese researchers at the Centre for Evidence-Based and Translational Medicine based out of Wuhan. “Sars-CoV-2-infected patients with blood group A might need to receive more vigilant surveillance and aggressive treatment,” he wrote.

The study authors have, however, couched the study as ‘preliminary’ and opined that further work needs to be done, in order to make any conclusions.

The study published in medRXiv titled "Relationship between the ABO Blood Group and the COVID-19 Susceptibility" was conducted by comparing the blood group distribution in over 2,000 patients with COVID-19 positive, confirmed by tests conducted from three different hospitals in China.

Key findings of the study:

  • People with blood type A had a significantly higher risk for COVID-19 compared to others
  • Those with blood type O had a significantly lower risk for the infection compared to others
  • Age and gender do not have much effect on COVID-19 distribution

The authors opined that it might be helpful to introduce the phenomenon of ABO blood typing as a routine part of disease management. It can help define the management options and assess risk exposure levels of individuals.

The study is yet to be peer-reviewed and the authors also cautioned that there could be risks involved in using the findings of their study to guide current clinical practice. One more limitation of the study is that it failed to offer a clear explanation about the phenomenon, including the molecular interaction between COVID-19 and the different types of red blood cells.

blood-group-2668685_1920 People with Blood Type A might be more vulnerable to COVID-19 Photo: MAKY_OREL, Pixabay