Kenya: Type a Blood More Susceptible to COVID-19

(file photo).

People with type A blood are at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 and severe illness while those with type O have a lower risk, a new research has shown.

A recent genetic analysis found that individuals with blood types A-positive, A-negative and AB-positive and AB-negative were at a higher risk of contracting the disease than non-A blood types.

The study was done to show whether there is a relationship between blood type and susceptibility to Covid-19 and involved more than 1,610 seriously ill Covid-19 patients in Italy and Spain, two of the hardest-hit countries.

It compared patients from seven hospitals who were severely sick with those who were not sick and conducted a meta-analysis of the two case-control panels.

The team found out that people with type A blood had a 45 per cent increased risk of contracting the coronavirus and developing respiratory failure compared to people with other blood types.

On the other hand, people with blood type O had a 35 per cent lower risk of developing severe Covid-19.

People with type 0-negative blood a play a special role in blood donation, since they are considered "universal donors".

Dr Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, noted that the genes controlling blood type might play a role in the make-up of cell surfaces. The changes in cell-surface structures might influence the susceptibility of the cell to infection by the coronavirus.

However, it is not clear why blood type influences susceptibility to severe illness.

"We also know from previous research that blood type affects clotting risk, and it's now quite evident that critically ill patients with coronavirus demonstrate significant clotting," Dr Glatter explained.


The findings, according to the researchers, will need further validation and investigation to gather more information on the link between blood type and Covid-19 severity.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at the DNA of the two different groups of people and found out that the variations were significantly tied to how severely ill they people got. One of those regions contains the gene coding for a person's ABO blood type.

The researchers' calls for more studies on the findings could lead to the development of a vaccine or drug for the virus. The experts, on the other hand, have repeatedly announced that the pandemic is severe and dangerous for the elderly hence describing them as a passive and vulnerable minority

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as one gets older, their risk for severe illness from Covid-19 increases.

For instance, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s.

The greatest risk for severe illness from Covid-19 is among those aged 85 or older.

There are also other factors that can increase risk for severe illness, such as underlying medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, hypertension and HIV.

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