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People with Type A blood were more likely to have severe Covid-19 symptoms while those with Type O were less likely, according to study

Genes associated with certain blood types may increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infections, new study suggests

Genes associated with certain blood types may increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infections, new study suggestsA genetic analysis of COVID-19 patients suggests that blood type might influence whether someone develops severe disease. Scientists who compared the genes of thousands of patients in Europe found that those who had Type A blood were more likely to have severe disease while those with Type O were less likely. In the new study from The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers identified two regions in the genome where genetic variants were linked to severe cases of COVID-19 and a higher risk of death; in one of these regions was a gene that determines blood type. There are four main blood types — A, B, AB and O — and "it's determined by proteins on the surface of your red blood cells," said Dr. Mary Horowitz, scientific chief at the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. People with Type O are better able to recognize certain proteins as foreign, and that may extend to proteins on virus surfaces, Dr. Parmeswar Hari, a blood specialist at the Medical College of Wisconsin explained. Two prior studies have hinted at the possibility of a link between blood types and risk factors for COVID-19, but they were not peer reviewed. Moreover, most genetic studies like this are much larger (more than 2000), so it would be important to see if other scientists can look at other groups of patients to see if they find the same links, Dr. Eric Topol said. A genetic test and a person’s blood type might provide useful tools for identifying those who may be at greater risk of serious illness, however, many other underlying health conditions and age also increase the likelihood of developing severe symptoms.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.

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