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New clinical research suggests a person’s blood type may influence how severely ill they could be if they catch COVID-19. What is this hypothesis based on? And do you know your blood group?
Researchers from Odense University Hospital looked into the Danish health registry of over 473,000 individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19.
This data was compared to a control group of more than 2.2 million from the general population.
They found that people with blood type O had fewer infections with COVID-19 than the other blood groups.
People with blood group A, B and AB had similar rates of infections with the disease.
Dr Torben Barington, lead author of the study, said: “It is very important to consider the proper control group because blood type prevalence may vary considerably in different ethnic groups and different countries.
“We have the advantage of a strong control group,” Dr Barington continued.
“Denmark is a small, ethnically homogenous country with a public health system and a central registry for lab data.
“So our control is population-based, giving our findings a strong foundation.”
Scientists from the University of British Columbia discovered similar results by examining the blood type of 95 critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Based in a hospital in Vancouver, the researchers noted how people with blood types A and AB were at higher risk of severe symptoms than blood type O or B.
People with blood types A and AB were more likely to require mechanical ventilation and dialysis for kidney failure.
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These results suggest that people in blood groups A and AB have an increased risk of organ dysfunction due to COVID-19.
This same group also remained in intensive care units for a longer duration than average.
Dr Mypinder Sekhon, the lead author of the study, said: “The unique part of our study is our focus on the severity effect of blood type on COVID-19.”
He added: “We observed lung and kidney damage, and in future studies, we will want to tease out the effect of blood group and COVID-19 on other organs.”
Both research papers were published in the journal Blood Advances – building on the hypothesis that blood type matters.
The NHS clarified that a person’s blood group is determined by genetics, and is identified by antibodies and antigens in the blood.
Antibodies are proteins found in plasma – and they’re a part of your body’s natural defences, alerting the immune system to foreign invaders.
Antigens are protein molecules found on the surface of red blood cells.
The most common blood group in the UK is blood group O – making up 48 percent of the population.
Onto of blood groups A, B, AB and O, people can either have a RhD antigen or not.
This further splits the blood group into eight types, with each blood group either being RhD positive or RhD negative.
For example, blood type A RhD positive differs from blood type A RhD negative.
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