Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Your Blood Type Could Predict Your Chances of Catching COVID

Age, gender, ethnicity, current state of health—these are all factors that can influence how likely you are to get COVID-19, the severity of infection, and even your risk of death. Over the last several months, researchers have also linked blood type to coronavirus risk. And, an upcoming study courtesy of 23andMe, confirms that people with one specific blood type are less susceptible to the virus.  

People With Type O Were Less Likely to Test Positive

According to the preprint study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, people with blood group O were less likely to test positive for coronavirus than those with other blood types. 
"Our data also strengthens the evidence for a role for ABO in COVID-19 host genetics," the study says. "ABO blood group has been reported as a risk factor for both COVID-19 susceptibility20 and severity15, and is notable given the reported links between COVID-19 and blood clotting complications. Our data supports a role in susceptibility to infection, suggesting that blood group O is protective in contrast to non-O blood groups." 
They also linked a specific genetic variant—chr3p21.31—to the likelihood of serious respiratory symptoms. Unfortunately, researchers still do not understand why exactly genetics are a factor. 
"While non-European ancestry was found to be a significant risk factor for hospitalization after adjusting for socio-demographics and pre-existing health conditions, we did not find evidence that these two primary genetic associations explain differences between populations in terms of risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes," they explained.  

The Link Between Genetics and COVID-19

According to 23andMe, their study encompasses a larger, more diverse data group, pulling data from their millions of customers. In total, they have data from at least one million cases, including people who have suffered from both mild and severe cases.
Janie Shelton, lead author of the paper and senior scientist at 23andMe, and her team noted that genetic associations did not explain the variance between how different populations are impacted by the virus. For example, why African Americans are more prone to serious infection that Caucasians. 
"I do think that because of the power of our large sample size, we were able to detect that association pretty strongly," said Shelton.
Another research team led by Tom Hemming Karlsen, a physician at Oslo University Hospital found similar findings in regard to genetics and coronavirus. Their findings were published in June in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.  

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