By Shivangi Chawla
Over the course of the past ten months, we have come to discover that COVID-19, caused by the infectious SARS-COV-2 virus posits different symptoms for everyone, ranging from mild, atypical, moderate or more terrible ones. The severity can also differ based on parameters like age, gender, co-morbidities. Studies have also now proven that the likelihood of your COVID-19 condition also depends on your blood group. In fact, two recent studies have showcased that certain blood groups have a lower susceptibility to the infection and illness, while some are more likely to fall sick.
There have been a lot of studies which have researched the apparent link between blood group and COVID severity. One of the first researches to be published on the subject emerged in China in late March when it was found that ‘type A’ was more likely to develop grave symptoms of COVID-19, since ‘type O’ blood group had more proteins which limited the reactivity of the virus.
The most recent study, which has been published in the journal, Blood Advances also drew a link between the severity of disease and health complications which have come to be associated with COVID+. Conducted among 473,000 individuals tested for COVID-19 to data from a control group of more than 2.2 million people from the general population. Scientists found that blood type O had a lower associated infection risk and organ complications if hospitalized. The severity and higher infection chances were found among those with blood type A or AB. Ethnicity was also a factor considered to weigh COVID risks.
Interestingly, blood groups, A and AB were also associated with complications post-hospitalization, such as myocarditis, lung injury and renal damage. It was observed that people with blood types A or AB were more likely to require mechanical ventilation and oxygen support post COVID infection. The researchers also noted that people with blood types A and AB did not have longer overall hospital stays. However, they remained in the intensive care unit (ICU) for longer on average.
While there is still no accurate predictor for what COVID-19 will be for you, scientists do believe that studies like these, done on a larger scale will be able to get the more vulnerable categories access to healthcare on a priority order. Author of the study, Mypinder S. Sekhon, MD, of the University of British Columbia added,
“Of particular importance as we continue to traverse the pandemic, we now have a wide range of survivors who are exiting the acute part of COVID-19, but we need to explore mechanisms by which to risk stratify those with longer-term effects.”
Scientists also believe that researches like these would be able to map out more such severe complications associated with the disease, post COVID symptoms as well.
It’s not the first time a particular blood type has been associated with severe disease prognosis. Science suggests that different blood group types make a difference in the way blood is clotted in the body and also impact the circulatory system. Similar differences have also been observed in intestinal diseases and varied blood groups.
Epidiomoligists have also noted that blood groups also play a role in other physiological settings and viral patterns.
While it is still being researched, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, factors like these, including blood clotting and gut trouble could likely play a role in predicting disease severity and infection risk.