People with blood type A may be more susceptible to coronavirus compared to other blood types, scientists have claimed.
Researchers in China looked at blood group patterns of more than 2,000 people who had been diagnosed with the new coronavirus as part of a preliminary study.
They found that those with blood type A were more vulnerable to infection and tended to develop more severe symptoms while those with the more common blood type O had a “significantly lower risk” of getting the disease.
Although the study is yet to be peer-reviewed by other academics, the team are urging medics and governments to consider blood type differences when treating patients with the virus and helping prevent the spread of the disease.
The paper is currently a ‘pre-print’, meaning it hasn’t been vetted by a group of scientists who will assess if the science – the method, the analysis and the inferences drawn from the data – stands up, and it hasn’t been published in a journal. The peer review process is designed to weed out errors, misinterpretation or flawed research methods. But in order to speed up the distribution of research (as the peer review process takes time) scientists do post papers to pre-print archives first.
The researchers, led by Wang Xinghuan of the Zhongnan Hospital at Wuhan University, looked at the blood of 2,173 people who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus from three hospitals in the Hubei province.
They found that while blood type O (34 per cent) is more common in the general population in China than type A (32 per cent), around 41 per cent of COVID-19 patients had blood type A, whereas people with type O accounted for just 25 per cent.
Of the 206 patients in the study who died, 85 had blood type A, equivalent to 41 per cent of all deaths, the researchers said.
Speaking to South China Morning Post, Gao Yingdai, a researcher with the State Key Laboratory of Experimental Haematology in Tianjin, said while the research may be helpful to medical professionals, the public should not worry too much about the findings.
She added: “If you are type A, there is no need to panic. It does not mean you will be infected 100 per cent.
“If you are type O, it does not mean you are absolutely safe, either. You still need to wash your hands and follow the guidelines issued by authorities.”