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The rapid global spread of COVID-19 has strained healthcare and testing resources, making the identification and prioritisation of individuals most at-risk a critical challenge. The severity of symptoms experienced could be down to one’s blood type says researchers.
In the beginning of the pandemic researchers noted how blood type can affect severity of a COVID-19 infection.
Scientists found that individuals with Type A blood were at an especially high risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19 or even death.
Patients were deemed severe cases of COVID-19 when needing oxygen or a ventilator as part of their treatment.
Studies found that many of the patients who had severe cases possessed the same variant on a gene that determines a person’s blood type and that by having blood type A an increased risk of 50 percent was noted.
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In a study with the New England Journal of Medicine, genomewide association of severe COVID-19 with respiratory failure was investigated.
The study noted: “There is considerable variation in disease behaviour among patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease.
“Genomewide association analysis may allow for the identification of potential genetic factors involved in the development of COVID-19.
“We conducted a genomewide association study involving 1980 patients with COVID-19 and severe disease at seven hospitals in the Italian and Spanish epicentres of the pandemic in Europe.”
In another study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the association between blood type and COVID-19 infection and death was investigated.
The study noted: “Recent evidence suggests blood type may affect risk of severe COVID-19.
“The study results suggest that people with blood types A, B, or AB may be more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than people with type O.
“The researchers did not find any significant difference in rate of infection between A, B, and AB types.
“Since blood group distributions vary among ethnic subgroups, the researchers also controlled for ethnicity and maintained that fewer people with blood type O tested positive for the virus.”
There are two theories about the connection between blood groups and coronavirus, according to Jacques Le Pendu, research director at Inserm, a French medical research body.
One is that people with type O are less at risk of coagulation problems and clotting has been found to have considerable influence on the severity of the disease.
He said it could also be due to the likelihood that the pathogen will carry the infected person’s blood group antigen.
As such, the antibodies generated by a person with blood group O might disable the virus when transmitted from a person with blood group A.
But he said: “However, this protection mechanism would not work in all situations.
“A blood group O person could infect another blood group O person for example.”
What are the main symptoms of coronavirus?
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” explains the NHS.
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