This One Blood Type Slashes Your Coronavirus Risk by 25 Percent

Add this to the list of genetic traits that may be protecting you during the pandemic.

At this point in the pandemic, we're all aware of specific conditions that might make us more susceptible to developing a severe case of coronavirus. But while we know the characteristics that make COVID-19 more dangerous for us—high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, to name a few—there are some traits that might actually make you less at risk. And according to recently published research, having type O blood can actually considerably reduce your risk of contracting coronavirus.

In a study released by genetic testing company 23andMe, researchers examined 750,000 participants and found a direct link between a patient's blood type and their overall susceptibility to COVID-19. Overall, individuals with type O blood were 9 percent to 18 percent less likely to test positive when compared to other groups, while individuals with type O blood exposed to the virus were 13 percent to 26 percent less likely to test positive. This was in contrast to all other blood types, which the study found had very little difference in susceptibility.

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The results seem to uphold the findings of two other recent studies—one joint study in Spain and Italy and one in China—that pointed to people with type O blood being slightly less susceptible to coronavirus. And according to scientists, the links themselves may be painting a larger picture. "There have also been some reports of links between COVID-19, blood clotting, and cardiovascular disease," Adam Auton, lead researcher on the 23andMe study, told Bloomberg. "These reports provided some hints about which genes might be relevant."

Still, researchers believe this is only the beginning to better understanding these health indicators and what they could mean for treating and diagnosing the novel coronavirus. "It's early days; even with these sample sizes, it might not be enough to find genetic associations," Auton told Bloomberg. "We're not the only group looking at this, and ultimately the scientific community may need to pool their resources to really address questions surrounding the links between genetics and COVID-19." And for more ways to potentially keep COVID-19 at bay, check out The One Vitamin You Need to Take to Reduce Your Coronavirus Risk.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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