If You Have One of These Blood Types, You May Be Safe From COVID

A new study has good news for more than a third of Americans.

You've read a lot about what puts you at an increased risk of having a severe case of COVID-19, from smoking to carrying around extra weight to being over a certain age. But now, there's finally some good news for a third of Americans. A new large-scale study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that your risk of catching COVID-19 is slashed if you have a particular blood type. Read on to find out if you're safe, and for more risky behavior to be aware of, know that It Only Takes This Long to Get COVID in a Room With Someone Who Has It.

Read the original article on Best Life.

Type O blood, the most common in the U.S., provides some protection against COVID.

Gloved scientist hand holding blood tests

The researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada, examined the test results of 225,556 Canadians who had been tested for COVID-19 between Jan. 15 and Jun. 30. They looked at both how likely a patient was to contract COVID-19, and how likely they were to become seriously ill (or even die) from it if they did. The results were notable: Adjusting for demographics and co-morbidities, the risk for a COVID-19 diagnosis was 12 percent lower for people with type O blood and the risk for severe COVID-19 or death was 13 percent lower, compared to those with A, AB, or B blood types.

O is the most common blood type in the U.S.: 37 percent of white Americans fall into this category, according to the American Red Cross, with the numbers rising to 47 percent among African-Americans, 53 percent among Latinx-Americans, and 39 percent of Asian-Americans. And for more signs you could've contracted the virus, check out If You Have This Symptom, There's an 80 Percent Chance You Have COVID.

Negative blood types are also somewhat protected from the virus.

doctor with mask and face shield holding up vial of blood

Those four main blood groups—A, AB, B, and O—can be Rh-positive or Rh-negative, meaning that there are 8 blood groups in total. When the researchers looked at this second classification, there was further good news—people in any blood group which is Rh-negative are also "somewhat protected" from the virus.

"An Rh− status seemed protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection," the study authors wrote. Additionally, "Rh− had a lower [adjusted relative risk] of severe COVID-19 illness or death."

Those who are O-negative may be the least likely to get COVID.

Filled blood bag on white background
DieterMeyrl / iStock

If a patient was O-negative, they were particularly protected from the novel coronavirus, the authors noted. "Rh− blood type was protective against SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially for those who were O-negative," they wrote.

Unfortunately, this is a much more rare blood type. The American Red Cross reports that 8 percent of white Americans, 4 percent of African-Americans, 4 percent of Latinx-Americans, and 1 percent of Asian-Americans are O-negative. And for more on the state of the pandemic, check out These 2 Places Could Be Closing Soon, White House Official Warns.

Previous research has found that people with A blood types are more at risk.

blood donation bags show blood type A
Sura Nualpradid / Shutterstock

For a March study out of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, scientists tracked the blood types of nearly 2,200 COVID-19 patients in Chinese hospitals, along with those of about 27,000 individuals who didn't have COVID-19 in the same areas. The results showed that those with A blood types were significantly more likely to contract the coronavirus compared with other blood types. And for more regular updates on the virus, sign up for our daily newsletter.

O and Rh-negative blood types may already have COVID-19 antibodies.

coronavirus antibody test being given to white hand

The new study's co-author, Joel Ray, MD, of St. Michael's Hospital, suggested that people with these more resistant blood types may have already developed antibodies that can recognize certain aspects of the novel coronavirus and are therefore better prepared to fight it off.

"Our next study will specifically look at such antibodies, and whether they explain the protective effect," Ray told Reuters. And for more on the latest COVID-19 news, find out How Likely You Are to Catch COVID in the Next Month, Expert Says.

John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
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