This Blood Type Makes You More at Risk for Coronavirus
Your blood type could be making you more susceptible to COVID-19, research shows.
By now, you've likely read a lot about certain factors that increase your likelihood of contracting and developing a severe case of COVID-19. And while you're probably well aware that high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, age, and other preexisting conditions put you in a precarious place, there's one genetic factor you may not know affects your chances of getting sick from the coronavirus: your blood type.
In a recent study out of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, scientists examined the blood types of nearly 2,200 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in China, along with the blood types of about 27,000 individuals who didn't have COVID-19 in the same areas. The results showed that those with A blood types are at a significantly higher risk of contracting the coronavirus compared with other blood types. People with O blood types had a lower risk of getting the infection, the scientists noted in the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.
Another recent not-yet-reviewed study out of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center also sought to examine the relationship between the coronavirus and blood type. The scientists looked at data from New York-Presbyterian Hospital on 1,559 individuals who were tested for COVID-19, 682 of whom were positive. Similarly, they found that those with A blood types were 33 percent more likely to test positive than other blood types. Additionally, they also deduced that people with O blood types were less likely to test positive.
"Why blood type might increase or decrease a person's risk of getting SARS-CoV-2 is not known," according to Live Science. "A person's blood type indicates what kind of certain antigens cover the surfaces of their blood cells; these antigens produce certain antibodies to help fight off a pathogen." Scientific American adds that "in the ABO blood group system, type O blood is the richest in antibodies—possessing both anti-A and anti-B."
In the U.S., around 36 percent of the population has type A blood and 48 percent has type O blood, according to the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).
But don't assume that just because you fall into the former group, you're bound to catch the contagion. "If you are type A, there is no need to panic. It does not mean you will be infected 100 percent," one of the Chinese study's researchers, Gao Yingdai, told the South China Morning Post. "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." And for more factors that increase your risk of contracting COVID-19, check out these 15 Seemingly Innocuous Habits That Increase Coronavirus Risk.