Research is coalescing around the idea that people with Type O blood may have a small advantage during this pandemic.
Two studies published this week suggest that people with Type O have a lower risk of getting coronavirus, as well as a reduced likelihood of becoming seriously ill if they become infected.
One recent study specifically found that COVID-19 patients with Type O or B blood spent less time in an intensive-care unit than their counterparts with Type A or AB. They are also less likely to need ventilation and are more likely to experience kidney failure.
These new findings reflect similar findings about Type O blood found in previous research, creating a clearer picture of a particular coronavirus risk factor.
Patients with Type O or B blood have less severe COVID-19
Both new studies appeared Wednesday in the journal Blood Clots. One looked at 95 COVID-19 patients who were critically ill in hospitals in Vancouver, Canada, between February and April.
They found that patients with Type O or B blood spent, on average, 4.5 fewer days in the intensive-care unit than those with Type A or AB blood. The last group remained, on average, 13.5 days in the ICU. The researchers did not find any correlation between blood type and length of total hospital stay of each patient, however.
However, they found that only 61 percent of patients with Type O or B blood needed a ventilator, compared with 84 percent of patients with Type A or AB.
In the meantime, patients with Type A or AB, are more likely to need dialysis, a procedure that can help the kidneys filter toxins from the blood.
“Patients in these two blood groups may have a higher risk of organ dysfunction or failure due to COVID-19 than people with blood type O or B,” the authors conclude. of study.
A June study found a similar link: Patients in Italy and Spain with Type O blood have a 50 percent reduced risk of serious coronavirus infection (meaning they need intubation or supplementation. oxygen) compared with patients with other blood types.
People with Type O blood ‘reduce susceptibility’ to infection
The second new study found that people with Type O blood may be at lower risk of getting coronavirus in the first place in relation to people with other blood types.
The team surveyed nearly half a million people in the Netherlands tested for COVID-19 between late February and late July. Of the approximately 4,600 people who tested positive and reported their blood type, 38.4 percent had Type O blood.
That is lower than the prevalence of Type O in a population of 2.2 million Danish people, 41.7 percent, so the researchers determined that people with Type O blood did not properly prevent infection.
“The DO team is significantly associated with reduced susceptibility,” the authors write.
Other studies have found a similar association between blood type and COVID-19 risk
Generally, your blood type depends on the presence or absence of proteins called A and B antigens on the surface of red blood cells – a genetic trait inherited from your parents. People with O blood have no antigen. This is the most common blood type: About 48 percent of Americans have Type O blood, according to the Oklahoma Blood Institute.
New studies on blood type and coronavirus risk agree with previous research on the subject. A study published in July found that people with Type O were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those with other blood types. A study in April, (although not yet peer reviewed) found that in 1,559 coronavirus patients in New York City, a lower proportion than expected with Type O blood.
And in March, a study of more than 2,100 coronavirus patients in the Chinese cities of Wuhan and Shenzhen also found that people with Type O blood had a lower risk of infection.
Previous research has also suggested that people with Type O blood are less susceptible to SARS, which shares 80 percent of its genetic code with the new coronavirus. A 2005 study in Hong Kong found that most individuals infected with SARS have non-O blood types.
Despite this growing body of evidence, however, Mypinder Sekhon, a co-author of the Vancouver study, said the link is still delicate.
“I don’t think it will be mixed with other risk factors such as age and comorbidities and so on,” he told CNN, adding, “if one is a blood group A, you do not have to start panic . And if you are a blood group O, you are not free to go to pubs and bars. “
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
More from Business Insider: