People with type A blood more at risk of COVID-19 — Study - Dove Bulletin - Online News Bulletin

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People with type A blood more at risk of COVID-19 — Study

People with type A blood more at risk of COVID-19 — Study

A preliminary study has found correlations between blood type and the likelihood of being hospitalised with COVID-19, which has killed over 30,000 people worldwide, according to an AFP tally.

In general, there are different blood groups found in humans. Primarily, physicians differentiate between the A, B, AB and O blood groups — which means a distinctive sugar molecule is present on the surface of red blood cells for each group.

They note that, commonly, more people are blood group O than blood group A and other groups.

Researchers at the Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China, conducted the study in collaboration with other Chinese institutions.

Led by Jiao Zhao, the study examined blood group distribution among 2,173 individuals admitted to hospitals with COVID-19. The people each received care at one of three hospitals in Wuhan, China, or Shenzhen.

The researchers also compared the patients’ blood group distributions to that of a group representative of the general population — totaling 3,694 people — in Wuhan.

Data from the researchers showed that blood group A had a significantly higher risk for COVID-19, compared with non-A blood groups, whereas blood group O had a significantly lower risk for the infectious disease compared with non-O blood groups.

According to Zhao, “people with blood group A have a significantly higher risk for acquiring COVID-19, compared with non-A blood groups; whereas blood group O has a significantly lower risk for the infection, compared with non-O blood groups.”

Although, the study is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal and other experts have not yet had a chance to assess the researchers’ methodology and findings, Head of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Prof. Sulaiman Akanmu, said, “It’s not impossible; such a thing may happen.”

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Prof. Akanmu said the study was new to him, adding that blood group type had been associated with varieties of disease states.

“It is known that a particular disease is more commonly found in a particular blood group type or that a blood group type is more protective of development of a particular disease, but that it is related to COVID-19 is new to me.

“If it is true, it will not be difficult to explain.”

Continuing, he said, “For example, if an agent is going to attach to a cell, then that particular cell must have on its surface membrane a receptor that the infectious agents could attach to.

“Sometimes, the blood group antigens happen to be a receptor for the attachment of some micro-organisms, such that if you have a blood group type like A, it means you have the A antigen of your blood cell.

“The A antigen is expressed on your blood and that same A antigen is expressed on some other cells in the human body, particularly the urogenital cells, the respiratory tract cells.”

Akanmu also noted that antigens are not only expressed on the red cell but are also expressed on other cells of the body.

“So, if that particular blood group antigen happens to be a receptor by chance with which a particular organism can attach itself to the cell, such cell that is expressing such receptor will collect those infectious agents in larger quantity and that particular individual will be said to be predisposed to such infections.

“That might be the mechanism and we have samples in the literature that show that some infections are more common in some blood group types than the other,” Akanmu said.

Again, a consultant physician and haematologist at St. Claire Specialist Clinic, Dr. Chris Otigbuo, said in the general population, blood group types are distributed variously in various countries and that the relevance of the study might be based on the Chinese population.

“There are countries where blood group O forms the highest and there are countries where blood group A forms the highest blood group type; and since the study is based on the Chinese population, the relevance might just be based on the Chinese population.

“If the Chinese population has more A blood group, it’s understandable why they should have more A patients; but if they have more O blood group, then it calls for more research because if they have more O and they are very few, it means that there is more resistance to the virus among blood group O,” Otigbuo said.
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