Recently, a new study conducted by the biotechnology and genomics company 23andme shows that people with blood type O are at a reduced risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus responsible for causing coronavirus infection especially from a person with blood type A.
More specifically, the research showed that people with blood type O are more likely to have antibodies that can prevent the novel coronavirus from attacking cells and spreading the infection.
Prior to this study, previous research has also shown that blood type and genetic history may play a fundamental role in determining a person’s susceptibility to catching the coronavirus infection as well as the infection’s severity.
For instance, two Chinese-based studies from Wuhan, the previous epicenter of the coronavirus, showed that people with blood type A are more susceptible to contracting the virus in comparison with people with other blood types.
Additionally, a number of other studies from France and Italy, both of which are two of the most hardly-hit countries in Europe, also had similar findings.
However, the new research conducted by 23andme is so far, the most popular. 23andme is already well-known for the production of personalized genetic testing kits that can help people in learning about their ancestry, family history, and even look out for the possibility of genetic diseases such as certain types of cancer.
In accordance with the company’s official blog, the study looked at approximately 750,000 participants to examine the link between blood type and the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
The preliminary results of the research showed that people with blood type O are indeed at nine to eighteen percent reduced risk of contracting the coronavirus in comparison with others.
But how does blood type lower the risk of the coronavirus infection? The scientists are unclear on the exact cause for this happening and say that further investigation is needed to know more details.
According to Andre Franke, who was one of the lead investigators in research from Spain, one possible explanation could come from studying the gene region associated with the blood since it has also been linked to the levels of fundamental immune molecules.
In a similar way, the researchers from Wuhan also suggested that blood groups did have an important role to play after they studied the link between the risk of developing pneumonia while having coronavirus infection and ABO blood groups.
In addition to these studies, research conducted in 2005 on SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which is another type of coronavirus infection, also came to a similar conclusion.
The researchers found that out of the forty-five people who were suspected to have SARS, only eight of the eighteen people with blood type O were actually seen to be infected.
Overall, people with blood type O are also known to have more antibodies than people with blood type A and B as well as a comparatively lower level of proteins which are needed to promote blood clotting.
The latter is important because research has recently highlighted that coronavirus infection may promote overactive clotting, leading to heart attacks and other related issues.
Since people with blood type A and B have a higher level of blood clotting proteins, they are more susceptible to developing more severe forms of the coronavirus infection.