A detailed study conducted by genetic-testing giant 23andMe Inc. found out that your blood group can affect a person’s susceptibility to Covid-19.
Scientists have been looking at genetic factors to try to determine why some people who contract the new coronavirus experience no symptoms, while others become gravely ill. In April, 23andMe launched a study that sought to use the millions of profiles in its DNA database to shed light on the role genetics play in the disease. The company said that Preliminary results from more than 750,000 participants suggests type O blood is especially protective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The findings also show that other research that has indicated a link between variations in the ABO gene and Covid-19.
Many other groups, including 23andMe competitor Ancestry Inc., are combing the genome to help make sense of the virus. It is known that factors such as age and underlying health conditions can determine how people fare once they’ve contracted Covid-19. But those factors alone don’t explain the wide diversity of symptoms, or why some people contract the disease and others don’t. Several other studies looking at both severity of illness and susceptibility to disease have also suggested blood type plays a role.
Research published last week prior to peer review suggested blood type may play a role in the severity of patients’ reactions to SARS-CoV-2. That study looked at the genes of more than 1,600 patients in Italy and Spain who experienced respiratory failure and found that having type A blood was linked to a 50% increase in the likelihood a patient would require a ventilator. An earlier Chinese study turned up similar results regarding a person’s susceptibility to Covid-19.
“There have also been some reports of links between Covid-19, blood clotting, and cardiovascular disease,” said Adam Auton, lead researcher on the 23andMe study. “These reports provided some hints about which genes might be relevant.” Auton said that while this evidence is compelling, there is still a long way to go.