Recent headlines have suggested that a person’s blood type may affect their vulnerability to the coronavirus, as well as the severity of their symptoms. These concerns were sparked after preliminary research reports conducted in China showed that in COVID-19 patients, Type A blood was the most prominent. Luis Ostrosky, MD, an infectious disease expert with UT Physicians, weighs in on the theory.
A genetic component
While it is true the Chinese study reported more patients with Type A blood, the risk factor may lie deeper.
“In a newer study out of Europe, researchers have identified gene clusters that correlate with Type A blood that may be related to severe illness due to COVID-19,” said Ostrosky, who is also a professor of internal medicine and vice chair for Healthcare Quality at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
In the same study, Type O patients were reported to have a lower risk of having more severe symptoms.
So what does this all mean?
Stay safe, regardless of blood type
Ostrosky says that while the theory is interesting, the jury is still out on this one. “A person’s blood type is not the only thing driving their immune response to the coronavirus.”
Other risk factors, such as underlying health conditions and age, still have a more substantial impact on a person’s ability to cope with COVID-19. Every single person should still be practicing social distancing, washing their hands properly, and wearing a mask.
“To everyone with Type O blood, please don’t think you’re invincible and to everyone with Type A blood, please don’t panic. Let’s continue to stay safe, distant, and smart,” said Ostrosky.
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