A preliminary study has found correlations between blood type and the likelihood of being hospitalised with COVID-19, which has infected 25,066 people worldwide, according to an AFP tally.
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.