Blood Type “A” – Higher Risk of Respiratory Failure from Covid-19

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that patients with blood type “A” are at increased risk for COVID-19-induced respiratory failure than other blood groups.

Researchers compared the genomes of roughly 1600 people with severe COVID-19 (in Italy and Spain) with over 2200 uninfected population-based controls. Two genes were associated with COVID-19-induced respiratory failure. One of these is also the ABO blood group locus. Blood group A was associated with a 45% increased risk for COVID-19 respiratory failure, while blood group O was associated with a 35% lower risk, relative to other blood groups.

The 2nd gene identified in this research has to do with the mechanism of how the virus actually infects the lung cells (via the SARS-Cov-2 cell surface receptor), which was already known. It appears that the quantity of these receptors increase with age, giving the virus more entry points to infect the lungs. This may also explain why the elderly are at such higher risk of severe infections.

Blood type and genetics study in NEJM 

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Dr. Justin Groode | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC