Some good news for those with Rh negative blood (whether it is A, B, AB, or O), and also for those with type O blood. A large Canadian study found that both the O and Rh- blood groups are associated with a slightly lower risk of COVID-19 infection and also severe COVID-19 illness and death. In other words, both are somewhat protective from the new coronavirus, especially O-negative blood.
Among 225,556 Canadians who were tested for the virus, the risk for a COVID-19 diagnosis was 12% lower and the risk for severe COVID-19 or death was 13% lower in people with blood group O versus those with A, AB, or B, researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers point out that some other studies had a similar finding regarding type O blood. Interestingly, the O blood group is associated with a decreased risk for venous thromboembolism (blood clots in the veins) - which can be a big complication of COVID-19.
How many people have O negative blood? One study of 3.1 million American blood donors found that O− was seen in 8.0% of White non-Hispanic donors, 3.9% of Hispanic donors, 3.6% of Black non-Hispanic donors, and 0.7% of Asian donors. So not that common in the US.
Is blood type important in coronavirus COVID-19? A study of 2173 patients from 3 hospitals in China found that not only is blood type important in the risk of contracting COVID-19, but also in whether one dies from it.
The study found that people with type A blood are more prone to being infected with COVID-19, and also dying from it - as compared to people with other types of blood. People with type O blood had the lowest risk of catching COVID-19 and also dying from it.
The researchers pointed out that these same blood type differences occurred in the earlier SARS outbreak (lower risk in those with type O blood, and higher risk in those with type A blood). The researchers felt that "blood type is a biomarker for differential susceptibility of COVID-19" - meaning how susceptible you are to the virus. And that perhaps it is linked to "natural anti-blood group antibodies, particularly anti-A antibody, in the blood".
Does it matter what blood type (A, O, B, AB) we have when dealing with microbes that can make us sick? Apparently it does for certain illnesses.
New research suggests that people with blood type O and B can handle a strain of Escherichia coli referred to as "enterotoxigenic E. coli" better than those with blood type A. This bacteria is associated with traveler's diarrhea and diarrhea in developing countries, with especially severe effects among young children. It turns out that those with blood type A get sicker (more severe diarrhea) and sooner, than those with blood type O and B. Antibiotics successfully treats the diarrhea.
By the way, other research also finds a link with certain diseases and blood types (e.g. diabetes, malaria, and cholera). From Medical Xpress:
A new study shows that a kind of E. coli most associated with "travelers' diarrhea" and children in underdeveloped areas of the world causes more severe disease in people with blood type A.
The bacteria release a protein that latches onto intestinal cells in people with blood type A, but not blood type O or B, according to a study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. A vaccine targeting that protein could potentially protect people with type A blood against the deadliest effects ofenterotoxigenic E. coli (Escherichia coli) infection. ...continue reading "Blood Type Affects Severity of Illness From E. Coli Strain"