Genes And Blood Type Can Be A Major Factor To Increasing Risk Of COVID-19

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An individual’s blood type and other genetic factors may be linked with severity of coronavirus infection, according to European researchers looking for further clues about why COVID-19 hits some so much harder than others. The findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, suggest people with type A blood has a higher risk of being infected with the coronavirus and developing worse symptoms.

At the peak of the epidemic in Europe, researchers analysed the genes of more than 4,000 people to look for variations that were common in those who became infected with the coronavirus and developed severe COVID-19. A cluster of variants in genes that are involved with immune responses was more common in people with severe COVID-19, they found. These genes are also involved with a cell-surface protein called ACE2 that the coronavirus uses to gain entry to and infect cells in the body.

The researchers, led by Dr. Andre Franke from Christian-Albrecht-University in Kiel, Germany, and Dr. Tom Karlsen, from Oslo University Hospital in Norway also found a relationship between COVID-19 severity and blood type. The risk for severe COVID-19 was 45% higher for people with type A blood than those with other blood types. It appeared to be 35% lower for people with type O.