Genes and blood type may influence severity of coronavirus infection – European study

A team of European scientists said on Wednesday that they have found two genetic variations that may show who is more likely to get very sick and die from coronavirus, and said they have also found a link with blood type.

Their findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, referred to a possible explanation of why some people get so seriously ill with the virus, while most barely show any symptoms at all.

According to their study, they found that people with Type A blood have a higher risk of catching coronavirus and of developing severe symptoms, while people with Type O blood have a lower risk.

“Our genetic data confirm that blood group O is associated with a risk of acquiring Covid-19 that was lower than that in non-O blood groups, whereas blood group A was associated with a higher risk than non-A blood groups,” the researchers wrote in their findings.

According to their findings, people with Type A blood had a 45 percent higher risk of becoming infected than people with other blood types, and people with Type O blood were just 65 percent as likely to become infected as people with other blood types.

However, researchers cannot say if blood type is a direct cause of the differences in susceptibility. It might be that the genetic changes that affect someone’s risk also just happen to be linked with blood type, they explained.

The two genetic variations they found could be linked with a person’s immune response. A so-called cytokine storm – an overwhelming overreaction of the immune system – is seen to be blamed for the deadliest effect of coronavirus in many patients.