In the early stages of the pandemic, scientists speculated about the factors that could contribute to varying levels of COVID-19 severity among individuals. Recent research published by the journal Blood and reported in Fortune Well indicates that individuals with blood type A may be at a higher risk of infection compared to those with blood type O.
Dr. Sean Stowell, lead author of the study and associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School reveals that individuals with blood type A face a 20% to 30% greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus compared to those with blood type O.
While it is important to acknowledge that everyone is susceptible to the virus, with a majority of Americans likely having been infected, certain factors can influence the likelihood and severity of COVID-19 infection. These factors include the effectiveness of an individual’s immune system, the presence of underlying health conditions such as diabetes or obesity, and the level of exposure to the virus.
Blood type has emerged as another potential factor in determining susceptibility to COVID-19. In a hypothetical scenario where a person with blood type A and another person with blood type O are both exposed to respiratory droplets from a COVID-positive individual, the person with blood type A is slightly more likely to become infected. This correlation was also observed during the initial SARS-CoV-1 pandemic in 2003.
Although the World Health Organization declared the pandemic over in May, the virus is still circulating at levels comparable to those seen during the summers of 2020 and 2021, according to U.S. wastewater data. While COVID-19 currently causes mild disease for the majority of individuals, there is a possibility of future viral evolution leading to more dangerous variants. Therefore, understanding the role of blood type in susceptibility could become relevant once again, particularly if new and potentially troublesome variants emerge.
Furthermore, this knowledge may provide insights into the mechanisms behind the preferences of other viruses, such as cholera and malaria, for specific blood types. Dr. Stowell suggests that further research is needed to determine if blood types B and AB are also associated with a higher risk of COVID-19 infection. His team is currently investigating how the virus interacts with Type B blood. Although it remains a hypothesis, it is plausible that blood type could play a more significant role in susceptibility if the virus is transmitted orally.
In conclusion, recent research suggests that individuals with blood type A may have a slightly higher risk of COVID-19 infection compared to those with blood type O. While the pandemic has been declared over, the virus continues to circulate, and understanding the role of blood type in susceptibility could prove valuable in the future. Ongoing research may shed light on the potential preferences of the virus for other blood types and its implications for oral transmission.