Last week, “Blood Advances” published two studies that suggest people with O blood type may be at a lower risk of contracting COVID-19. In addition, when these individuals do get sick, studies suggest that they have a reduced likelihood of experiencing organ complications or other serious outcomes.
With the ongoing pandemic, the biomedical research community is working diligently to identify potential therapeutic targets and coronavirus risk factors. The role of blood types in predicting the risks and complications of a coronavirus infection in an individual has been identified as a fundamental question. The new studies add to the existing knowledge and hint at a link between vulnerability to the coronavirus infection and an individual’s blood type. However, additional research needs to be done to better understand why and what these initial findings might mean for coronavirus patients.
According to a retrospective study, the blood type O may offer some protection against coronavirus infection. Researchers compared health registry data (Danish) of more than 473,000 people who had tested for coronavirus to data from a control group of roughly 2.2 million people from the general population. Among those who were found to be positive for COVID-19, many had A, B and AB blood types while fewer had O blood type.
Results from the study suggest that people with A, B or AB blood types are more likely to be infected with the coronavirus when compared to those with type O. Additionally, the researchers controlled for ethnicity because blood group distributions differ among ethnic subgroups. They maintain that few individuals with type O tested positive for COVID-19. The researchers also found no significant differences in the rate of infection between A, B and AB blood types.
Torben Barington, the study’s author, observed that it was important to consider the proper control group due to blood type prevalence varying between different countries and ethnic groups. A professor at the University of Southern Denmark, Barington added that because Denmark is an ethnically homogenous and small country with a central registry for lab data and a public health system, the study’s control was population based, which gave its findings a strong foundation.
In addition, a second study indicated that the A and AB blood groups were linked to increased risk of harsh clinical outcomes of the coronavirus infection. In that study, individuals with blood groups A or AB showed a greater coronavirus infection severity in contrast to those with B or O blood groups.
The biomedical sector is pivoting towards personalized medicine at a high pace, and these research studies are further proof of this necessity. One interesting company you should watch in the field of delivering personalized therapies is Predictive Oncology (NASDAQ: POAI). The company specializes in applying artificial intelligence and data analytics to meet the customized treatment needs of cancer patients.
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