Having O blood type could offer protection against COVID-19, study suggests

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However, after the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic, the company [23andMe] switched gears and looked to see how their gene testing services could offer a helping hand in understanding the disease’s pathophysiology.

One aspect of COVID-19 that has puzzled scientists and clinicians alike is why, when infected with SARS-CoV-2, do some patients display mild to moderate symptoms (or no symptoms at all), whereas other patients develop severe symptoms that can prove fatal?

It’s therefore plausible to consider the fact that genetic variation might play a role in COVID-19 severity. …

In early April, 23andMe announced its plans to conduct such a study utilizing its large bank of genetic data from its customers who had consented to their information being used for research purposes.

Related article:  COVID-19 vaccines unlikely to be 'cure-alls'. That might not be such a bad thing

Fast-forward to the present day, and 23andMe are sharing their preliminary results, which are certainly interesting. The data seems to lend further evidence to the notion that an individual’s blood type, determined by the ABO gene, is associated with differences in COVID-19 susceptibility.

In the dataset available from the survey, the percentage of respondents that reported a positive test for COVID-19 was lower for individuals that are O blood type (1.3%), compared to A (1.4%), B (1.5%) and AB (1.5%) blood types. Individuals within groups A, B, and AB were not statistically different from one another, and this relationship stands when adjusting the measures for age, sex, BMI, race, ethnicity and co-morbidities.

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