DURBAN – Patients with Type A blood are 50 percent more likely to need oxygen or require a ventilator, says a new European study. While Type O is associated with lower risk compared with all the other blood groups.
Geneticists think a few particular genes may point to a predisposition for severe Covid-19, including a gene that’s responsible for blood types. Now, a study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
“The findings suggest that relatively unexplored factors may be playing a large role who develops life-threatening Covid-19,” said Andre Franke, a molecular geneticist at the University of Kiel in Germany and a co-author of the new study, which is currently going through peer review.
The research was published in pre-review form on medRxiv, and it’s the result of a collaboration between doctors from Germany, Italy, Norway, and Spain. Blood samples were collected from 1,610 patients who needed oxygen or were put on ventilators. Separately, 2,205 people who were not infected with the novel coronavirus also donated blood samples.
Scientists have already determined that factors like age and underlying disease put people at extra risk of developing a severe case of Covid-19. But geneticists are hoping that a DNA test might help identify patients who will need aggressive treatment.
Figuring out the reason that certain genes may raise the odds of severe diseases that could also lead to new targets for drug designers.
University of Helsinki genetic epidemiologist Andrea Ganna said that the newly available data pointing to a single spot on Chromosome 3 is relevant for Covid-19 severity.
“If these studies are successful, researchers may be able to come up with marker tests that can help physicians assess the risk that patients might develop complications. Furthermore, treatments for severe Covid-19 patients may be developed based on these genetic findings,” she said.
The new study seems to confirm similar research from China that determined that patients with Type A blood were more likely to experience a severe case.
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