Blood Type A Tied to SARS-CoV-2 Risks
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Blood type A was associated with a greater risk of severe SARS-CoV-2 in one recent study and a higher risk of contracting the disease in another. The two studies are complementary, coauthor of one of the reports told. Our study adds support that blood group A may confer a higher risk, whereas the other study gives one possibility as to the how part.

That study provides evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) directly interacts with respiratory cells through the blood group A antigen. ABO blood type is a nonmodifiable risk factor, and current studies show the strength of the association as being limited, he noted.

As reported in Transfusion, the team analyzed electronic health record data on close to 5,000 patients hospitalized or with an emergency department visit who received a positive nucleic acid test result for SARS-CoV-2 from March 10, 2020-June 8, 2020.

The all-cause mortality rate was 23%. To estimate overall risk by ABO type, the team calculated the cumulative incidence function for each event. Cause-specific hazard ratios for in-hospital mortality and discharge were analyzed using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. Type A blood was associated with the increased cause-specific hazard of death among COVID-19 patients compared to type O and type B.

Separately, other team conducted a series of laboratory experiments to investigate the mechanism by which blood group antigens - particularly those of blood group A -might influence the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection. As reported, the team studied the SARS-CoV-2 RBD protein, the part of the virus that attaches to the host cells.

They assessed synthetic blood group antigens on respiratory and red blood cells found in blood groups A, B, and O and analyzed how the SARS-CoV-2 RBD interacted with each blood type. They found that the RBD had a strong preference for binding to blood group A on respiratory cells only, not red blood cells. The team also tested whether the RBD of SARS-CoV, the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), had a similar preference, and indeed it did.

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