New research has been published in pre-review form on medRxiv, and this research has looked at how blood type may impact the severity of coronavirus cases.
The new study is a large collaboration between doctors and researchers from Germany, Italy, Norway, and Spain. The researchers examined blood samples from 1,610 patients who needed to be put on ventilators, and 2,205 people who were not infected with COVID-19, but also donated blood samples. Researchers from the University of Kiel located in Germany then used genotyping to extract DNA from the blood samples. The researchers then looked for genetic differences between people that were sick with COVID-19, and those who were not.
What they found was that two spots in the genome, two loci, where sick people had the same genes as the healthy people. In one of these locations is the gene that determines what kind of blood type the person is, which has led researchers to believe that blood Type-A appears to be a risk factor in COVID-19 cases becoming severe. Another finding was that the available data on the genetics of the virus indicates that a single spot on Chromosome 4 is relevant for COVID-19 severity.
At the moment, there's an international project aimed at better understanding COVID-19 and how it interacts with our genetics. The project is called COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative, and it's comprised of over 1,000 researchers from 46 countries. Here's the website.
In the long run, when more established research is published, researchers will be able to understand how SARS-CoV-2 interacts with our genetics, and thus better predict which patients are going to develop a more severe case of the virus. On top of that, treatments could also be developed.
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