A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that blood types may be linked to the risks of contracting COVID-19 and the severity of symptoms developed. Another study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health states that most children do not develop severe symptoms in the rare cases that they contract the disease.
In the first study, 1,900 participants were drawn from COVID-19 patients who are being treated for severe respiratory failure across seven hospitals in Italy and Spain. Their blood types were analyzed and compared to those of 1,200 healthy blood donors from among the same study participants.
The scientists discovered a specific DNA group that determines blood types in all of the infected COVID-19 patients, and further analysis revealed that people with Type A blood are 45% more likely to contract coronavirus than people with other types of blood. Meanwhile, people with Type O blood are two-thirds likely to be infected with COVID-19 seeing they have a kind of “protective effect” in their blood.
The researchers were able to determine that the DNA cluster was found at a particular chromosome which is linked to coronavirus infection.
The research team cannot sign off 100% on the outcomes of their study since they pointed to the time factors and certain variables such as metabolic and underlying cardiovascular conditions as reasons for potential inaccuracies in the study. They are not able to identify any particular gene in the blood which raises the risks of coronavirus infection.
“Those who are not Type A should not interpret this study to mean that they can let their guard down,” said Roy Silverstein, a hematologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Similarly, the data are not yet convincing enough to recommend that those with Type A need to do even more than what is recommended.”
In a related situation, a study of about 600 children who contracted coronavirus in 21 European countries showed that while most children do not require intensive care or hospitalization after contracting COVID-19, less than 1% ultimately died from the disease. In comparison, more than 10% of adults who contract the disease die from its severity and complications.
The study found that many children do not even exhibit serious symptoms at all let alone require hospitalization, and 16% of the study group was only tested because of their interaction with others who were infected. However, infants younger than one month of age may require intensive care in the hospital, and children with underlying medical conditions may show severe symptoms of the disease.
Given that the winter period is almost here and flu infection is high during this period, children who catch flu and later COVID-19 may get hit hard since both are diseases that attack the respiratory tract, and may require intensive care and face the chances of death from complications.