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A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that genes associated with certain blood types may increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infections

PHOTO CREDITS: SERGEI KARPUKHIN/GETTY IMAGES

According to Live Science, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine was conducted to test the effect blood type has on one’s susceptibility to a severe case of COVID-19. ~

The study found that genes associated with certain blood types may increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infections, leading to respiratory failure and death. It was found that those with blood type A were fifty percent more likely than people with other blood types to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms and respiratory failure; furthermore, people with blood type O had a fifty percent reduced risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute. ~

Scientists uncovered the connection between blood type and COVID-19 outcome using a genome-wide association study. In the study, 1,610 COVID-19 patients and more than one 1,300 healthy blood donors from Italy and Spain had their genomes sampled. The researchers then analyzed more than 8 million single-letter changes in their DNA codes, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. These SNPs can be used to identify genes associated with different diseases, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Researchers identified two regions in which genetic variants in the genome were linked to severe cases of COVID-19 and a higher risk of death; one of these regions was a gene that determines blood type. The other region included genes associated with the immune system response in the lungs. The fact that COVID-19 attacks the region of the genome linked to blood type confirms “a potential involvement of the ABO blood-group system in COVID-19” (Live Science). ~

Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement about the new study that “A genetic test and a person’s blood type might provide useful tools for identifying those who may be at greater risk of serious illness.” She continued, “The hope is that these and other findings yet to come will point the way to a more thorough understanding of the biology of COVID-19.” ~

ARTICLE: KYLE SMITH

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