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People With Blood Type A May Be More Likely to Contract COVID-19, Study Finds

By David Jagielski - Mar 18, 2020 at 2:53PM

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The Chinese study also suggests people with blood type O may be at lower risk.

A study done in China has found that people who have blood type A may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus. Researchers looked at more than 2,100 patients in Wuhan and Shenzhen, and found that not only was the proportion of people with blood type A who had contracted the coronavirus (41%) larger than their share of China's general population (32%), but they also were more likely to have exhibited more severe symptoms.

By contrast, people with blood type O make up 34% of China's population, but accounted for only 25% of those in the survey group who were diagnosed with COVID-19. The researchers suggested for health officials to conduct blood tests of patients in order to help assess their level of risk.

However, the scientists, who spoke to The South China Morning Post, noted that its results were preliminary, and at this point might best be used to help guide healthcare professionals in their monitoring of patients. They also warned against reading too much into the results of the study -- which has not yet been peer-reviewed -- and cautioned against assuming that people with blood type A are in imminent danger or that those with blood type O are entirely safe. Also quoted in the SCMP article was a scientist not associated with that research, who noted that while the population studied was of a good size, it was only a small fraction of the confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, and that checking a larger sample size would allow for a more conclusive finding.

Regardless of blood type, people still need to exercise caution, engage in social distancing, and practice good hygiene.

Hospital building.

Image source: Getty Images.

Hospitals worried about the rising number of COVID-19 cases

As of Wednesday, there were more than 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world. In the U.S, there are more than 7,300 confirmed cases and over 100 people have died from it. 

HCA Healthcare (HCA -0.86%), which operates approximately 180 hospitals throughout the country, has already begun the hunt to find any spaces it can adapt to hold more patients -- and it's considering everything from reopening shuttered buildings to repurposing storage closets. HCA Chief Nursing Executive Jane Englebright believes that 2020 may be the company's most challenging year yet. "We don't want to be caught unprepared," Englebright told The Wall Street Journal.

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