Doctors Say Blood Type May Be Linked to Severe COVID-19 Risk

Doctors Say Blood Type May Be Linked to Severe COVID-19 Risk
Whether a person gets a severe form of COVID-19 could depend on blood type and their DNA, according to a new study conducted by a team of European scientists. (Source: CNN)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Researchers at the University of Kiel in Germany, as well as here at USF, are now saying that the risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus and developing severe symptoms - could depend on the type of blood is flowing through your body.

This finding helps explain why two people, who are the same age and have the same health, can have totally different reactions to COVID-19. One may become an asymptomatic carrier, while the other ends up in the hospital.

“What we’re really trying to do is to understand what are the factors that underly people getting a really sever case of COVID-19. This is something that we really want to predict,” Dr. Michael Teng, USF Professor of Molecular Medicine who specializes in Virology, tells us.

Researchers found people with Type A blood are at a 45% higher risk of contracting the virus and getting really sick from it. While people with Type O blood have a lower risk. However, this new information does not take away from the fact that both of these patients can spread the virus to others.

“And it turns out, that people who are asymptomatic seem to have the virus in them a little bit longer because they don’t develop as a robust of an immune response. These people have a potential to spread it even farther than those get symptomatic infection,” Dr. Teng explained.

However, when do you know once you’re exposed? And for how long are you contagious?

“We do not know exactly how long someone is infectious,” said Dr. Washington Hill, specialist at Center Place Health and Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

That is why doctors are encouraging everyone to continue social distancing - especially because many can test positive for months. The PCR test, which is used to tell people whether or not they’re positive with COVID-19, looks at the genetic makeup of the virus. It only shows whether or not coroanvirus is in a person’s system.

“That can remain positive for some time. However, those are fragments of the virus. They are not, as best we know and according to the data, infectious,” explained Dr. Hill.

The 14-day quarantine was used as a guide because most symptomatic patients will lose all symptoms after a two week period. However, how can we tell when that period is up for those who have the virus, but show no symptoms?

“We’ll find that out with time, but right now, we really do not know that,” Dr. Hill said.

Doctors say because there is still so much unknown about this virus and how long a person is infectious for, wearing a mask at all times around others can prevent a spread.

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