Does Your Blood Type Impact Your COVID-19 Risk?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected some groups more severely than others.

Older adults, for example, are at higher risk of hospitalization and death compared to young people. Some racial groups have also fared worse, for reasons not fully understood.

As research on the virus progresses, scientists are finding additional factors that may make people more vulnerable to COVID-19. An interesting new study points to blood type as one such key factor.

Blood Type A May Be More Susceptible to COVID-19

A study published this month in the journal Blood found that people with blood type A may be more prone to COVID-19 infection compared to other blood types.

The researchers noted:

  • The spike protein on the surface of the COVID-19 virus is able to stick to markers on the surface of human blood cells.
  • These markers are called antigens. Your blood type (A, B, AB, or O) is determined by which antigens are present.
  • In lab tests, the researchers found that the COVID-19 spike protein sticks more strongly to the antigens found on type A blood cells.
  • As a result, the virus appears to be able to infect cells with type A blood more easily than other blood types.

This data provides a potential explanation for why some blood types seem to be more vulnerable to COVID-19. More research is still needed to confirm the link.

What Should People with Type A Blood Do?

If you have type A blood, you may be at somewhat higher risk from COVID-19.

However, blood type is just one factor that influences susceptibility. Your overall risk also depends on other variables like age, underlying conditions, and how much virus you’re exposed to.

Here are some precautions people with type A blood can consider to stay safe:

  • Get vaccinated and stay up-to-date with boosters. Vaccines provide robust protection against COVID-19 for all blood types.
  • Wear a high-quality mask when indoors around others who are sick or symptomatic. Masks reduce your chances of getting infected.
  • Test frequently if you have symptoms or suspect exposure. This allows you to isolate and get treated quickly.
  • Talk to your doctor about antibody treatments if you do get COVID-19. Certain antibodies can reduce severity.

Blood type alone should not be cause for panic. But being aware of your potential risks allows you to make informed choices to stay healthy.

Other Risk Factors Beyond Blood Type

While the potential link between blood type A and COVID-19 risk is notable, many other factors impact susceptibility. Some other key COVID-19 risk factors include:

  • Age: The risk of severe illness rises sharply with age, especially after age 50. The immune system weakens with age, making it harder to fight off infection.
  • Underlying conditions: Diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and chronic lung disease are linked to more severe COVID-19 outcomes.
  • Close exposure: The more virus you’re exposed to, the more likely you are to get infected or seriously ill. Close contact in crowded indoor spaces is very risky.
  • Vaccination status: Unvaccinated individuals are 5-10 times more likely to get infected or die from COVID-19 compared to those fully vaccinated.
  • Mask wearing: Consistently wearing high-quality masks lowers your chances of getting COVID-19. Masks contain respiratory droplets and aerosols.
  • Testing and treatment access: Frequent testing allows early detection. Prompt treatment with antivirals can reduce severe disease.

While blood type may play a role, it’s just one piece of the bigger picture. Following prevention guidelines, getting vaccinated, and addressing other health risks remains critical for everyone to lower COVID-19 susceptibility.