Having a certain blood type may help protect you against the new coronavirus, preliminary data from a new study suggest.
Researchers from genetic testing company 23andMe found that people with type O blood were up to 18 percent less likely to test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
In addition, those who had the blood type and were exposed were up to 26 percent less likely to have coronavirus.
The team says this indicates a link between the genes that determined the blood type and the virus.
A new study found that people with type O blood were between 9% and 18% less likely than people with other blood types to test positive for coronavirus (shown)
Those with O-type blood exposed to the virus were between 13% and 26% less likely to test positive (shown)
Researchers say this indicates a link between variations in the ABO gene, which determines the blood group, and COVID-19. Pictured: Bumps of donated blood in a hospital
For the study, the team recruited more than 750,000 participants, including 10,000 who reported having COVID-19.
Individuals with type O blood were between nine and 18 percent less likely than those with other blood types to test positive.
About 1.3 percent of the 23andMe participants in the type O blood study were positive for COVID-19.
By comparison, 1.4 percent of those with type A blood and 1.5 percent of those with type B or type AB blood had the virus.
People with O-type blood exposed to the virus, such as frontline health workers, were 13 to 26 percent less likely to test positive.
Of those exposed, 3.2 percent with type O blood were positive, compared to 3.9 percent of people with type A blood, four percent with type B blood, and 4.1 percent with type AB blood.
The findings, which have not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal and are kept when adjusted for factors such as age, gender, body mass index and underlying health problems.
Researchers identified a variant in the ABO gene, responsible for difference blood types, that was associated with a lower risk.
“The research and recruitment is ongoing, hoping we can use our research platform to better understand the differences in how people respond to the virus,” said a statement on the 23andMe blog.
“Ultimately, we hope to publish our research results to provide more insight into COVID-19 for the scientific community.”
This isn’t the only research to find that certain blood types offer protective benefits.
A March preprint from China found that people in blood group A had a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than people in non-A blood groups.
For comparison, those in blood group O had a lower risk of contracting the infection than those in non-O blood groups.
Moreover one joint pre-pressure of a group of Italian and Spanish researchers also found a higher disease risk in A-positive people and a protective effect for people with blood type.
Another, from Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, found that people with A positive and A negative blood were 33 percent more likely to test positive than other blood types.
Meanwhile, both O-negative and O-positive blood types were less likely to get sick with coronavirus than other blood types.
In the US, there are more than 1.9 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 111,000 deaths.