There has been recent studies that blood type A is “more vulnerable” to COVID-19 after a preliminary study was done in China to look at blood group patterns of more than 2,000 people who had been diagnosed with the new coronavirus.
We asked experts this question:
“Are people with Type A blood more susceptible to COVID-19? Is there any solid evidence to support this?”
Dr Jasmine Khairat, Virologist & Senior Lecturer at Institute of Biological Sciences (ISB) Faculty of Science in the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, said:
“Until now, no conclusive evidence that blood type play a role in susceptibility of a population to contract the virus. It is a respiratory borne virus, not blood borne virus so blood is not the route of transmission.”
Dr Tan Cheng Siang, Virologist & Head of Centre for Tropical and Emerging Diseases, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Malaysia Sarawak, said:
“No, it cannot be. SARS-CoV-2 binds to the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme–2 (ACE-2) receptor which can be found on the surface of human airway epithelial cells. This would explain the high tendency of the virus to infect the respiratory tract.
If blood group can be an important risk factor, the virus would have an affinity to the A antigen on the red blood cells and probably the AB antigen too.
Currently, there is no evidence showing SARS-CoV-2 infecting the red blood cells. The hypothesis that people with type A blood are more prone to COVID-19 may be purely coincidental and holds no scientific merits.”
|Disclaimer: Science Media Centre Malaysia has collected these comments to provide journalists with a range of expert perspectives on the subject. The views expressed here are personal opinions of the experts. They do not in any way reflect the views of the Science Media Centre or any other organization unless specifically stated.|
Bionotes of experts
Dr Jasmine Khairat received her PhD and virology training from Monash University Malaysia. Currently, she is a senior lecturer at Institute of Biological Sciences (ISB) Faculty of Science in the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has been teaching Microbiology courses. Her researches include host-pathogen interactions, virus surveillance, emerging infectious diseases and antiviral studies involving respiratory viruses specifically influenza virus to improve our knowledge in viral pathogenesis.
Dr Tan Cheng Siang is the Head of Centre for Tropical and Emerging Diseases, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Malaysia Sarawak. A trained virologist, he has more than 20 years experience in handling infectious viruses, virus isolation and identification, phylogeny, molecular epidemiology, recombinant protein expression and diagnostic tool development. He is also a certified biosafety officer and holds four Certified Professional credentials from the International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA).
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