Scientists examined 1,600 patients from Italy and Spain, the two countries most affected by the coronavirus emergency, discovering among other things that blood type 0 would be associated with milder symptoms: valuable information, which will allow doctors to predict any complications in time and which will improve the chances of treatment for Sars-CoV-2 positive patients.
“With our research we have established that the blood group – explains Luca Valenti, Italian coordinator of the study and doctor of the Transfusion Center of the Polyclinic of Milan – is one of the main hereditary factors that predispose to develop a more serious disease for Covid-19.
In particular, the results tell us that blood group A has an increased risk of severe pulmonary impairment, while those belonging to group 0 are more protected. And since the blood type is hereditary, it is possible to conclude that the predisposition to the most serious symptoms of this disease is also hereditary. ”
The suspicion that the blood groups somehow influenced the severity of the symptoms from Covid-19 had already emerged in a previous Chinese study: “The novelty of our research – comments Daniele Prati, director of the Transfusion Center of the Polyclinic of Milan – is that in we examined all the markers of the whole genome, confirming for the first time in a systematic way that the blood group is one of the main factors that lead to predicting the severity of the symptoms “.
The mechanisms of symptomatology not yet fully understood
The researchers also identified an additional portion of DNA that would be linked to a greater severity of Covid-19 respiratory involvement: it is a region of chromosome 3, although the mechanism by which this portion of the genetic code would act on the disease does not has yet been fully clarified.
“For now we have two genetic markers that indicate an increased risk to the severity of the disease: one is the blood group, which we know better – continues Valenti – and the other is a region of chromosome 3 which includes some co-receptors of the virus and inflammatory factors, but it is still being defined. At the moment, however, knowing these two factors it will be possible to predict, if the infection persists in the population or a second wave occurs, which people will be more susceptible to any complications. so doctors can prepare in advance the best prevention strategies and more targeted treatments. Furthermore, this discovery is fundamental for scientific research, because it can contribute in the development of effective vaccines against Sars-CoV-2 “.
The exact mechanism by which a specific blood group would lead to more severe symptoms (or, on the contrary, another group would lead to mitigate them) has not yet been fully clarified., but it is from here that more detailed research will start:
“By understanding what the predisposing factors are – says Daniele Prati – we would be able to better understand what the mechanisms of the disease are and therefore to develop more effective therapies”. The fundamental thing, the two experts conclude, is to underline that there are currently no certainties that the blood groups influence the risk of contracting the coronavirus. We do know, however, that when group A people are infected, they are more likely to develop a more severe form.