A Tokai haematologist has moved to reassure the public after a preliminary study suggested people with A blood types are more vulnerable to Covid-19.
The study at the Southern University of Science and Technology in China found people were more likely to catch the virus and were at greater risk of developing severe symptoms.
The research, conducted on 2173 patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 in Wuhan and Shenzhen, also suggested that those who had O blood type were at lower risk.
The results released earlier this month also looked at patients who had died from Covid- 19 in Wuhan, and of 206 of them, 85 had Type A blood which was significantly higher than the other blood groups.
Even though the study is preliminary, has not been peer reviewed yet and was conducted on a small sample, scientists involved warned governments to consider blood types in response to the Covid- 19 pandemic.
Dr Shahroch Nahrwar, head of department for clinical haematology at Melomed Tokai, says the study was observational and not experimental and that it was based on association and not causality.
Dr Nahrwar feels too much emphasis is placed on blood groups in relation to diseases and people should rather focus on the things they have control over to avoid getting sick.
People can’t change their blood group, but they can change their nutrition and personal hygiene, he says.
Dr Nahrwar says blood groups are more significant for haematology when it comes to things such as blood transfusions or stem-cell and organ transplantation.
However, he notes there are some links between blood groups and susceptibility to certain diseases such as malaria.
But focusing on links between blood groups and disease at the expense of things such as nutrition, public health, access to water, and hygiene isn’t helpful, he says.
The mortality rate of Covid- 19, he says, shows older people are more vulnerable because the immune system weakens with age.
He says people should boost their immune systems and nutrition is one of the best ways to do it. He says cut down carbohydrate intake; consume more proteins to build muscle; get a flu shot; and don’t smoke and drink.