COVID-19: O blood group, vitamin D slightly protective in Oyo —Study

Experts, in a new study, say that blood group O is protective against COVID-19 infection even as being a male makes an individual twice more susceptible to contracting the infection than the female, in Oyo State.

The study, which confirmed the association between ABO blood groups and COVID-19 infection and the severity of infection, says individuals with blood groups B and AB were also more susceptible to the disease. Within ABO blood group systems, there are four different blood groups: A, B, AB and O

They also found out that the blood group was not associated with whether the patients have respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms but age modestly predict if a patient infected with SARS CoV 2 would become symptomatic.

In addition, blood group O was significantly less represented among the asymptomatic and symptomatic patients while blood groups B and AB were significantly more represented. There was no significant difference between the A phenotype among the COVID-19 patients and the donor population.

The study had compared the blood groups of 302 asymptomatic and symptomatic patients quarantined at the Oyo State Infectious Diseases Centre in Ibadan between April 27, 2020 and August 30, 2020 with the blood donor population in the state.  It involved Taiwo R. Kotila, Temitope O. Alonge, Adeola Fowotade and Olufisayo I. Famuyiwa at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan in collaboration with Adebola S Akinbile,  at the Oyo State Ministry of Health.

Oyo State had carried out 15, 733 tests and of this number, 3119 were confirmed positive for the COVID-19 with 1,952 recoveries and 37 deaths at the time of compilation of this report. It was reported in the February edition of the International Society of Blood Transfusion.

Professor Temitope Alonge, chairman, Oyo State Covid-19 task force said most Africans have blood group O and might explain among other reasons the low infection, severity and demise in the African continent.

According to him, “many of us are carrying blood group O, maybe that confers a little protection apart from vitamin D levels.”

According to the study, of the 302 participants, 297 (98per cent) had their blood group determined, asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals were 123 (40·7per cent) and 179 (59·3per cent) respectively.  Respiratory symptoms were experienced by 70 (39·1 per cent) participants, gastrointestinal symptoms by 21 (11·7 per cent) participants while 6 (3·4 per cent) experienced both.

The researchers concluded: “The higher prevalence of blood group O and more potent beta haemolysins (anti-B antibodies) are likely reasons for the lower infectivity by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and severity of COVID-19 disease in the community.”

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