The official count of coronavirus mortalities in the United States has risen over the last two years, and is now nearing 1 million. The coronavirus has impacted – to varied degrees – practically every facet of life, according to large majorities of Americans who have personally known someone who has faced hospitalization or has met death as a result of the deadly disease.
Three years down the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 virus still remains a topic of research and scientists are learning and relearning new information about it every day. A multitude of researches are underway, unearthing new facts each day.
One such research has found that blood types may play a key impact in whether people develop severe forms of Covid-19. The study, which was published in the journal PLOS Genetics, looked at over 3000 proteins to see which ones are causally connected to severe Covid-19.
Over three thousand proteins were screened using a genetic technique by the researchers and six proteins were found to be associated with an elevated risk of severe Covid-19 and eight proteins were shown to be associated with protection from severe Covid-19.
Blood types are determined by one of the proteins (ABO) that has been linked to the likelihood of acquiring severe Covid-19, implying that blood groups play an important role in whether people get severe forms of the illness.
Understanding how blood proteins are linked to disease can help researchers better understand the underlying systems and find new targets for medication development or repurposing. Although protein levels can be assessed directly from blood samples, doing so for a large number of proteins is both costly and useless in determining causality.
The researchers looked at two levels of Covid-19 severity: one is hospitalisation and respiratory support, and the other one is death.
The researchers discovered six proteins that were causally connected to an elevated risk of hospitalisation, respiratory support, or mortality owing to Covid-19. According to the researchers, eight proteins were found to be causally connected to protection against hospitalisation, respiratory support, or death.
The types of proteins connected to hospitalisation and those linked to respiratory assistance or death were found to be unique, indicating that separate mechanisms may be at action in these two stages of sickness. ABO that determines blood group was found to be causally linked to an increased likelihood of hospitalisation and the need for respiratory support in the study.
The findings back with prior study linking blood group to a higher risk of mortality, according to the researchers. When combined with earlier study indicating that the proportion of Covid-19 positive patients who have blood type A is higher, this suggests that blood group A should be investigated further.
Three adhesion molecules were also shown to be causally connected to a lower incidence of hospitalisation and the need for respiratory support. Due to the fact that these adhesion molecules facilitate interaction between immune cells and blood vessels, earlier research has suggested that late stage Covid-19 is also a disease affecting blood vessel linings.