This article has me very confused;


It's implying that red blood cells (ABO blood groups only affect the surface of red blood cells, but not white blood cells) fight disease, with type A being the weakest, and I've been reading that this is blatantly wrong, since it is white blood cells that are involved in the immune response, not red blood cells, and thus blood type would have no effect on the course of an infection because red blood cells aren't involved in fighting diseases and blood groups don't affect the internal workings of a red blood cell anyway.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That's bullshit. Red blood cells have only one function and this is the transport of oxygen. One advice: Stop reading Daily Mail as this is not a serious source. $\endgroup$ – Chris Mar 18 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris the article referenced this study - medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.11.20031096v1 I'd like to know your thoughts on the results. $\endgroup$ – Lars Knowles Mar 18 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ It's one report so far, and the numbers are not so much different. Only because there seems to be a correlation doesn't mean there is a real causation. The study is also only descriptive without giving any hypothesis on a possible mechanism. It looks very much to me like a very fast publication to be the first. I would be very cautious here. $\endgroup$ – Chris Mar 18 at 12:31

I somewhat like the Daily Mail - they vacuum up information indiscriminately and empty it out at your feet. Provided you are willing to think critically, you should be alright. This report is also found at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3075567/people-blood-type-may-be-more-vulnerable-coronavirus-china-study and traces back to the preprint at https://www.medrxiv.org/sites/all/libraries/pdfjs/web/viewer.html?file=/content/medrxiv/early/2020/03/16/2020.03.11.20031096.full.pdf

Note that Medrxiv is a preprint server - the papers are not peer reviewed - hence it is another source of delight for the critical and skeptical thinker. This preprint comes from a most respectable and prolific source, but one under great pressure to publish quickly for the sake of the world. In my opinion, the authors err in their statistics - I think they assume that the odds of getting 42% instead of 32% type A blood in a sample is the odds of a group of individuals selected randomly from a large population having that much of a skew, so it seemed significant. However, if the market at Wuhan was favored by people of certain ethnic extraction, or even if there were some extended family groups in the sample, the odds of seeing this effect by chance might be higher. I won't fault them for publishing the study because people in other countries SHOULD look to see if there is a correlation in their hands. But I don't think the paper would have passed a traditional peer review.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.