Roundup: Blood Type May Raise COVID-19 Risk; FDA's Hand Sanitizer Warning; and Latest on Symptoms

Your Blood Type May Put You at Higher Risk of Serious COVID-19 Illness, Study Finds

Researchers have found that people with blood type A may be 45 percent more likely than those with other blood types to contract severe COVID-19 symptoms and respiratory failure. By comparison, people with blood type O — the most common blood type — had a 50 percent reduced risk of developing serious symptoms from the coronavirus, including symptoms that would require oxygen or a ventilator.

The researchers reached their conclusion after analyzing more than 1,900 severely ill coronavirus patients in Spain and Italy, and then comparing them with more than 2,000 patients who were not sick. The study was published in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine by a team of European scientists.

But the study’s authors cautioned that blood type is not a sole factor. They can’t say if blood type is the main reason you may be more or less susceptible to the coronavirus. They detected genetic variations common in the patients with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms, and there’s a probability that the DNA variations could be linked to a person’s blood type. The variations could also be associated with a person’s immune response.

“Those who are not type A should not interpret this study to mean that they can let their guard down,” Roy Silverstein, a hematologist who is the chairman of the department of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, told MarketWatch. “Similarly, the data are not yet convincing enough to recommend that those with Type A need to do even more than what is recommended.”

Two previous studies have also suggested a possible link between blood types and risk factors for serious illness from COVID-19. The other studies also indicated a higher risk for those with blood type A. But the previous studies have not been “peer-reviewed,” a common practice among medical researchers to validate clinical studies.

FDA: These 8 Brands of Hand Sanitizers Contain Potentially Toxic Substance

You should not use any of the nine brands of hand sanitizers that may contain methanol, or wood alcohol, a substance that’s potentially dangerous when absorbed through the skin or ingested, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned.

The FDA’s alert comes as hand sanitizers are in high heavy demand because of the coronavirus pandemic and the required frequent wash of hands.

In its warning, the FDA said the Mexico-based manufacturer Eskbiochem SA de CV had refused the U.S. agency’s request that it remove the “potentially dangerous products” from the U.S. market. FDA testing found samples of one product, Lavar Gel, contained 81 percent methanol and those of CleanCare No Germ contained 28 percent. The FDA has a full listing of the nine brands on its website.

“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the FDA states.

FDA recommends that consumers “stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain.”

New Review Finds Persistent Cough, Fever Remain Most Common COVID-19 Symptoms

A persistent cough and fever remain the most common symptoms associated with COVID-19, according to the largest analysis of symptoms to date.

The other most reported symptoms include fatigue, losing the ability to smell and difficulty in breathing. In the study — published in the online journal PLoS ONE — the researchers conceded what many studies have previously found — that a large proportion of people who had the coronavirus did not show symptoms.

The researchers — from five universities, including the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom — reviwed data from 148 separate studies to identify the common symptoms seen in more than 24,000 patients from nine countries, including the UK, China and the U.S.

Of the 24,410 cases, the study found the following (percentages varied across countries):

  • 78 percent had a fever
  • 57 percent had a cough.
  • 31 percent suffered fatigue.
  • 25 percent lost the ability to smell.
  • 23 percent had difficulty breathing.

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