A COVID tale: Is there power in the blood?

The IMMY COVID test site at UCO back in November 2020

Let me tell you a COVID story that began four days after Christmas 2020. My wife woke up feeling extra tired and a little “off.” A day later she had a slight fever and lost all sense of taste and smell.

So, right before New Year’s, we decided to go have COVID tests for both of us at the OU Health Sciences Center. Paula’s test came back positive for COVID. Mine was negative.

Within a day or so, the only symptoms remaining for Paula were loss of taste and smell. I had no symptoms and felt great, even though we are together roughly 24 hours a day during the pandemic.

At the end of the next week, we went back for another COVID test. Paula was positive again. I was negative again.

So, we waited another week and went back for tests. This time both Paula and I were negative.

All of which leads me to the question of how did I remain COVID negative when I live with a COVID positive person? We eat together and sleep together.

My 87-year old mother had her own theory. She suggested that my blood type – O-negative – afforded me immunity to the COVID virus.

I laughed. She had nothing more than conjecture to base that on.

However, I Googled the topic and came up with a report from a 2020 study that showed people with O-negative blood DID show a certain immunity to COVID. Not immune, but less likely to get sick from it.

More confirmation was received this morning when my friend Debbie Cox sent me the link to an article that reported an even newer study.  It showed O-Negative people and those with type B blood were less likely to get sick from COVID than their Type A counterparts. 

Here’s a clip from the article:

“Published on March 3, 2021 in the scientific journal Blood Advances, the study indicates that the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV2, appears to have a blood type preference. In particular, COVID-19 seems to gravitate towards blood group A in respiratory cells. The study also shows that there’s no preference towards respiratory or red blood cells in type B and O blood groups. It’s worth pointing out that the study does not show that people with blood types B and O are immune to the virus, but it does suggest that blood type A individuals are more likely to get infected.”

Another study published last year by Blood Advances also showed people with blood type O were the least likely to get infected by COVID-19. 

Those studies are not exactly saying that my O-negative blood provides COVID immunity, but I’ll take what evidence is presented.

Plus, I received both shots of the Pfizer vaccine back in January.

So, you might say that I’m feeling bulletproof today.

Mom always knows.

The COVID test, Part 2: Results

Breaking news on the COVID front. The COVID-19 test I took on Thursday came back negative today.

Huge exhale.

As a reminder, my daughter, Sarah, and I both had COVID tests done at the IMMY Labs free “Swab Pod” mobile testing site near UCO.  Here is a blog post about our experience.

Sarah’s test came back negative, as well.

If you were wondering what type of test we took, the IMMY website describe it as a “PCR” test, whatever that means. I understand that it’s more accurate than the tests that return results in 15 minutes.

The negative result was important to me because I’m technically a “senior citizen” with underlying medical conditions.

For Sarah, it was important, because the negative result allows her to get back to her job immediately.

Now, on with our lives.

The COVID test. Don’t fear the reaper

My daughter, Sarah, reacts as a nurse inserts a swab into her sinus cavity for a COVID test.

You’ve no doubt seen video clips of people being tested for COVID-19 where a health care professional inserts a long cotton swab into their nostril. I wince each time because it looks like they’re trying to make the brain squeaky clean instead of probing for virus.

So, wouldn’t you know it that my turn came today for a COVID test.

Both my daughter and I have been showing some symptoms, although she was originally diagnosed with an ear infection. And I have ongoing allergy challenges.

But Sarah also has a hacking cough and needed to have the test done for her work. I have been incredibly tired in recent days, so I decided to join her.

Our first decision was where to have the test done.

My friends at Norman-based IMMY, a developer and manufacturer of innovative lines of diagnostic tests and reagents for infectious diseases, have also developed an FDA approved COVID test. It set up a subsidiary company called IMMY Labs to conduct the testing.

IMMY conducts free, drive-by testing daily in the Edmond/Oklahoma City area and locations across the state that include Tulsa, Blanchard, Norman, Moore, Midwest City, Chickasha, Purcell and more. They call their testing sites the Swab Pod. Results are promised in two days or less.

So, Sarah and I chose the Swab Pod near the UCO campus and drove over for our tests this afternoon.

I have to admit that I was fairly apprehensive. Those news clips didn’t do me any favors.

We drove up about 5 minutes before our scheduled time and got in line behind about three other vehicles. There was a check-in table where they scanned a registration code on our phone and placed vials on our windshield beneath the wipers.

The vehicle in front of us pauses for a quick swab test.

We were told to fall in line and follow the vehicles to the nurse’s station. Less than two minutes later we were there.

The nurse approached Sarah’s side first, and I took photos as she was swabbed. It took only seconds, and she didn’t show any discomfort.

My time came. I closed my eyes, leaned back in the seat and anticipated the worst, which I’m not sure what that would have been. The swab scraping my brain? Hitting a nerve? Blinding me?

The nurse inserted the swab and counted down from five. Just like that it was over. I had a tickling sensation and almost sneezed. That was it.

We drove off the lot and were on our way in less than 30 seconds, slightly giddy at how painless and easy it was. We’ll know the results probably sometime tomorrow.

The lesson for me? Don’t fear the reaper.

Stay tuned.