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There has been a blood donation breakthrough as scientists are now able to convert all blood types into the universal type O!


Global – In a breakthrough that could save thousands of lives, scientists have found a way to convert all blood types to the universal type that is safe for all patients to receive, by using microbes found in the human gut.

According to Science Magazine, a new study published in Nature Microbiology states that scientists have discovered a way to change type A blood into the universally accepted type O negative blood type.

People typically have one of four blood types—A, B, AB, or O—defined by unusual sugar molecules on the surfaces of their red blood cells. If a person with type A receives type B blood, or vice versa, these molecules, called blood antigens, can cause the immune system to mount a deadly attack on the red blood cells. But type O cells lack these antigens, making it possible to transfuse that blood type into anyone. That makes this “universal” blood especially important in emergency rooms, where nurses and doctors may not have time to determine an accident victim’s blood type.

And recently, researchers were able to find bacteria in the human gut that produce two enzymes stripping type A blood’s antigens turning it into antigen free type O negative blood cells.

“The human gut is covered with mucins, large glycoproteins presenting a variety of glycan structures on their surface, including those of the blood group antigens,” said Peter Rahfeld, a researcher at the University of British Columbia.

Further studies need to be conducted to ensure all blood antigens are removed from the type A blood, but if proved successful, the conversion type A blood would revolutionise blood transfusions.

Sources: Science Magazine |  Nature Microbiology 
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