Researchers have found a way to make blood donations compatible with any blood type.
It is sometimes difficult for people waiting for donations to find a donor whose blood is compatible with their blood type. Researchers say they have found a way to make any type of blood compatible.
Why isn’t blood compatible?
The reason why not any type of blood can be put into a patient's body is because of the sugar on the surface of the blood cells. Indeed, each blood type has a different type of sugar. Type A has a certain type of sugar, Type B has another type, Type AB combines the sugars from Types A and B. The exception is Type O, which contains no sugar... which means that everyone is able to receive it. In fact, people with Type O blood are called ‘universal donors.’ If incompatible blood is injected, the immune system will soon reject it.
No sugar, no problem
A team of researchers at the University of British Columbia believes it has found a way to remove sugar from Type A and B blood, making it compatible as Type O blood. Their method consists of using an enzyme present in the intestine that aims to remove sugar similar to that present in blood.
The next step would be to test this potentially life-saving finding in a clinical trial to see if there is no rejection from the patient's body. If all goes well, it will allow everyone to benefit from a blood donation in a short period of time. And would solve once and for all the problem of shortages of certain blood groups, which blood banks regularly suffer from.