Canadian research converts donor blood into a universal type

June 19, 2019

Patients who need a blood transfusion – from an accident or surgery – cannot simply settle for a donor as blood types must be universal/match to avoid fatal consequences.  However, scientists from the University of British Columbia, Canada, have chanced upon a medical breakthrough – a way to convert blood types to a safer match for all patients to receive.

People have one of four blood types (A, B, AB, or O) defined by the presence or absence of certain sugar antigens on the surface of the red blood cells.Type O blood is considered a universal donor type for its lack of opposing antigens, but is not always available in a blood bank.

The research presents a viable way to convert type A or type B blood into O blood using enzymes from gut bacteria. When low concentrations of these enzymes are added to type A blood, for example, the molecules on its surface that define it as A-type become unattached, turning it into universal type O blood.

The conversion method is very useful; considering types A or B blood are more common amongst the population, while there is much less universal type O negative donors.


Category: Education, Features

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