Monday, 2 April 2007

Universal red blood cells could end blood bank shortages someday

Filed under: ,

A group of international researchers have discovered an efficient way to strip antigens from red blood cells, making donated blood "universal." Everyone has a blood type -- A, B, AB, and O -- and your blood type makes a big difference in who you can give blood to and who you can receive blood from.

But a new process, using a type of bacteria, can strip red blood cells of their "type" making the blood safe to give to anyone. This would not only relieve blood bank shortages, but may also make blood transfusions safer overall. Though the risk is small, mistakes are made in about 1 in 15,000 blood transfusions.

Though the process has been developed, the method has not yet entered clinical trials to test for safety. But if the process turns out to be safe and efficient, universal donor blood may just be a part of the medical industry's future.

No comments: