Do you know your blood type? The group indicates what type of blood you can or cannot receive during a transfusion. It also indicates who can receive your blood if you ever choose to donate it.
Some people find it easy to find donors, but that is not the case for everyone. Some people have particularly rare blood types and have a hard time finding appropriate matches. In these cases, lives can be lost.
That is why the results showing that blood types can be altered are so changeable. This fact could literally change the world.
RESEARCHERS DISCOVER HOW TO CHANGE YOUR BLOOD TYPE, POTENTIALLY SAVING MILLIONS OF LIVES
UNDERSTAND HOW A TYPE OF BLOOD WORKS
It's easy to imagine that all humans have the same blood, but this is far from the case. There are variations in blood, which provide us with four main blood types, each with two subsets. But what constitutes a specific type?
The secret is in the antigens. Antigens are special substances or structures that are bound together by antibodies. They generally rest on their own surfaces. People with different blood types have different types of antigens.
When a contrasting antigen that someone does not have enters their body, it triggers a strong and severe immune response. The body's natural immunity begins to attack foreign antigens, causing it to reject blood and even organ donations and transfusions. As such, close confrontations are crucial to ensuring a safe transfusion process.
The type of antigens you have is largely determined by genetics, which means that your parents pass on your type. Says so:
- Type O blood can be passed on if your parents have type A, B or O blood. You cannot have this type of blood if one of your parents has AB blood.
-You can transmit a blood type if one of your parents has the same type.
-The type B blood can be transmitted if one of your parents has the same type.
-Type AB blood can be passed on if your parents have a mix of type A and B blood. This means that you will need at least one parent with AB blood or both parents with type A and B blood, respectively.
LIST OF BLOOD TYPES
What types of blood types are there? Who can give and receive them? How rare are they, and is there something unique about them? There are 8 variations in the world. Here's a rundown of all of them!
• TYPE O +
O + blood is the most common in the world, representing about 38% of the United States and also the planet. As such, it is commonly the most in demand and, in times of scarcity, it tends to run out quickly.
This variety of blood does not have A or B antigens, only anti-A and anti-B antibodies. Contrary to popular belief, it's not actually the universal donor type; It can only be safely transfused to those who have positive blood types, such as O +, A +, B +, or AB +. Those with this blood type can also only receive O + or O- blood.
Because it is much more common than the true universal donor type, O + blood is often used in emergency situations when the recipient's blood type is unknown. This is because the risk of a death without a transfusion outweighs the risks of a negative blood reaction.
• TYPE O-
O-blood is known as universal. This means that it is used in a variety of emergency situations when doctors do not know the blood type of the recipient of a transfusion. Unfortunately, only 2.55% of the world's population has it, and only 7% of Americans. In times of crisis, the stock of this type of blood is depleted first.
Certain O blood types are cytomegalovirus (CMV) negative. CMV is a type of virus that humans (and apes) naturally harbor, and unfortunately, although it is harmless to most adults, it is deadly to babies.
Unfortunately, those with O- blood can only receive those same types of blood transfusions. This means that, although they are universal donors, they have a very limited usable pool of transfusions.
• TYPE A +
This blood type is the second most common blood type. 27.42% of the world have it, and a whopping 34% of those in the US This means that it is also in relatively high demand.
A + blood also has special platelets that are good for chemotherapy patients. However, they can only donate to those with A + or AB + blood, and they can only receive O or A blood. This is because it contains A antigens and anti-B antibodies.
• TYPE A-
People with A blood make up 6% of the US population or about 1 in 16 people. That number drops to 1.99% worldwide. Those with this type of antigen can donate blood for use by those with type A and AB blood of any variety, although they can only receive A- and O- in return.
• TYPE B +
B + is not the rarest antigen, but it is not very common either. Only 9% of Americans have it, but that number grows outside the country to just over 22% internationally.
People with this blood type can donate to people with B + and AB + blood, and they can receive from anyone with type B or O blood. They have B antigens and anti-A antibodies.
• TYPE B-
B- blood is very rare. Only 2% of Americans have it, and 1.11% of people internationally have it. They can easily transfuse this blood to others with any AB or B blood type, but they can only receive B or O blood, which makes the last two varieties very crucial.
• TYPE AB +
AB + is the least common of all the positive antigens. Only about 3% of Americans have it, and that percentage reaches 5.88% worldwide. The AB blood type is actually the newest to be included among these groups.
You may know AB + as the universal recipient type. Not only do they not have anti-B or anti-A antibodies, but they also have both antigens - A and B! This means that their rarity does not put them at risk.
• TYPE AB-
Less than 1% of all US citizens have AB- blood, and the number drops to 0.36% worldwide. While they don't share the universal status of their positive variety, they don't just rely on AB blood, which is a bonus!
Although AB- is the rarest blood type in the world, it is not too difficult for a person with this blood type to receive a transfusion because he can make use of any negative variation of the blood.
RESEARCH REVEALS HOW TO CHANGE YOUR BLOOD TYPE
A new study published in the journal Nature Microbiology in June 2019, titled "An enzymatic pathway in the human gut microbiome that converts A to universal blood type O," indicates that it may be possible to change your blood type, or specifically the type of blood sample.
The study was conducted by the following authors and researchers, in alphabetical order:
Jayachandran N. Kizhakkedathu
Peter Rahfeld (principal investigator)
Stephen G. Withers
Steven J. Hallam
How did these researchers find a way to change your blood type? It's simple: with a special bacterial enzyme that the human body already contains! This bacterium is known as Flavonifractor plautii, and it is usually found in the intestine.
The scientists separated this bacterium from human stool samples and worked to detect which genes within it can code for certain enzymes, allowing them to isolate certain components of the A antigen and eliminate them. This would allow the A antigen to become the H antigen, which is the antigen in the O - the universal donor type.
Once the bacterial enzyme was put into an A blood sample, the blood cells lost all of their antigens and became O cells instead. Evidence indicates that these new H antigens will not lead to immune system attacks from the transfusion recipient, allowing it to be used effectively for a wider variety of people.
At this time, this experiment was primarily done in a Petri dish, and it has yet to be tested in real humans. However, this doesn't change the fact that this is a great game-changing find, so we can look to the future with more positive thinking.
APPLICATIONS AND BENEFITS IF SCIENTISTS CAN TRANSFORM ANTIGENS
It goes without saying that being able to alter antigens A to O will have myriad positive implications. After all, the O antigen is a universal donor. Therefore, being able to transform A into O will have a significant effect.
Without the correct blood type to transfuse, patients around the world are at risk of possible illness and death. Type O blood is the first type to be attained to save lives, and therefore the ability to convert a very common blood type to this universal donor type will have unmatched benefits worldwide.
This research is so groundbreaking precisely because it does something that many did not believe was possible before. Previous studies have indicated that blood groups can change in patients receiving bone marrow transplants, but that information did not have the same positive possibilities that this new research has presented.