A group of Japanese scientists has developed an artificial blood that could work for any patient, regardless of their blood type, as explained in this study published last July in The Journal of AABB. But why can’t everyone get the same blood? What does it mean if there is an artificial blood that works for everyone regardless of blood type?
Blood has several factors that prevent or allow one blood to be compatible with another. On the one hand, we have the blood group (A, B, AB and 0) and, on the other hand, the factor D, which is what we call Rhesus or Rh, which can be positive or negative.
In the case of the blood group, it is important because the blood contains antibodies that react against blood that is of a different type because it carries foreign antigens, that is, because it carries antigens that are not compatible with that group. For example, if a person in group A had a transfusion of blood from group B, the body would react against this blood because they are of a different type. However, if a person from group AB is injected with blood from group A or B, they do not react because they read it as if it were the same blood because the body recognizes both types of blood. In the case of blood 0, it has no antigens that react, so a transfusion of this blood to almost anyone can be made; which one is compatible will depend on the fourth factor, better known as factor D or Rhesus.
At this time, as it must be confirmed what type of blood the patient needs, transfusions cannot be made in ambulances. However, this may be about to change if the artificial blood created by this team of researchers also works in humans. In addition, it would also result in higher survival rates, according to the data from these scientists.
The researchers used it on 10 rabbits with severe blood loss, and six of them survived, “a proportion comparable to that of rabbits treated with real blood”, the team notes. In addition, no negative side effects such as blood clotting have been found, the scientists added. For now, we have to wait for researchers to perform more tests, but in the future it could change the way donations are made.