(Leslie Young/ Global News) — Researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered a way to turn Type A blood into the more in-demand Type O, in what could be a huge advance for blood donation if the technique is proven safe.
With the ability to switch types, hospitals could greatly expand the number of people they could donate a given unit of blood to.
There are four main blood types: A, B, AB and O.
Type A and B blood have specific antigens which mean it can only be donated to other people with those same antigens. Type AB blood has both antigens. So Type A blood can only be given to people with either Type A or Type AB blood, for example. If the wrong blood is given, the recipient’s immune system will attack the new blood cells.
But Type O, which lacks these antigens, can be given to anyone – which makes it incredibly sought-after in the world of blood donation. (…)