Friday , January 22 2021

Search for donors of rare blood type

MIAMI – A global search is underway for donors matching a two-year-old with some of the rarest blood in the world.

Zainab Mughal has been battling cancer, and to survive, she's needed blood transfusion from seven to 10 donors. Now four have been found.

Only people of Pakistan, Indian or Iranian descent who have the same type of blood as Zainab, whose family hails from Pakistan, are likely to match with her According to OneBlood, a South Florida nonprofit organization that is aiding in a global search to identify and recruit donors for the young girl.

"We have a zero percent chance of finding compatible blood for this little girl," Frieda Bright, a lab manager with OneBlood, said in a video provided by the organization. "We are searching the world to try the little girl."

Last month, OneBlood says he found two donors in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. A fourth donor was located in the UK on Wednesday. The search will continue to be the world's longest outing, the OneBlood said in a statement.

A person's blood type is determined by antigens. Zainab's blood is missing an antigen called Indian B, and her body will attack transfused blood that contains it. So, like Zainab, her donors need to be the antigen. In addition, they should have type O or A blood

Such donors are "extremely rare," said Sandra Nance, senior director of the American Rare Donor Program.

Nance said the program tracks at least 59 types of rare blood and has over 120,000 registered donors. She told not a single donor matching Zainab's blood type was registered in the program's US database when matching donors for the search began September. Since then, two compatible donors in the US and one in the UK have been found, according to OneBlood.

"Lucky, thank God, they have found three donors So, so far, she has been going through her normal treatment, "her father, Raheel Mughal, said in a video provided by OneBlood. "We will definitely need more blood."

Zainab's family made the video with OneBlood to call attention to her story. They were unavailable to CNN

Zainab's cancer, neuroblastoma, developed in her nerve cells and requires chemotherapy for treatment.

"She's going to need to be completely supported by blood donations in order to survive the cancer treatment in order to kill this cancer," Bright said. "The blood's not going to cure her, but the blood's very, very important to support her while she undergoes the treatment for this particular cancer."

Rare blood occurs in less than one in a thousand people, and according to the American Rare Donor Program. The program, a collaboration between the American Red Cross and AABB, formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks, is working with OneBlood to secure more rare blood for Zainab.

"Rare blood is the blood that you do not have when you need it," Nance said. "If a person has been identified as a rare donor and they're called on to give, my hope is that they will donate, if they are able."

In OneBlood video, Mughal made a plea for those who can help "If you are one of those people from the Middle East, please go out and donate blood for my daughter," he said. "My daughter's life too much depends on the blood."


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