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23 Aug, 2018 15:54

Human gut contains ‘promising enzyme’ to create universal blood – research (VIDEO)

Human gut contains ‘promising enzyme’ to create universal blood – research (VIDEO)

As part of the battle to boost emergency blood supplies scientists have found a way to transform human blood into the O-type class that can be administered to people universally.

Scientists from the University of British Columbia (UBC) have confirmed that they are using e-coli to discover enzymes that can cut out blood sugars and alter the blood’s antibodies, meaning it can be given to more patients.

The research idea was recently presented to the American Chemical Society, with UBC biochemist professor Stephen Withers explaining that enzymes lining the wall of the human gut appear to be a successful candidate for use in the transformation process.

“We have been particularly interested in enzymes that allow us to remove the A or B antigens from red blood cells. If you can remove those antigens, which are just simple sugars, then you can convert A or B to O blood,” Withers explained.

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The researcher added that the method will have to undergo rigorous testing to ensure that it is safe but he is very confident that it can deliver on its promise to change blood types.

Different antigens such as proteins and sugars sit on three of the main blood groups –  A, B and AB. It means that when undergoing a transfusion not everyone can receive the same blood type because their body will reject it.

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This presents a problem in times of emergency, and blood banks around the world are regularly forced to issue appeals to donors due to dwindling supplies. The organizations routinely make a specific call out to people with O negative blood because it can be administered to almost everyone.

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