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Blood group conversion

12th April 2007

A simple new technique enabling blood donated from different groups to be converted to type O looks set to ease blood shortages in hospitals, especially in poorer countries.

The new research, published in Nature Biotechnology, describes the use of newly discovered enzymes which can turn type A, B and AB blood into type O.

Type O lacks either of the types of sugar molecules found in the other blood types, which can lead the immune system to reject the blood if it is of the wrong type, meaning it can be given to anyone.

Lack of voluntary donors, unscreened blood and blood storage systems mean that blood transfusion services are at best limited and at worst highly dangerous in some developing countries.


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