This Is Huge: We Finally Have Found a Way to Convert Donor Blood Into a Universal Type

In July last year, the American Red Cross declared an emergency blood shortage - it simply wasn't receiving enough donations to help all the patients that needed blood. Now, researchers from the University of British Columbia may have found a way to address the problem, even if people aren't donating more: convert a less-usable blood type into one that anyone can receive.

Last August, they presented their research at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, and now the results have been published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

Blood types are different because of the sugars on the surface of the red blood cells the body creates. Type A has one type of sugar and Type B has another; Type AB has both sugars. Type O doesn't have any sugars.

If a person receives a blood transfusion of a blood type that's not their own, their immune system will attack and kill the donated blood cells.

For example, a person with Type A blood could never receive a Type B donation because their system would simply reject the new blood because the sugars aren't quite right.

Because Type O blood doesn't carry any sugars, anyone can receive it - it's the universally accepted blood type and, therefore, highly desirable.

In the past, researchers figured out that certain enzymes (molecules that cause chemical reactions) could remove the sugars from A, B, and AB blood cells, converting them into the more useful Type O.

Learn more here.

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