A new scientific breakthrough is forming. Canadian scientists are looking for a way to convert blood type A into blood suitable for universal donation, through bacteria present in the human intestine. The possibility of making it a reality is still in its infancy, but if it does, the availability of blood for donations and transfusions will double.
According to WHO, 42% of the 117.4 million units of blood extracted in the world are donated in high-income countries, where 16% of the world's population lives.
Now researchers analyzing bacteria in the human gut have discovered that microbes produce two enzymes that can convert the common type A into a more universally accepted type. If the process is completed, blood specialists suggest that this could revolutionize blood donation and transfusion.
Each person has one of four types of blood: A, B, AB, or O, defined by specific sugar molecules on the surface of their red blood cells. If a person with type A gets type B blood, or vice versa, these molecules, called antigens, can cause the immune system to make a deadly attack on red blood cells. The person would die or be seriously ill.
According to Science News, type O cells lack these antigens, which makes it possible to transfuse this type of blood to anyone. That's why people with this type of blood are "universal donors." Most of the blood that rests in the coolers of hospitals and emergency rooms belongs to this type of blood, but blood is not always available for donation in many emergency rooms and hospitals.
Scientists at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (Canada) have attempted to transform the second most common blood type A by eliminating these antigens with enzymes so that Snagre type A can also be used as a universal donane. According to the scientific journal, Canadians have had limited success, since known enzymes that can remove red blood cells from harmful sugars can not completely eliminate them.
After 4 years trying to improve these enzymes, the team decided to look for answers in human intestinal bacteria, where there are microbes that consume sugar proteins. Some of these microbes adhere to the intestinal wall, where they "eat" combinations of sugar protein called mucins, similar to the antigens present in red blood cells.
The team collected a sample of human feces and isolated their DNA. "Theoretically, it would include genes encoding the bacterial enzymes that digest the mucins." By cutting off this DNA and loading different parts into copies of the Escherichia coli bacterium, the researchers checked whether any of the microbes produced proteins with the ability to eliminate the sugars that define them. One, "they wrote.Not at first, but when they tried two enzymes at one time, the sugars left immediately.The discovery was published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
In the United States, type A blood accounts for less than a third of the supply, which means that blood availability from "universal" donors may almost double, but scientists recognize that work is still needed to ensure that all blood Antigens A blood type A was eliminated prior to a blood transfusion.