Type “O” Could Become Even More Universal

An American company and a Danish research team say they are developing a way to turn any blood into the universal type "O."

It is only in the testing phase right now, but one day it could help make the Nation's blood supply more stable, and safer.

Each year hospitals around the country struggle to maintain supplies of type O blood, the universal donor type that can make a life-or-death difference in an emergency.

Now a Danish research team says it is developed what may become a safe, inexpensive way to transform any blood into type O.

That is raising high hopes in the medical community.

Joseph Thomas of the Cleveland Clinic said, "If the technology works out which we highly anticipate and hope for we will have adequate amounts of blood for all patients in all circumstances."

The study was commissioned by a Massachusetts biotech company called Zymequest.

The American Red Cross calls it an exciting prospect, but notes it is years away from practical use.

Still it could one day be a lifesaver.

Thomas also said, "It will improve the safety of trans by reducing the reactions that patients get from getting the wrong type of blood."

A mistake that can be deadly.

Paul Anderson is a rare type A/B positive, and donates every few months.

"I have had concerns about my blood, A/B positive, is only being available to receive A/B positive, which is only about three percent of the population," said Paul Anderson.

Now a potential breakthrough could some day give millions of Americans some added insurance they hope they will never need.

Researchers say the enzymes may be ready for use in Europe in about four years, and some time later here in the states.


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