An advance toward enabling more blood banks to adopt so-called "extended blood group typing," which increases transfusion safety by better matching donors and recipients is being reported by scientists.
Their report on a new, automated genetic method for determining a broader range of blood types appears in ACS' Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly journal.
Christophe Marquette and colleagues explain that most blood banks still use a century-old blood approach to blood typing. It identifies blood group antigens on red blood cells -- proteins that must match in donor and recipient to avoid potentially serious transfusion reactions. Most blood currently is typed for only a few of the 29 known human blood groups, even though some rare blood groups can affect the outcome of a transfusion. Commercial technology does exist for extended typing with DNA tests. However, it is expensive, difficult to use, and suited more for research labs than high-volume blood centers, they state. Wide adoption of extended blood group typing, they note, requires a test that can handle the high volume of blood processed each year -- 14 million donations in the United States, for instance, and 20 million in Europe.