If your blood type is O-negative, you may feel a bit like a vampire's victim every time you volunteer to donate a pint. That's because as a universal donor, your blood can be safely transfused to people of any blood type, making it the most valued commodity in the blood bank. That may soon change, now that Danish researchers have found a way to convert other blood types to O with the help of some bacteria. The scientists have isolated two enzymes made by the bugs that can chew away the sugar molecules that distinguish types A, B and AB-negative blood, essentially converting them to type O (the bacteria can't, however, eliminate the Rh proteins found on A, B and AB-positive blood). Testing of the resulting blood in human patients has just begun. If successful, the transformed blood could provide a steady supply and alleviate frequent shortages.
Available Testing under way
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