Are you aware of the different types of blood groups? Knowing your blood group is very important in case if at any time point in your life you need a blood transfusion as mismatched blood group can result in an immune system breakdown. However, the conventional blood group determination can take almost 15–20 minutes, excluding the time needed to make that blood group available during an emergency.
A research team at the Third Military Medical University, China, led by Hong Zhang, has come up with a paper-based test that can work rapidly at the bedside of a patient without the need for specialized equipment or training. This would ultimately permit the hospitals to provide matching blood (O, AB, A, and B) to a patient and also make it more feasible to maintain supplies of blood types.
The test depends on the antigens that exist on the red blood cells’ surface. Type A blood is presented with A antigens, Type B with b antigens, Type O with neither, and type AB with both. The existence of a distinct D antigen decides whether the blood type is negative or positive, also called as Rhesus negative or positive. Blood also consists of antibodies that function to detect and eliminate invaders. If these antibodies verify antigens from non-self red blood cells, they can launch a catastrophic immune reaction.
The new paper strip is infused with a matrix of dye and antibodies, and when applied with a drop of blood, squares of color are produced as the blood diffuses throughout the strip and interacts with the antibodies. For every antigen, that is, D, A, and B, a teal square is observed if the antigen is present or else a brown square is observed in its absence. The device demonstrated an accuracy of 99.9% when trialed on blood samples of 3550 humans. The test just took 30 seconds to exhibit the results.
The team believes this test to be of great importance in remote areas or war zones where labs are not available. So, don’t you think this can also help to avoid the time required to take a decision in an emergency situation?