Did you know that the discovery of a new blood type group could help the lives of newborns and pregnant mums? Well, scientists recently discovered a new set of blood groups which could be beneficial to them.
Moreover, the new blood type allegedly provides doctors with information that helps treat blood incompatibility. This condition usually poses a risk to pregnant mums and their unborn fetuses.
Experts Discover New Blood Type That Helps Newborns
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Another heartbreaking loss of a pair of newborns provided critical insights into a rare set of blood types spotted for the first time after four decades.
Fortunately, experts discovered the molecular identity of the relatively new blood type, which is known as the Er system. It is a new study that can hopefully prevent such devastating things from happening again in the coming years.
According to Ash Toye, a cell biologist from the University of Bristol, their research proves that there’s always something more about the red blood cell that surprises them.
Additionally, experts describe blood typing as the presence and absence of combinations of proteins and sugars that cover a human’s red blood cell surfaces.
Aside from that, scientists emphasised how they can serve different purposes. According to them, the human body generally uses these cell-surface antigens as identification markers. These then have the ability to separate themselves from potentially harmful invaders.
There are several different blood group systems based around a wide variety of sell-surface antigens as well as their variants. However, people are more familiar with ABO and rhesus factor blood group, primarily because of the prime importance of matching blood transfusions.
When Were the Blood Groups Identified?
Experts initially identified the majority of the most significant blood groups in the early 20th century.
A few more decades passed before scientists discovered the late-comer collection known as the Er. They found it in 1982, which formed the foundation for a 44th blood group.
After six more years, experts identified a new version known as the Erb. Back then, they used the code Er3 in describing the absence of Era and Erb.
A lot of people have been aware and familiar with the existence of blood antigens for many years now. However, not all of them understand how it might affect the patients.
A human body’s immune system becomes activated when a blood cell with an antigen the body does not recognise as part of us appears. Afterwards, antibodies will be sent to mark the suspect antigen-bearing cells for destruction.
Hemolytic Disease in the Infant
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There could be some cases when a mismatch between an unborn baby’s and their mum’s blood type may cause problems. It typically happens if the mother’s immune system becomes sensitized to foreign antigens.
It could also lead to hemolytic disease in the infant when the antibodies generated in response can then pass through the placenta.
Fortunately, there are some ways experts do to prevent and treat hemolytic disease among infants nowadays. It includes injections for pregnant women and blood transfusions for babies.
However, this method cannot guarantee a hundred per cent.
Heartbreakingly, there is one specific case mentioned in the study in which a blood transfusion following a cesarean section delivery failed to save the infant’s life because there was something that was missing.
Advantages of the Rare Blood Type
“We work on rare cases,” said Nicole Thornton, a serologist from the UK’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
Experts were able to discover hints of these rare antibodies over the years. However, the rareness of their blood system makes their understanding of it elusive even up to the present.
“It starts off with a patient with a problem that we’re trying to resolve,” added Ms Thornton.
Nicole Thornton and her colleagues, led by NHSBT serologist Canja Karamatic Crew pursue the study. They made an analysation of the blood of 13 patients with suspected antigens.
Through the study, they identified five Er antigens variations, known as Era, Erb, Er3, and two new ones, Er4 and Er5.
The team are sequencing the patients’ genetic codes as they pinpoint the gene that codes for the cell surface proteins. Surprisingly, it was a gene already familiar to medical science called PIEZO1.
According to Ash Toye,
“Piezo proteins are mechanosensory proteins that are used by the red cell to sense when it’s being squeezed.”
Additionally, it is a gene already associated with several known diseases. Mice without this gene commonly die before birth, and those with the gene deleted in their red blood cells end up with overhydrated and fragile blood cells.
Experts then found that the er5 variant is highly prevalent among people from Africa. They then suspect this variant may convey some advantage against malaria.
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