A 60-year-old medical mystery has been solved, and experts say it will make blood transfusions safer for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
For half a century, scientists have been trying to understand why some patients reject transfused blood, leading to fatalities. But recently researchers found a rare type of blood called Vel-negative. If those carriers receive a Vel-positive blood transfusion, it could easily result in kidney failure and death. Now patients can be screened for this rare blood type and find lifesaving blood for even the rarest of types.
Dr. Bryan Ballif, a UVM professor, has been front and center on this discovery.
"This could be a lifesaving event for that particular individual because you would be able to have access to blood that you need, and you wouldn't reject the vast majority of the blood that is available-- but you really need the rare blood," Ballif said.
The newly discovered blood type is rare, but he says that 1 in 2,500 people of European descent are Vel-negative.
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