By NewsLine Staff
OneBlood, the local not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and other parts of the southeast, is leading a worldwide search to find some of the rarest blood in the world. It’s needed to help save two-year-old Zainab, a South Florida girl who is battling neuroblastoma, a very aggressive form of cancer.
Zainab’s blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells. The antigen is called “Indian B” (Inb). For a person to be a possible match for Zainab, they must also be missing the Indian B antigen, or the little girl’s body will reject the blood. Locating people who are missing the Indian B antigen comes down to genetics.
Statistically, the only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent. Of these populations, less than 4 percent of the people are actually missing the Indian B antigen.
To be a match for Zainab a donor must meet the following criteria:
- Must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent – meaning the donor’s birth parents are both 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian
- Must be blood type “O” or “A”
- All donations for Zainab must be coordinated with OneBlood in advance to ensure the additional compatibility testing is performed. Visit www.oneblood.org/zainab for donation information.
OneBlood is working closely with other blood centers and the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP), an organization that searches the world for rare blood donors. So far, three matching donors have been located, including a donor that ARDP located in the United Kingdom, near London. It’s the first time OneBlood has ever received an international donor for a local patient. The other two matching donors are from the United States.
While it’s promising the three donors have been located, additional donors are needed. Zainab will need blood transfusions for the foreseeable future. To support her long-term blood needs, the search is on to find at least seven to 10 compatible donors. OneBlood is sharing Zainab’s story in the hopes more people who meet the specific donor criteria will come forward to donate for the little girl.
OneBlood is conducting all compatibility testing of potential donors. So far, more than 1,000 local donations, as well as donations from other parts of the country have been tested and no additional matches have been identified.