O my! Paper strip test determines blood type in just 30 seconds
A, B, AB or O: Do you know which blood type you are? A quick and easy test might soon be able to tell you and allow hospitals to rapidly administer the right blood in an emergency.
Your blood type is essential information if you ever need a blood transfusion, because mismatched blood can send the immune system into meltdown, and sometimes lead to death. But it can take 10 or 20 minutes to verify someone’s blood type by conventional methods – not including the time it takes to transport the blood to a lab.
For this reason, most emergency departments stock only type O blood, which can safely be given to anyone because it lacks the antigens that trigger immune reactions. However, this places pressure on supplies of O blood. “The demand is already extremely high and it’s getting higher,” says Janet Wong at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, which collects blood donations in Australia.
Now Hong Zhang at the Third Military Medical University in China and his colleagues have developed a paper-based test that could be quickly performed at a patient’s bedside without specialised training or equipment. It would allow hospitals to give patients matching blood – whether it be A, B, AB or O, and make it more viable to keep supplies of more blood types....