by Nertila-Rebecca Marta
Looking around us, it is easy to see that people have many different characteristics, whether it be skin colour, hair colour, height or weight. What is less obvious is a person’s blood type. The most common blood types are based on the AB0 blood system. However, there is a small percentage of the global population that belongs to rare blood groups . These people face a struggle when they need blood, as they have to find someone else with the exact same blood type, and these people can be few and far between.
Rare blood types and ethnicity
Scientifically a rare blood group is defined as “the absence of a high prevalence antigen or the absence of several antigens within a single blood group system”. Statistically it means that one person in 1,000 inherits a rare blood type. Rare blood types are unique and are often related to specific ethnic groups.
Some rare blood types by ethnic groups
Examples of the rarest blood types
Focusing more in India, one of the most populated countries of the world, we would like to refer two of the rarest blood types, Bombay and INRA.
This blood group was discovered in Bombay in 1952, and is also known as “Mumbai blood group”. The main characteristic of people who have Bombay blood group is that they do not express the H antigen, which is present in blood group 0. As a consequence, they are unable to make A or B antigens on their red blood cells. This fact means that an individual who has the Bombay phenotype can only receive blood from another Bombay blood person, and not from a typical AB0 person. But, they are able to donate to any member of AB0 blood group. It is estimated that 1 in 10,000 Indians carry the Bombay blood type.
On 3rd September of 2016, a new blood group was found in Surat, Gujarat, India. This blood group is called “INRA”, India and RA denoting the initials of the first patient found. It is absolutely unique and the blood samples were investigated and confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a new blood group. Until now only 7 people in the world have been reported to have this blood type. It is important to mention that the unique person with this blood group could neither donate blood to anyone nor accept blood of any other person. Scientists are working on discovering more information about it.
Somebody who carries a rare blood type has many reasons to feel stressed and worried, as there is always a doubt that there is enough reserved blood for him or her. We, at BloodLink, believe that blood is valuable and should be available to all. Therefore we feel that the number of available blood donors, from all ethnic groups, should increase.
No matter where you are from, it is always important to donate blood and save someone´s else life. Go to our Step by Step Guide to Blood Donation to read more.