Major Scientific Breakthrough Uses Gut Bacteria to Convert Blood Type A Into Universal Donor Blood
In the first few days, there were no results but when two resulting enzymes were tested simultaneously and added to substances that would start glowing once sugars were removed, they found to their astonishment that the sugars came right off. What’s even better was that the enzymes worked the same magic on the sugars in the red blood cells of type A.
8The magical enzymes consumed and digested the sugars
The magical enzymes in question were sourced from gut bacteria called Flavonifractor Plautii. The research report appeared in the journal Nature Microbiology. The researchers found that small amounts of the enzymes added to Type A blood could then eliminate the sugars and make Type A blood universal. This means a huge step in the medical world if this could be introduced and made viable for use in hospitals and medical centres. Scientists remarked that “The findings are very promising in terms of their practical utility, In the United States, type A blood makes up just under one-third of the supply, meaning the availability of “universal” donor blood could almost double.”
9The new technique could put an end to universal blood shortage
The experts are of the opinion that there is more research needed to make sure every bit of the troublesome antigens are removed from Type A blood. Withers said that what was needed to be sure was that the microbial enzymes did not alter anything else and only affected the antigens because if they did, then that would pose problems. As of now, the research is only focusing on the conversion of blood type A because it is a common type of blood more than that of Type B. According to Withers “Having the ability to transform type A to type O, would broaden our supply of blood and ease these shortages.”
10The main challenge
The main challenge is to find the bacteria for the production of the enzyme. Although guts form mosquitoes and leeches were studied they weren’t a viable option. It was the easily available human gut bacteria that provided the first results. Withers explained that “It was quite likely that the gut bacteria had evolved the capacity to cleave off some of those sugars to derive energy for themselves. So the human gut microbiome seemed like a good place to look,” Withers explained.
Almost 20,000 different DNA samples from gut bacteria found in a stool sample were studied where the enzymes in question cleaved sugars off cells 30 times faster than other previous candidates. It may be a while before the process can be made commercial and available for patients because there is still a lot of testing and research involved to ensure 100% safety.