A new set of blood groups discovered!
According to a recent discovery, the “Er” blood group could allow doctors to identify and treat certain rare cases of blood incompatibility. These include cases of incompatibility between pregnant mothers and their fetuses.
Let it be said, such a discovery could considerably revolutionize the field of blood transfusion! We will show you below the essentials to remember on the subject.
A discovery made in sad circumstances
The discovery of this new blood group was made under rather sad circumstances. It all starts with an unborn fetus that showed signs of distress. A medical team was therefore dispatched urgently to intervene by caesarean section well before the pregnancy came to term.
Unfortunately, the baby succumbed to a cerebral hemorrhage despite multiple blood transfusions performed by the medical team. Following this unfortunate event, the doctors then began investigations to better understand the facts.
The various analyzes later revealed that the mother’s blood contained very specific antibodies. A sample was therefore sent to the Bristol laboratory for further analysis. The results from the various tests carried out in this laboratory made it possible to understand that the blood of the mother was extremely rare.
The blood therefore presented a very high risk of incompatibility with that of the baby. Thus, the maternal immune system would have created antibodies against the baby’s blood. These would then have crossed the placental barrier, causing hemolytic disease of the fetus. A disease characterized by the destruction of fetal blood cells by maternal antibodies.
A protein responsible for a serious disease
It should be known that the proteins present on the red blood cells determine the compatibility during blood transfusions. Indeed, if the transfused blood is incompatible with that of the recipient, there will be an agglutination reaction. This is why blood transfusion specialists carefully examine blood samples that have certain specificities.
This has also led to the discovery of nearly a dozen blood group systems over the past decade. In the case of species, the antigen characterizing the atypical blood group of the mother is called Era. Discovered more than 40 years ago, the molecular basis of this antigen had not yet been very well explored.
To tell you the truth, this antigen has two variations, Erb and Er3. Subsequently, the researchers identified new antigens belonging to the same family. These include antigens named Er4 and Er5 which are also extremely rare variants.
And these extremely rare variations (Er4 and Er5) are the cause of hemolytic disease of the newborn. Like the mother previously described, two other patients examined in the research lost their children to this particular antigen. Scientists therefore plan to specify an entirely new blood group called “Er”. The latter will bring together the five variations: Era, Erb, Er3, Er4 and Er5.