Known as the golden blood, this blood group is only present in about 43 people worldwide.
The golden blood It may sound like a mystical potion, but it’s actually the nickname of Rh-null (RH null), the rarest blood type in the world.
There are up to 8 different combinations that can be made with A, B, O and D + or D-, but of all of them, blood group AB is the one with the lowest proportion in society. According to data from the Stanford School of Medicine, 0.6% of the general population has this kind of blood running through their veins and although the percentages vary according to ethnicity, it never reaches 1%.
However, there is a much stranger case: the one with the golden blood, a rare bird that only has less than fifty people on the planet.
The revelation of this peculiar and very rare blood type was discovered through a man named Thomas, whose case came to light in an article published in the magazine Mosaic in 2014, titled precisely as The man with the golden blood.
Until 1961, when it was first identified in an Australian Aboriginal woman, doctors assumed that embryos with Rh-null sangre they would simply die in utero, as reported from Big Think.
The essential characteristic of this golden blood is that it lacks the most common antigen. Its scientific name is Rhnull (Rh null), and it was discovered in 1961, the year since about 40 cases have been reported.
While it can be extremely dangerous for the few people with this characteristic, this blood type is potentially life-saving for many other lives.
The reason identifying your blood type is so important is that red blood cells have receptors called antigens. If you receive a transfusion, your immune system will only accept antigens that match the specific blood type. If not, your body will attack the blood cells, with disastrous and life-threatening results.
If you had golden blood, receiving a transfusion of a blood type with any Rh antigen would cause your body to reject the blood.
Since 99.9999994% of people have blood with Rh antigens, finding a blood donor for people with golden blood can be next to impossible. This is the reason why people who possess this “golden blood” are encouraged to donate in case they ever need blood, plus other patients with rare blood types could benefit from it.
In fact, they are considered to be “Universal donors for those with generally rare blood types”, according to David Barbour, co-founder of Vivio Life Sciences.
Although they are great donors, people with golden blood they have many problems requiring a transfusion: it is difficult to locate a donor and blood is extremely difficult to transport internationally. Therefore carriers are also encouraged to donate as insurance for themselves.
According to BBC, the golden blood it is acquired in a hereditary way. “Both parents must be carriers of the mutation“, explains Natalia Villarroya, a doctor specializing in Hematology at the National University of Colombia. As a curiosity, their carriers may suffer from mild anemia, as indicated by the US Rare Diseases Information Center.
Regarding the countries in which the people with golden blood, They reside in places as disparate and far from each other as Colombia, Brazil, Japan, Ireland or the United States.
This article was published in Business Insider Spain by Cristina Fernández Esteban.