Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

OneBlood searches for extremely rare blood to save two-year-old Florida girl

OneBlood searches for extremely rare blood to save two-year-old Florida girl

A toddler in Florida has spurred a hunt for compatible blood donors, and the requirements are incredibly rigid.

Zainab Mughal, from South Florida, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a cancer in the nerve cells - and needs life-saving blood transfusions as she undergoes chemotherapy.

Donors must have an A or O blood type, be of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, and have the same missing antigen - or Zainab's body will reject the blood.

Zainab is being treated at the Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood and she is required to undergo multiple blood transfusions in the future.

Raheel Mughal, Zainab's father said, "My daughter, she is still a long way away from being ideal".

Neuroblastoma most often occurs in infants and young children, and accounts for about 6 percent of all cancers in children. A donor's blood would only be a match for Zainab if they, too, are missing the Indian B antigen, according to OneBlood.

The problem is that Zainab has a rare blood type. "We are searching the world to try to find blood for this little girl". Even within these ethnic groups, fewer than four percent of people have the genetic variation.

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But statistically speaking, very few people have Indian B antigen missing from their blood, which makes finding a match virtually hard if not impossible.

So far three donors have been found, including one in England, but doctors estimate they will need at least seven to 10 people continuing to contribute throughout the course of Zainab's treatment.

The organization said statistics show the only people who are likely to be a match for her are people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent.

Must coordinate all donations for Zainab with OneBlood in advance, to ensure the additional compatibility testing is performed.

Around 800 children in the United States are diagnosed each year with the disease and most are diagnosed when they are younger than five. As of OneBlood's December 3 release, more than 1,000 donors have been tested and three have been identified.

"What you're doing to save a human life, my daughter's life, is unbelievable", shared Mughal.

Florida-based OneBlood, a nonprofit blood center, has now been conducting an worldwide search to find compatible blood donors.

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