Rare blood from Karnataka saves a life in Myanmar


BENGALURU: Two units of the rare Bombay Blood Group, stored in a Davanagere blood bank, has traveled miles to Myanmar via a courier and saved the life of a 34-year-old woman who underwent a heart surgery.

The request had come from Yangon General Hospital in Myanmar. Neither the donor nor the recipient or her kin had to travel any distance. The required units of blood were sent on courier, well preserved at 2-8 degree celsius. It reached the destination in three days.

Bengaluru-based Sankalp India Foundation that runs an exclusive registry of Bombay Blood donors was contacted by a doctor in Myanmar.

BombayBloodGroup.Org, an initiative of  Sankalp India Foundation, is a network set up for effective management of rare blood group units.

Forum tracks donors of Bombay blood group

"The team keeps track of Bombay blood group donors, available units and requests for rare blood groups in India, and even abroad. With no known donors in Myanmar, the only option was to ship the units from India,” said Rajat Agarwal, SIF convenor.

The first step was to identify the availability of two units of Bombay blood with SS Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Institute in Davanagere. The SIF team then coordinated with medical officer in charge of the bank Dr Kavitha GU and principal of the medical college Dr BS Prasad to work out a plan to dispatch these units. The units were picked up from Davanagere on November 27. The samples were sent through an International courier that exports biological samples.

SIF had approached Mumbai-based National Institute of Immuno-Haematology and took permission to send the units abroad.

The shelf life of blood units, when protected as per the safety norms, is 35 days. “The units were collected during a recent blood donation drive. It would have expired in next 10 days. The donors themselves do not know that their blood group is so rare. We have their contact details and they need to be counselled,” Dr Kavitha said.

What's Bombay blood group?

Bombay Blood Group is present in 0.0004% of global human population, belonging to O+ve category. In India, one among 10,000-17,000 persons has this blood group. Individuals with this blood group can only be transfused with similar blood. All groups such as A, B, AB and O have antigen H, which is missing among those with Bombay blood group. It has only antibody H. It was first identified in 1952 in Bombay.

Sankalp Unit