Scientists say enzyme found in human body can transform blood types

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Scientists at the University of British Columbia say they have discovered a new way to turn type A blood into type O, which could be a potential solution to future blood supply shortages.

There are four types of blood, and unlike types A, B and AB, Type O blood is the universal blood donor and can be given to anyone.

Types A, B, and AB reportedly contain antigens on their surfaces that make them only able to be donated to people with those blood types.  Scientists say that stripping the blood types of these antigens before a transfusion could turn all blood types into universal donors.

Scientists told Live Science that their recent study shows that an enzyme produced by bacteria in the human gut can remove the Type A and B antigens from red blood cells and quickly transform Type A blood into Type O blood.

They say if this new technique is proven safe it could be significantly beneficial to hospitals because it would be possible to alter blood on a “bag-by-bag basis.”

Live Science says that these findings are still being researched and have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.