New Delhi: Researchers have discovered that microbes in the human stomach are capable of converting common blood type A to a universal donor blood type. The microbes in the gut produce two enzymes that could assist in the transformation. The project, which is still under research, could revolutionise blood transfusion and blood donation among patients and donors. 

The scientists stumbled upon the discovery when a team led by Stephen Withers, a chemical biologist at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, decided to look for a better enzyme among human gut bacteria

For a successful blood transfusion, the blood type of the donor must suit-well with that of a patient. It should be noted that people typically have one of the four blood types—A, B, AB, or O. These blood groups are explained on the basis of sugar molecules that appear on the surfaces of their red blood cells. An inaccurate blood transfusion could stimulate the immune system to attack new blood cells and can destroy them. 

‘A' blood group is the second most common blood group. The blood type ‘O’ could be donated to all the patients which makes it a universal type. The conversion of ‘A type blood’ to ‘universal type blood’ can significantly help emergency situations, where nurses and doctors may not have time to determine the patient's blood type. 

More than 230 million major operations and 60 million trauma induced surgeries are performed in the country every year. This generates a high demand for blood from the patients and accident victims. 

The research could be a major advance in the field of blood donation and transfusion.