Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Extremely rare blood needed to save 2-year-old South Florida girl

Worldwide Donor Hunt to Help Girl with Rare Blood Type In pursuit of ‘rare blood type: Global campaign underway for two-year-old Muslim girl from Miami
Melissa Porter | 05 December, 2018, 01:29

A worldwide search is underway to find some of the rarest blood in the world to help a 2-year-old Florida girl battling cancer.

The tumor inside Zainab Mughal's belly may have been growing for 10 months without anyone knowing.

According to OneBlood, Zainab's blood is extremely rare because it is missing an antigen, called "Indian B", that most people commonly carry in their red blood cells.

OneBlood says people who are of Indian, Pakistani or Iranian descent are statistically the only people to be a possible donor match for Zainab, and of those groups, less than 4 percent are missing the Indian B antigen.

Zainab Mughal, 2, is missing a common Indian-B antigen, meaning she'll need a rare donor who is also missing that antigen.

Zainab's initial diagnosis of high-risk Neuroblastoma came a few weeks ago.

"We now have to provide more specialty matched blood for this child", said Frieda Bright, the reference laboratory manager for OneBlood, in a video produced by the organization.

According to St Jude Children's Research Hospital, neuroblastoma accounts for seven to 10 percent of childhood cancers.

The cancer can spread to tissues beyond the original site, including bone marrow, bone, lymph nodes, liver and skin.

Raheel Mughal, Zainab's father said, "My daughter, she is still a long way away from being ideal". Around 800 new cases are diagnosed in the USA every year.

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

To be a donor, a person must have blood type A or O and they must be missing the same antigen - otherwise her body will reject the blood.

The only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, OneBlood said.

Complicating the matter: She has a rare blood type and finding a match for life-saving transfusions is a huge challenge.

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

Donors also must coordinate with OneBlood, so their sample is tested for compatibility.