(Orlando, Florida December 3, 2018) OneBlood, the local not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and other parts of the southeast, is leading a worldwide search to find some of the rarest blood in the world. It’s needed to help save two-year-old Zainab, a South Florida girl who is battling neuroblastoma, a very aggressive form of cancer.
Zainab’s blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells. The antigen is called “Indian B” (Inb). For a person to be a possible match for Zainab, they must also be missing the Indian B antigen, or the little girl's body will reject the blood. Locating people who are missing the Indian B antigen comes down to genetics.
Statistically, the only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent. Of these populations, less than 4% of the people are actually missing the Indian B antigen.
To be a match for Zainab a donor must meet the following criteria:
- Must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent – meaning the donor’s birth parents are both 100% Pakistani, Indian or Iranian
- Must be blood type “O” or “A”
American Rare Donor Program
OneBlood is working closely with other blood centers and the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP), an organization that searches the world for rare blood donors. So far, three matching donors have been located, including a donor that ARDP located in the United Kingdom, near London. The other two matching donors are from the United States.
While it’s promising the three donors have been located, additional donors are needed to support the child’s long-term blood needs. OneBlood is sharing Zainab’s story in the hopes more people who meet the specific donor criteria will come forward to donate for the little girl.
How Your Blood Center Can Help
- This unique case is an opportunity for blood centers to host blood drives with the Iranian, Pakistani and Indian communities in their area in an effort to find compatible donors for the child.
- OneBlood is conducting all compatibility testing of potential donors.
- If a blood center hosts a blood drive that is specifically for Zainab, they need to notify OneBlood in advance to arrange for a small segment sample of the unit(s) to be sent to the OneBlood Reference Laboratory for compatibility testing.
- Upon receiving the segments, OneBlood will judicially screen the segments and notify the collecting blood center of the results in a timely manner.
- The OneBlood Reference Lab can be reached via email at RareDonor@oneblood.org.
- If the OneBlood Reference Lab is not notified then the units will not receive the necessary compatibility testing to determine if there is a potential match.
- Donors cannot be tested prior to donating. Samples are only tested by OneBlood after a successful donation.
- Blood centers should work through their in-house processes to inform their Collections team of this story and establish how to proceed should they be contacted by donors or donor groups wanting to donate for Zainab.
- OneBlood has created a special landing page at www.oneblood.org that contains all the necessary information regarding donations for Zainab. Click here to visit the website.
- We encourage blood centers to share the recorded version of OneBlood’s Facebook Live show to help get the word out about the specific donors needed to help Zainab. Click here to view and share OneBlood’s Facebook Live show.
- Should your blood center be contacted by a member of the media regarding this story please contact Susan Forbes, OneBlood’s Vice President of Marketing & Communications to coordinate a unified response. Susan can be reached directly at 407.375.8954 or via email at Susan.Forbes@oneblood.org.