The World Responds to Help Find Rare Blood for Zainab

The World Responds to Help Find Rare Blood for Zainab

(Orlando, Florida December 7, 2018)   The following is an update regarding OneBlood’s 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.  New video and interviews are available for media by clicking HERE.

  • Since making the story public on Monday, December 3rd. OneBlood has received more than 15,000 emails from people who potentially meet the specific donor criteria needed to be a match for Zainab.
  • OneBlood is in the process of going through all the emails and are providing other blood centers a list of the potential donors that reside in their service area.  The blood centers will then coordinate the donations of the people in their area and arrange for the compatibility testing to be done with OneBlood.
  • Dozens of organizations within OneBlood’s service area have contacted us to host a blood drive for Zainab.  Blood centers around the country are also receiving similar requests.
  • The effort to find compatible blood for Zainab is an all-hands-on-deck effort throughout the blood banking industry.
  • Zainab and her family visited the OneBlood Reference Lab this week and met the team that is leading the worldwide search to find compatible blood for her. The OneBlood Lab team are the people that are testing every unit of blood that comes from donors who are donating for Zainab to see if they are a match. The Reference Lab team rarely gets to meet a patient that they are helping save, so this was a special moment. (Video and sound of the meeting can be found in the Media Tool Kit)
  • The response from the public is unprecedented and we remain hopeful we will find additional compatible donors for Zainab.

Background

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:

  1. Must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent – meaning the donor’s birth parents are both 100% Pakistani, Indian or Iranian 
  2. Must be blood type “O” or “A”  (If a donor does not know their blood type, but meet the requirements in bullet point #1, they should still donate to see if they are a possible match)
  3. IMPORTANT: Donors must inform their phlebotomist prior to their donation that they are donating for Zainab to ensure their donation receives the additional compatibility testing necessary to determine if they are a match for Zainab.
  4. Donation information and locations can be found at www.oneblood.org/zainab.

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.  It’s the first time OneBlood has ever received an international donor for a local patient.  The other two matching donors are from the United States.

While it’s promising the three donors have been located, additional donors are needed.  Zainab will need blood transfusions for the foreseeable future.  To support her long-term blood needs, the search is on to find at least seven to ten compatible donors. 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. 

OneBlood is conducting all compatibility testing of potential donors.  So far, more than 1,000 local donations, as well as donations from other parts of the country have been tested and no additional matches have been identified.

Media Tool Kit Available

  • NEW Media Tool Kit from Friday, December 7, 2018 can be found HERE.
  • Media Tool Kit from Monday, December 3, 2018 can be found HERE.

Generally healthy people age 16 or older who weigh at least 110 pounds can donate blood. Photo ID is required. To learn more about the importance of blood donation and how donors can target the power of their blood type visit oneblood.org. All donors receive a wellness checkup of blood pressure, pulse, temperature and iron count, including a cholesterol screening, plus a surprise gift.

One of three people will need blood in their lifetime. Blood that is donated today will likely be transfused within two to three days. The turn-around is that fast, the need is constant.

 

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