Most of us know that A, B, and O are some of the most common blood types. Then there’s one called the Bombay Blood group which is considered extremely rare. It was discovered in Mumbai in 1952, hence the name. Only four people in a million have this blood group type!
If that was not rare enough, there is Rhnull or as it is called, ‘Golden Blood’
As the name suggests it is one of the rarest blood types in the entire world. Only 43 people in the world to date have been reported to have this blood group type. The active donors the world are only 10!
But what makes Rh-null so rare, and why is it so dangerous to live with? To answer that, we’ll first have to explore why hematologists classify blood types the way they do.
What makes a distinct blood type or blood group?
We all human have red blood cells and these cells have around 342 antigens. Now, these antigens produce antibodies. A person’s blood type is determined on the basis of the presence or absence of these antigens.
Blood antigen proteins play a variety of cellular roles, but recognizing foreign cells in the blood is the most important for this discussion.
Think of antigens as backstage passes to the bloodstream, while our immune system is the doorman. If the immune system recognizes an antigen, it lets the cell pass. If it does not recognize an antigen, it initiates the body’s defense systems and destroys the invader. So, a very aggressive doorman.
How is Rh-null the rarest blood type?
In truth, the eight common blood types are an oversimplification of how blood types actually work. These eight types can be subdivided into many different varieties,” resulting in millions of different blood types, each classified on a multitude of antigens combinations.
Here is where things get tricky. The RhD protein previously mentioned only refers to one of 61 potential proteins in the Rh system. Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system. This not only makes it rare, but this also means it can be accepted by anyone with a rare blood type within the Rh system.
This is why it is considered “golden blood.” It is worth its weight in gold.
Discovery of rarest blood type Rhnull or Golden Blood
In 1974, ten-year-old Thomas went to the University Hospital of Geneva to get a normal checkup.
The doctors were amazed when out of 35 recognized blood group systems. Thomas didn’t seem to have any. Forget negative or positive, he had no Rh antigens to speak of. He should technically not been alive.
Shocked, the doctor sent him to Amsterdam and Paris for further blood tests. It was confirmed. Thomas had Rhnull blood type.
The Dangers of having Rhnull or Golden Blood Type
One thing is definitely true for someone who has the blood group type, They should get ready to be approached by scientists and doctors alike. The reason is sim[ple because they want to study it further and there aren’t enough samples to collect.
Rhnull can be the true universal donor group for anyone who has a rare blood type. Its life-saving capability is enormous.
Those who have it, have the power to save lives as they can donate to anyone. But should something happen to them, they could be in grave danger. And mixing blood types can be lethal. Since there are so few rare blood types.
If there is blood required for a very rare blood type in a different part of the world, you can’t really send it across borders. Take Thomas for example. He actually flies to France to donate due to strict laws. Also, he isn’t paid for it. He does so on his own dime.
He first did it when a baby in Geneva needed it.
Does the rare blood type cause any change in health or personality type?
The answer is no! People with Rhnull blood type can have children and lead a normal family life. They can be mildly anemic, but that’s about it.
But life is different for them. They need to extra careful. Thomas doesn’t travel to countries that don’t have modern medical facilities. He carries a card that confirms his Rhnull status, drives very carefully and most of all, he avoids injuries and accidents.
Apparently, there are 10others who donate. But it’s hard to say how active they are. Goes without saying, it is the most sought after donor blood group.
For that very reason, doctors hold it in high esteem. They use it only for very very extreme and rare cases. Because once used, it is almost impossible to replace. Hence, Golden Blood!