did you know that there are 380 blood groups?

2024-01-29 06:50:52

The French Blood Establishment is launching the 3rd edition of rare blood awareness week on Monday. Of the 380 existing blood groups, 250 are identified as rare.

Published on 01/29/2024 07:50

Reading time: 2 min Illustrative photo. (GAELLE FONTENIT / RADIO FRANCE)

We speak of a “rare blood group” when fewer than four people out of 1,000 have it. In reality, beyond the classic classification of groups A, B and O, with a positive or negative Rhesus, there are a total of 380 different blood groups. What differentiates them is that in addition to belonging to one of the broad categories that we know, the red blood cells of these groups have, on their surface, combinations of substances called antigens which are rarer than others. ‘others. Worldwide, 250 blood groups out of 380 are considered rare. They are called, for example, the groups YT, MNS, Bombay, Lewis, Duffy or even Diego.

To know that you are part of rare blood groups, you need genetic analyzes. This rarity is generally discovered by chance, during an assessment before a transfusion, during pregnancy monitoring or during a donation. And in practice, the probability of having rare blood depends on where in the world you live. Being rhesus negative in China, for example, means having a rare blood group, whereas in Europe this is the case for 15% of the population.

One in 10 rare bloods are informed

But in Europe, your blood type is more likely to be rare if you have ancestors from the Caribbean, Africa or the Indian Ocean because the diversity of blood types reflects man’s adaptation to his environment and population movements in history. According to the French blood establishment, there are between 700,000 and 1 million people in France who have rare blood, but only 10% of them know it.

Raising awareness among the general public of the existence of these rare blood groups is important so that in the event of a transfusion, the people concerned can receive blood as close as possible to their group. A rare blood group bank exists in France, it allows you to store bags of these rare bloods, which are then used throughout the country as needed. Frozen at minus 80 degrees, these bags can be stored for up to 30 years. And it is crucial to be able to maintain this reserve, hence this awareness campaign, with a call for donors of all origins, so that the greatest possible diversity of blood groups can be available.

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