Global donor search for rare blood to save little girl’s life

A worldwide search is under way to find specific donors with a rare blood type who could help save a two-year-old girl with an aggressive cancer.

Zainab Mughal, from Tallahassee in south Florida, has neuroblastoma and needs life-saving transfusions and bone marrow transplants.

But finding compatible donors is extremely difficult because she does not have a common antigen called Indian B that most people carry in their blood.

Zainab Mughal
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The child needs life-saving transfusions and bone marrow transplants

Donors must have an A or O blood type, be of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, and have the same missing antigen – or Zainab’s body will reject the blood.

And even within these ethnic groups, fewer than 4% have the genetic variation.

Zainab Mughal
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Her parents’ blood isn’t compatible, says the child’s father Raheel Mughal

A donor’s birth parents must both be 100% Pakistani, Indian or Iranian.

More than 1,000 donations have been tested to match her blood.

But of those, only three donors have her rare blood type – including one in London.

However Zainab will need more blood than they can provide.

Her parents’ blood is not compatible, said the child’s father Raheel Mughal.

Zainab Mughal
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Finding compatible donors is extremely difficult

“We need to find more… it’s a humble request, and I request it from my heart,” added Mr Mughal, who is pleading for help.

“My daughter’s life very much depends on the blood. So, please, donate the blood for my daughter.”

OneBlood, a not-for-profit organisation, is offering to co-ordinate compatibility testing anywhere in the world.

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