‘P null’: A very rare blood group identified in India

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Dr. Shamee Shastry with a team of doctors from the Kasturba Medical College in Manipal found a rare blood group being called ‘pp’ or ‘p null’ phenotype. There are more than 200 minor blood group antigens that are found very rarely, other than the common ones- A, B and Rh. If 1 out of 1000 people has this kind of antigen, the blood group is considered rare. The person with rare blood group will lack the high-frequency antigen or multiple common antigens.

A patient required urgent blood transfusion and the blood bank of Kasturba Hospital was contacted. It was a tough job as the doctors couldn’t find a compatible blood unit. They had cross-matched over 80 units. The blood bank team then immediately performed extensive immunohematology and also referred some samples to the International Blood group Reference Laboratory (INGRL) in Bristol, UK. After Serological testing, it was confirmed that the samples contained the rare ‘pp’ phenotype.

Pro-vice chancellor of a faculty of health sciences at MAHE, Dr. Poornima Baliga mentioned to Times of India that it was for the first time P blood group null phenotype has been detected in India and she supported the Blood Bank’s initiative to build rare donor registry for that region.

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