The News Comes as She Prepares for Bone Marrow Transplant
(Orlando, Florida February 7, 2019) OneBlood, the not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and other parts of the southeast, announced that a fifth compatible blood donor has been found in Australia for two-year-old Zainab, a South Florida child battling cancer who has extremely rare blood.
OneBlood is sharing the news of the fifth donor on Zainab’s birthday – today she turns three years old. But instead of celebrating at home, she is currently in the hospital receiving intensive chemotherapy treatments and is expected to undergo a bone marrow transplant on Monday, February 11th. Blood transfusions will play an important role for her during this time.
OneBlood is working closely with the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP), an organization that searches the world for rare blood donors.
Recently, the ARDP was informed by its international colleagues that a donor had been located in Australia. Arrangements were then made for the unit of blood to be flown to the United States. Upon receiving the unit of blood, the OneBlood Reference team performed the compatibility testing and confirmed the donor is 100% compatible with Zainab.
OneBlood is still actively searching the world to find a total of seven to ten donors to support the child’s long-term blood transfusion needs.
The effort to find compatible blood for Zainab is an all-hands-on-deck effort throughout the blood banking industry. Nearly two dozen blood centers are actively working with OneBlood to find compatible donors. To date, the OneBlood Reference Laboratory team has tested more than 3500 units of blood. Testing continues to take place around-the-clock.
OneBlood says the response by the public to help Zainab has been unprecedented and is bringing heightened awareness to the need for a diverse blood supply. Since making the story public in December, OneBlood has received more than 25,000 emails from people around the world who potentially meet the specific donor criteria needed to be a match for Zainab. The donors are being contacted by OneBlood or by blood centers where the potential donors reside to coordinate their donation.
Zainab’s blood is extraordinarily 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.
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 can be found at www.oneblood.org/zainab.