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Learning English - Words in the News
 
 
Blood type switch
 
Blood bag

Scientists have discovered a way by which they can convert A, B and AB-type blood groups into O-type blood. The technique could lead to a dramatic increase in the worldwide stocks of blood available for transfusion. This report from Neil Bowdler:

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O-type blood can be transfused safely into humans of any blood-type without medical risk - the problem is that it's not always readily available for those who desperately need blood. Now an international team of scientists believe they have found a way to convert A, B and AB blood types into O-type, making it safe to use in transfusions. Professor Martin Olsson of Lund University Hospital in Sweden is one of the report's authors.

PROFESSOR OLSSON: That's what we're looking at - to get a unified blood supply that is not fragmented due to the different groups. The dream scenario as I see it is that all those blood units drawn from blood donors would be converted if they're not group-O from the start, so to speak. That is approximately half of all blood units.

Professor Olssen says the conversion technique would be cost-effective and would take about an hour at room temperatures. The process promises not only to increase the stock of blood available for transfusions but could also prevent the accidental transfusion of the wrong blood group into patients. Early-stage clinical trials are now underway.

Neil Bowdler, BBC

Listen to the words

transfused
(blood is) taken from the veins of one person and put into the veins of another person

convert
change or modify something so that it can serve a different purpose

unified
operating as a single unit; united

fragmented
existing or functioning as though broken into separate parts

The dream scenario
the best possible situation or result

drawn
taken from; supplied by

blood donors
people who give some of their own blood to be used to help other people

cost-effective
providing the best possible results for the money that has been spent

stock
a supply of something that has been saved for future use

clinical
controlled scientific tests of drugs or medical equipment or procedures that are done to make sure they are safe and effective


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