A worldwide search is under way for some extremely rare blood which could help to save a two-year-old girl’s life.
Zainab Mughal, from Miami in Florida, has neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer, which means she needs a series of blood transfusions.
But the search for donors is far more difficult than usual because she is missing an antigen, called Indian B, which most people have in their red blood cells.
It means the search for donors is being confined to a very specific population – people whose two birth parents are both 100% of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian origin.
Even within that population, only 4% of people have the unusual genetic variation, according to OneBlood, the Florida-based charity that is leading the search.
On top of that, donors must have type O or A blood.
It is described by OneBlood as “some of the rarest blood in the world” – and neither of Zainab’s parents were found to be a match.
So far three donors have been found, including one in England, but doctors estimate they will need at least seven to 10 people continuing to contribute throughout the course of Zainab’s treatment.
Raheel Mughal, Zainab’s father, said: “It’s not enough, we need to find more… I encourage everybody to please go out and donate blood.
“It’s a humble request and I request it from my heart. My daughter’s life very much depends on the blood, so please donate the blood for my daughter.”
OneBlood is working with the American Rare Donor Programme in an attempt to find donors in the States and overseas, and will co-ordinate all donations anywhere in the world.
Anyone who thinks they meet the criteria is being encouraged to get in touch via OneBlood’s website.