4 donors identified in the race to find rarest blood in the world and save a 2-year-old

A global search is underway for blood donors matching a two-year-old with some of the rarest blood in the wo...

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 11:36 AM
Updated: Jan 4, 2019 11:36 AM

A global search is underway for blood donors matching a two-year-old with some of the rarest blood in the world.

Zainab Mughal has been battling cancer, and to survive, she's likely to need blood transfusions from seven to 10 donors. Now four have been found.

Cancer

Diseases and disorders

Health and medical

Only people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent who have the same type of blood as Zainab, whose family hails from Pakistan, are likely to match with her. Less than 4% of people in those populations may match, according to OneBlood, a South Florida nonprofit organization that's aiding in a global search to identify and recruit donors for the young girl.

"We have a zero percent chance of finding compatible blood for this little girl if we look in pretty much any other ethnic group," Frieda Bright, a lab manager with OneBlood, said in a video provided by the organization. "We are searching the world to try to find blood for this little girl."

Last month, OneBlood says they found two donors in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. A fourth donor was located in the UK on Wednesday. The search will continue worldwide until the organization finds three to six more donors, OneBlood said in a statement.

A person's blood type is determined by antigens. Zainab's blood is missing an antigen called Indian B, and her body will attack transfused blood that contains it. So, like Zainab, her donors need to be missing the antigen. In addition, they must have type O or A blood.

Such donors are "extremely rare," said Sandra Nance, senior director of the American Rare Donor Program.

Nance said the program tracks at least 59 types of rare blood and has over 120,000 registered donors. She said not a single donor matching Zainab's blood type was registered in the program's US database when the search for matching donors began in September. Since then, two compatible donors in the US and one in the UK have been found, according to OneBlood.

"Lucky, thank God, they have found three donors. So, so far, she has been going through her normal treatment," her father, Raheel Mughal, said in a video provided by OneBlood. "We will definitely need more blood."

Zainab's family made the video with OneBlood to call attention to her story. They were unavailable to speak with CNN directly.

Zainab's cancer, neuroblastoma, developed in her nerve cells and requires chemotherapy for treatment.

"She's going to need to be completely supported by blood donations in order to survive the cancer treatment in order to kill this cancer," Bright said. "The blood's not going to cure her, but the blood's very, very important to support her while she undergoes the treatment for this particular cancer."

Rare blood occurs in less than one in a thousand people, and extremely rare blood can occur in even fewer people, according the American Rare Donor Program. The program, a collaboration between the American Red Cross and AABB, formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks, is working with OneBlood to secure more rare blood for Zainab.

"Rare blood is the blood that you don't have when you need it no matter what," Nance said. "If a person has been identified as a rare donor and they're called on to give, my hope is that they will donate, if they are able."

In OneBlood video, Mughal made a plea for those who can help. "If you are one of those people from the Middle East, please go out and donate blood for my daughter," he said. "My daughter's life very much depends on the blood."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21315

Reported Deaths: 890
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin7168539
Ramsey243797
Stearns195012
Nobles14692
Anoka121056
Dakota110235
Olmsted56210
Washington52729
Kandiyohi4681
Rice3862
Clay37324
Scott3582
Wright2531
Sherburne2142
Todd2040
Mower1891
Carver1742
Benton1672
Steele1410
Martin1255
Blue Earth1151
St. Louis11113
Freeborn930
Pine850
Winona7815
Carlton730
Nicollet695
Cottonwood640
Otter Tail600
Polk592
Watonwan560
Crow Wing561
Goodhue552
Itasca537
Chisago481
Dodge440
Chippewa420
Meeker420
Le Sueur411
Jackson390
Morrison380
Becker370
Murray350
Lyon340
Douglas290
Isanti280
McLeod270
Waseca250
Unassigned229
Rock210
Mille Lacs171
Fillmore171
Swift160
Wabasha160
Brown122
Beltrami120
Faribault120
Sibley120
Wilkin113
Cass112
Kanabec111
Norman110
Pipestone100
Marshall90
Pennington90
Pope80
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Koochiching60
Yellow Medicine60
Renville50
Mahnomen51
Lincoln50
Clearwater30
Big Stone30
Traverse30
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Redwood30
Grant20
Houston20
Roseau10
Hubbard10
Lake10
Kittson10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17533

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3774108
Woodbury262424
Black Hawk168239
Linn93575
Marshall87011
Dallas85714
Johnson6027
Muscatine54539
Wapello5144
Crawford4862
Tama39423
Scott3379
Louisa3347
Dubuque32316
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2430
Pottawattamie2126
Sioux2070
Washington1808
Wright1220
Allamakee1184
Plymouth1160
Warren1110
Story951
Poweshiek888
Mahaska856
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Des Moines551
Boone550
Cedar461
Guthrie433
Taylor390
Benton371
Jones360
Clarke350
Iowa330
Monroe334
Osceola320
Buchanan320
Shelby310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Hamilton260
Fayette260
Monona240
Madison241
Winneshiek230
Lee220
Cerro Gordo221
Davis200
Grundy190
Lyon190
Harrison190
Jefferson180
Floyd181
Mills160
Cherokee160
Butler150
Delaware150
Keokuk140
Greene130
Sac130
Hardin130
Humboldt130
Ida130
Howard120
Jackson120
Appanoose123
Hancock120
Audubon111
Cass110
Van Buren100
Clay100
Page100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Dickinson90
Franklin80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Emmet70
Union70
Kossuth70
Unassigned60
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Mitchell40
Pocahontas40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur00
Rochester
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Mason City
Few Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 65°
Albert Lea
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Austin
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Charles City
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Storms a brewin'
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Weather 5/25

Image

Honoring Veterans During a Pandemic

Image

Loud Mouth Brass Band spreads cheer to residents in Slattery Park

Image

Finding the silver lining during the pandemic

Image

Will Memorial Day cause a coronavirus spike?

Image

Can you catch Covid-19 from mosquitos?

Image

125 Live Restaurant partnership

Image

Taps in City Park

Image

100 Most traveled days in MN have begun

Image

Parade in the park

Community Events