The term “golden blood” is sometimes used to refer to people with the Rh null blood type. And for good reason, the latter make up an exclusive circle of around fifty people with the rarest blood type in the world. Its rarity means Rh null donations are incredibly rare when in need of a blood transfusion. What are the other features?
What are the characteristics of the group of people with “golden blood”?
The Rh null blood type was first discovered in an Australian Aboriginal woman in 1961. They were alerted to the fact that not all of the antigens in her blood system had the Rh protein on their surface. She was also missing from the erythrocyte membrane of his blood. In other words, this blood does not contain any of the 61 antigens that are listed.
Since then, there are fewer than 50 individuals worldwide known to have Rh null blood for more than 60 years after its discovery. People who have the Rh null blood group in common do not have Rh antigens. The Rh null blood group is therefore different in that it does not have Rh proteins on red blood cells.
On the other hand, Rh-null people are prone to experiencing symptoms of Rh incompatibility during pregnancy. In this specific case, one of the most fatal scenarios occurs. The pregnant woman who carries the “golden blood” whose baby is Rh-positive is likely to produce many potentially dangerous antibodies. They will attack the fetus and inevitably cause miscarriage.
How does the Rh null group affect carriers?
Rh null people often experience a drop in hemoglobin. In fact, from birth, they are confronted with forms of severe or moderate anemia; which greatly reduces their red blood cell count. Concretely, this results in more common symptoms such as fatigue or paleness of the skin.
Finally, the Rh null group increases the chances of suffering from severe acute hemolysis also called hemolytic crisis. A distinction is often made between hereditary and acquired hemolytic anemias. This form is hereditary since it results directly from the type of blood acquired. There are thus cases of infection or sepsis in Rh null people. They are often the cause of massive hemolysis; subsequent kidney failure which can cause other complications such as fever, kidney failure, muscle or abdominal pain, body aches and fevers.
Rh null, a treasure with contradictory properties
The main ‘hiccup’ with ‘golden blood’ holders is that there are almost no Rh null donors in the world. This is the main reason why blood with zero Rh factor is considered the most valuable in the world and therefore ‘gold’.
Rh null people can only be transfused with blood from individuals with the same phenotype as them. Even if they receive Rh negative blood, the presence of other Rh antigens in the red blood cells is reason enough to trigger a severe immune response. Therefore, these people store their blood and freeze it with their own blood in case of a possible blood transfusion emergency.
On the other hand, due to the lack of antigens, the owner of Rh null blood can play the role of the universal donor. This particular characteristic means that this type of blood can be transfused to anyone in need without risk of complications. It would of course be easier if this type of blood were not particularly difficult to find.