While a patient's blood type is a critical piece of information for clinicians, it takes awhile to learn that information with current methods. New work published in Science Translational Medicine aims to change that with a new inexpensive, paper-based assay.
When whole blood gets mixed with a dye in the assay, a brown color is produced. The scientists used antibodies to force red blood cells to clump up, separating the plasma from the blood, which turns the dye teal. Various markers on antibodies on red blood cells are what determine blood type. In this new test, a drop of blood can be applied and as it migrates through the paper, it hits various places where different antibodies are present, with a color change to indicate the type. Since type O blood lacks these markers, there's also an indication for when the blood has not reacted with any of the antibodies.
The researchers hope that this test will be a big help to medical personnel working in emergencies or in areas that lack reliable medical resources.