OneBlood says ideally it will be able to locate donors of these ethnicities who live in the US.
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 also have type O or A blood.
Such donors are “extremely rare,” Sandra Nance, senior director of the American Rare Donor Program, said.
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.”
Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.
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
, 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.”