Which is the best blood type

Golden blood - the rarest blood in the world

Corona has brought blood groups back into the public eye. Why? And what are actually there?

07/14/20203 min reading time

Science learns more about the novel coronavirus every day. For example, in a study *, experts found that blood type can influence the severity of a COVID-19 disease. Apparently people with blood group A get respiratory problems more often than patients with blood group AB or B. The risk was even lower with blood group 0. This is probably not due to the blood group itself. The reason is that certain characteristics that have an immune function , are often inherited together with the blood group.

However, blood group characteristics become very important when blood is donated or transferred. But which blood groups are there and how often do they occur? And what role does the so-called golden blood - the rarest blood group in the world - play in this?

This is how blood groups are differentiated

The Golden Blood did not get its name because it looks golden - but because it is very rare. Experts officially speak of a blood group called Rh-zero. But first things first: In order to understand what the Golden Blood is all about, it is important to take a look at the various blood group characteristics and their differences.

The surface of red blood cells consists of various structures, including carbohydrates (sugar) and proteins (proteins) - they are called blood group antigens. Everyone has a certain type of these antigens in several combinations. These characteristics result in different blood groups. They're like a fingerprint. A total of 38 blood type systems are currently known. Two of them are most important for medicine: the AB0 system and the Rhesus system.

The AB0 system distinguishes between four groups: A, B, AB and 0. The letters indicate whether the respective antigen is present on the cell surface. The system is structured logically: Anyone who has blood group A has A antigens on the cell surface. People with blood type AB have both A and B antigens. People with blood group 0 do not have either of these two antigens. In the first six months of life, antibodies - defense mechanisms - are formed against blood group antigens that the body does not know: people with A therefore only form an anti-B, with blood group B it is the other way round. Blood group 0 produces antibodies against A and B.

All of this plays a major role in blood transfusions. When red blood cells are transferred, the recipient must not have antibodies against the donor's red blood cells - they would clump together and possibly trigger a fatal reaction.

In the rhesus blood group system, a distinction is currently made between 55 antigens. The five most important ones are called D, C, c, E and e. The most important clinically is the so-called Rh factor D. This factor occurs in a large part of the population (85 percent). If the blood cells carry it on their surface, one is Rh-positive; if this factor is absent, one is Rh-negative. However, this is a strong simplification of the principle, because these terms actually only refer to the D factor.

People with golden blood are the perfect donors

However, if the blood lacks all 55 characteristics from the Rh system, it is officially referred to as Rh-zero - the rarest blood group in the world. Currently, around 43 people worldwide are known to have this so-called golden blood. In theory, these people would be the perfect donors if the AB0 group is right. But because they are so extremely rare, transmissions of golden blood hardly play a role in everyday medical practice.

What is rare, what is common in Germany?

The AB blood group occurs in just five percent of the population in Germany, making it the rarest. However, blood group A is most common. Here is an overview of the blood group distribution of blood group frequency in Germany:

AB0 and Rh blood groups in GermanyBlood group frequency
Blood group A Rh-positive37 %
Blood group 0 Rh-positive35 %
Blood group B Rh-positive9 %
Blood group A Rh negative6 %
Blood group 0 Rh negative6 %
Blood group AB Rh-positive4 %
Blood group B Rh negative2 %
Blood group AB Rh negative1 %

Source: blood donation service

Blood donations are particularly important in times of corona

Many potential donors shy away from donating blood in corona times. Accordingly, the reserves are currently tighter. Because despite postponed elective operations, many patients still need a blood transfusion, for example after serious accidents and unavoidable interventions.

The risk of being infected with the coronavirus is not increased with a blood donation. This is ensured by the hygiene standards in the blood donation facilities. Therefore, anyone who feels healthy can continue donating blood and plasma. The medical staff routinely check the health of the donors on site. This also includes measuring the temperature or questions about a possible infection. Anyone who has symptoms of an infection is out of the question as a donor anyway.

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* Source: aerzteblatt.de: Gene variants increase the risk of a severe course of COVID-19 (05.06.2020)rme / aerzteblatt.de