If you ever got into an accident and needed a transfusion, it’s important that you receive the right blood type, or it can lead to serious, potentially fatal, consequences.

Right now, it takes about 10 to 20 minutes to verify someone’s blood type using available methods. To avoid possible mismatches, it’s typical for emergency departments to keep a steady supply of type O, which is known as the universal donor blood. However, this produces extreme demand for this particular blood type.

A more efficient solution has been developed by researchers from the Third Military Medical University in China. Using a paper-based test, the team is able to verify a patient’s blood type without using specialized equipment or training in just 30 seconds. This means hospitals can easily determine specific blood types in life-or-death situations and ease the demand for type O.

The test relies on chemical reactions between blood serum proteins and common dye. Once it is applied on a test strip that contains antibodies that can recognize blood types, the strip changes color—teal if a blood group antigen is present in the sample and brown if not. The method was tested on 3550 samples of human blood and was returned more than 99.9% accurate results.

Apart from finding use in emergency units, the test could be very useful in war zones or other remote areas where there are no labs to test patient blood types.

via New Scientist

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