Florida girl in need of rare blood to fight cancer sparks worldwide search

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MIAMI — A worldwide search is on to find blood donors with a rare genetic variation to help save a 2-year-old South Florida girl battling cancer.

Zainab Mughal has neuroblastoma and needs life-saving transfusions. But finding compatible donors is immensely challenging, because she’s missing a common antigen most people carry in their blood, called “Indian B.”

Florida-based OneBlood says the donors must have “A” or “O” type blood and be Pakistani, Indian or Iranian; and that even within these ethnic groups, fewer than 4 percent of people have the genetic variation.

On its website OneBlood says:

Two-year-old Zainab, a south Florida child battling cancer, is in need of extremely rare blood. OneBlood is leading a worldwide search to locate very specific donors who could be a possible match.

You must meet the following criteria to be a potential match for Zainab:

  • MUST be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent – meaning the donor’s birth parents are both 100% Pakistani, Indian or Iranian
  • MUST be blood type “O” or “A”
  • All donations for Zainab must be coordinated with OneBlood in advance to ensure the additional compatibility testing is performed.

Three donors have been found thus far, including a person in England, but Zainab will need more blood than they can provide.

OneBlood is offering to coordinate compatibility testing anywhere in the world.

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