Washington: Scientists have developed what
they say is the first `dipstick` test which can instantly
determine blood type of a patient or donor.
The inexpensive and portable test involves placing a drop
of blood on a specially treated paper strip which then changes
colours to determine the type of the blood.
Australian scientists, who reported their research in the
American Chemical Society`s journal Analytical Chemistry, said
the new blood testing method could be a boon to health care in
"The test also could be useful in veterinary medicine,
for typing animals` blood in the field," they noted.
The paper test strips, developed by Gil Garnier and
colleagues at the Monash University in Australia, are
impregnated with antibodies to the antigens on red blood cells
that determine blood type.
Using blood samples from volunteers in laboratory tests,
the scientists showed that a drop of blood placed on the strip
caused a colour change that indicated blood type.
The results were as accurate as conventional blood
typing, they claimed.
The scientists explained that determining a patient`s
blood type is critical for successful blood transfusions,
which save millions of lives each year worldwide.
There are four main blood types: A, B, AB, and O. Use of
the wrong blood type in a patient can be fatal.
"Current methods for determining blood type require the
use of sophisticated instruments that are not available in
many poor parts of the world. An inexpensive portable test
could solve that problem," the report said.
"The paper diagnostics manufacturing cost is a few
pennies per test and can promote health in developing
countries," it added.