Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Harry Potter and the Full Blood Prints

an improvement in the field of blood grouping
It is not often that the world of fiction inspires an improvement in the field of blood grouping. The BBC reported this week on an extraordinary development, inspired by the self-writing diary featured in the Harry Potter series of books.

To make sure that a correct assessment has been made of a blood grouping assay, paper impregnated with reagents in the shape of letters is exposed to the blood sample. If a blood sample is group A, the Anti-A which has been impregnated in the shape of the letter reacts with the sample and spells out the letter ‘A’. The same goes for group B, again impregnated with Anti-B in the shape of a ‘B’. Group AB will react with both the Anti-A and the Anti-B, and both letters will show.

To cater for group O, the test paper has Anti-A and Anti-B forming a cross in the centre of a circle. If the sample is not group O, a cross will appear in the circle. If there is neither A nor B present, the circle stays in its original state, showing that the sample is group O.

It is all very ingenious. If it works for the ABO blood groups, it may well be expanded to cover the Rhesus blood groups. Blood grouping may never be the same. The trick is getting the various blood grouping reagents to form letters on the special paper.

I wonder if they have the ability to create a self-writing blog. Now, that really would be progress!

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