“The Magic Blood” of the Australian saved millions of infantile lives
The Australian, James Harrison (James Harrison) for 60 years, regularly donated blood. Now he is 81 years old, and in his whole life he committed more than a thousand donations. Representatives of the Australian Red Cross believe that Harrison’s blood helped save 2.4 million babies.
Blood Harrison contains a rare antibody – antiresusive immunoglobulin (Rho D immunoglobulin), whose drugs are administered to pregnant women with a high probability of developing Rh-conflict. It occurs in the case when the mother and the child that she is carrying, the Rh factor is different. In this case, the mother’s immune system begins to produce antibodies against the Rh-antigen present in the child. This can lead to serious complications of embryonic development and even stillbirth.
The introduction of an antiresusive immunoglobulin avoids the development of Rhesus-conflict and its consequences: injections of the drug must be done during pregnancy, and also 72 hours after the birth of a Rh-positive child in the Rh-negative mother.
Researchers do not know exactly how the introduction of Rho D immunoglobulin prevents the development of complications in the Rh rhesus conflict. According to one version, the antibodies are located on the surface of red blood cells of the Rh-positive fetus, which are present in the mother’s bloodstream. Thus, immunoglobulins make these cells invisible to the mother’s immune system.
Rarely, the antibodies hit the blood of Harrison during the blood transfusion, which he suffered at the age of 14. Gradually, the concentration of these antibodies increased, while the donor itself was always Rh-negative.
The last time James donated blood on May 11, he had to give up donating because of his solid age. Representatives of the Australian Red Cross explain that this was necessary to preserve the health of one of the most important donors of the country.