A simple new test might soon be able to identify whether a person’s blood type is A, B, AB or O in just 30 seconds, allowing medical professionals to administer the right blood in emergencies.
A study published in the Science Translational Medicine website last Wednesday (Mar 15), revealed details of the paper strip test, which was developed by a team of Chinese researchers.
Conventional blood tests take between 10 and 20 minutes, not including the time taken to transport the blood sample.
The new method is able to determine the full detail of the blood type in about two minutes.
The test involves a paper strip with antibodies and dye. When it comes into contact with blood, squares of colour develop as the blood reacts with the antibodies. In the case of each antigen, a teal square shows up if it is a present, or a brown square if it is not.
The method was tested on 3,550 human blood samples, and found to be as accurate as conventional tests.
In the study, researchers said the new method could be used in war zones, in remote areas and during emergencies where there are no labs to test patients.
In such situations, Type O blood is typically used as it can safely be given to anyone, but this puts pressure on supplies of O blood.
The researchers, who are from the Third Military Medical University in China, said they are hopeful that their new method could be developed into a "cost-effective and robust" universal blood-grouping platform.