24 November, 2020

The Red Drought

The Bombay Group, people with a rare genetic defect, see few avenues for help

Jagdessh N.V.
The Red Drought
One in a million. The phrase fits this 'closely knit' group to a T, just that for them it stands more for trauma. The chosen few—referred to as the Bombay Group in medical circles—have a rare blood disorder which makes them completely dependent on one of their own in the event of a crisis.

Bombay Blood, called so because it was discovered by a city medical team in 1952, is blood with a rare genetic disorder where the red cells lack the H antigens present in the common groups. (Antigens foreign to a body will set off the formation of antibodies by its immune system.) Thus, Bombay Group members can't accept blood from any of the common groups in case of an emergency. For, upon contact with such blood, the serum of a Bombay Group person will produce antibodies for anti-H—setting off an adverse reaction.

One of the more unexplained genetic puzzles, it has proved a rather tricky challenge for hospitals in various parts of the world—cropping up among Indians, Japanese, Taiwanese, Caucasians and in recent years on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Those catalogued...


To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

More from B.R. Srikanth

Latest Magazine

November 30, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section