And Now for Something Non-Political

The geek in me just loves this kind of story:

A scientific breakthrough could help alleviate blood shortages and reduce the danger of accidental blood-type mismatches, researchers and executives for a U.S. biotech firm said yesterday.

An international team of scientists announced that it has found a way to convert Types A, B, and AB blood into Type O -- the universal donor blood group that can be given to anyone -- and the American company that commissioned the research said such "universally transfusible" blood has the potential to solve problems associated with storing, transporting and transfusing blood.

"The prospects for this are huge ... since blood now must be transfused on a group-specific basis," Douglas L. Clibourn, chief executive officer of ZymeQuest, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The team of Danish, English and French researchers reported this week in the journal Nature Biotechnology that it isolated two bacterial enzymes that break down and remove the sugar molecules (antigens) on the surface of A, AB and B red blood cells that can cause potentially deadly immune reactions in patients transfused with mismatched blood.

Now, is that neat or what?