Not all of us are inclined towards donating blood. Some dread the thought of drawing blood from one’s body while some fear the needle or syringe getting underneath the skin. But there are many noble men and women in the world who on a regular basis donate blood that can used by others in time of need. While it is noble and Godly in a way, not all of them get famous or recognized globally for their act of blood donation. At least not the way Thomas has been recognized. That’s because he is no ordinary human. He is the man with the ‘ Golden blood’. Thomas, from Switzerland, has the rarest blood type in the planet called Rhnull.

The bloodtype is found only in less than 50 people in the world of which less than 10 are known to be donors. The uniqueness of the Rhnull blood group is that it can be donated to anyone. It is the ultimate universal blood as this blood can be transfused to anyone in need but extremely dangerous for the carrier/ person as he/she cannot receive any other but Rhnull type in time of need.

Thomas when he figured out at a young age that he was living with this blood type, he was encouraged to donate blood for his own future needs. So Thomas makes a trip twice a year to France and donates his blood. Throughout his life Thomas has saved countless lives but living with this blood type has restricted his lifestyle to a great extent. He doesn’t travel to countries where his blood type is not available and carries a tag that assures that he has the Rh null blood group. For further details on Thomas please refer to this Report from Mosaic

Now this brings us to the main question as to what is so rare or different about this blood type. To understand this better lets first go through the basic construct of human blood.

Human blood is composed of 4 major elements:

Red Blood Cells

The RBCs play the crucial role of transporting oxygen to the various organs of the body

White Blood cells

The WBCs play the role of protectors defending us against the pathogens


Platelets help with blood clots


Plasma constitutes the liquid part that help carry the minerals and hormones

You can view the video in the link below to understand the composition of blood better: What is the Composition of Blood

Up until early 20th century it was not discovered that there are several blood types. There were quite the amount of loss of lives because of this ignorance. It was Karl Landsteinder from Austria who first discovered blood types and was awarded the Nobel Prize for the same.

It is the RBC that determines the blood types. The red blood cells are covered by different proteins called the Antigens. There are 5 main antigens A, B, AB, O and D. While the first four form the blood type as we know, it is D anitigen also called the Rh that gives the + or – in the blood group. If the person contains all the proteins in the D antigen group he will be deemed +ve and -Ve if he doesn’t possess all. Thus we end up having 8 main classifications of blood types.

While this is only the main classification the blood types can be further divided into further subdivisions. In fact the international Society of blood transfusion (ISBT) recognizes 35 different blood types.

In reality even 35 is a small number as there are millions of combinations of blood types that can be arrived based on the presence or absence of antigens within the ABO and D group. When coming to our blood type for today, Rh null, the 50 odd humans with the bloodgroup lack all of the 61 possible proteins present in the D antigen group. Its extremely rare that this happens and it is because of this reason that this blood can be transfused to any person with a rare group within the D. Hence people like Thomas need to be extremely cautious that they don’t meet with an accident or injury in countries where the blood bank doesn’t have this blood type.

Why does it have to be so complicated. Can a person not donate enough blood during lifetime to have it saved. The answer to that is both yes and No. Yes, the person can save blood for future needs but no its not easy to transport blood whenever and wherever needed.

The World health organization lists the norms and steps in blood transport safety and besides that transporting blood across nation’s borders is a lengthy procedure and that is something one does not want to go through in the time of need. Thus people born with blood types like Rh null should be very cautious.

But scientists are trying to figure out alternate ways. There are researches going on to enable transfusion of animal blood into humans. To synthetically alter blood drawn from animals and make them fit for human transfusion so that people will very rare blood types don’t have to live with a constant inner fear.

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