Get into Medicine News - Harry Potter-style blood test revealed!


Posted by Get Into Medicine 2012

In J K Rowling's extremely popular books, Harry Potter is the owner of a self-writing diary. As unlikely as it may seem this has now inspired researchers to create a particular type of paper which, instead of responding to ink, responds to blood type.

The new invention from Monash University actually spells out the result of blood samples as A, B, AB or O types, and also spells out whether the blood is Rhesus positive or negative. It works by recognising the protein antigen on the surface of the blood cells.

Medicine news blood test harry potter

Blood can be taken from a patient in the usual way and then added to the paper in order to recieve an accurate result within minutes 

 The paper is filled with antibodies for e.g. type A blood, laid out in a pattern that resembles the letter A. When blood is then placed on these antibodies, for example at a rural testing clinic, it binds to the protein antigens, causing the letter A to 'miraculously' appear!

This provides an almost instantaneous way of recognising a patient's blood type, which could be extremely useful 
in third-world countries where the expense of such equipment is prohibitive or even in emergency situations where access to blood typing equipment is not available.

As an applicant to medical school, think about these issue:
  • Are there any other examples where fiction has inspired medical advances?
  • What are the pros and cons of using the aforementioned system?
  • Why do we have different blood types and what impact does this have on medical treatment?
  • Do you regularly donate blood? Explain why or why not.

Posted by Get into Medicine

Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine