On 22nd August 2008 an accident victim was brought to hospital with multiple bone fractures. He was immediately admitted in ICU. Within a period of 2-3 days he was stable enough to be operated to make sure that his bones are aligned. Still doctors could not operate him because of unavailability of blood. No it was not any common blood group, it was Bombay blood group which was unavailable.
About Bombay Blood Group
Most of us are not aware about such blood group’s existence on this planet. Bombay blood group is named so because the first case was found in Bombay (now Mumbai), the financial capital of India. This group is commonly mistaken as “O” group and many times not identified at all because of lack of necessary technology in blood banks. Bombay blood group differs from O blood group by lacking H antigen on RBCs. It could be Rh positive or Rh negative.It’s one of the rarest blood groups in India as well as world. 1 in every 17600 people in India or 1 in every 25000 people in the world has this blood group. We Indian are lucky as the frequency is more here with respect to the world. It is believed that this blood group resulted from gene mutation in Indian population and slowly was spread all over the world. City like Mumbai has got only 35-40 blood donors with this blood group.  Totally 179 people are known to have Bombay Blood group in India. 
What is Bombay Blood Group?
To understand Bombay Blood Group we must understand the details of blood grouping. When we say someone has blood group A, it means that the person has antigen of type 'A' and antibody of type 'B' in his/her blood. People with AB have both antigen A and B in their blood and no antibodies. People with O blood group have only antibodies A and B and no antigens. However what is not generally known is that all these groups have an antigen H on in the blood as well. There are very few people who do not have this antigen H also in their blood. Instead they have antibody H because of which no other blood can be given to them.
|Bombay Blood Group||-||A,B,H|
Why are Bombay group people generally tested as O?
Most places where blood test is done, the presence and absence of AB and Rh alone is tested in the blood. Since Bombay group does not have neither A nor B antigens, it is usually read as O blood group. It is only when a specific test for H antigen is done that one can differentiate between O and Bombay Blood group.
What to do if you need Bombay Blood Group
What should be done when anyone of us get to know that Bombay blood group in required for an acquaintance? Do we just let it go and leave the person to his/her fate or can we really do something here?
We can definitely start a search for Bombay blood group by following these steps.
- Get all the family members and relatives of the patients tested for the blood group. It’s very likely that one or the other relative has this group.
- Put up a request for the requirement in the leading newspapers. Please don’t circulate message and mails as it will only contribute to spam folder.
- Be open to get blood from other cities.
- The most effective way is visiting all blood banks of the city as well as neighbouring big cities. Usually blood banks have a huge list of donors who had donated in the blood bank till date. Out of this huge list 1 or 2 may be Bombay blood group.
- Few leading Hospital like King Edward Memorial Hospital (Contact- 022-2413 6051), Mumbai and few online blood donors database like www.lionsbloodline.com has registered donors who can be contacted during emergency.
- Any if nothing works contact us on +91-9880132850. We will do our best. You can also mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What if you have Bombay Blood Group?
To certain extent it is possible to avoid such emergency to arise. We should all know our own blood group and in case it’s found to be O group make sure it’s not Bombay blood group. One can do this by getting their blood grouping done in known standard hospital or blood bank. A person with this rare group should always be cautious and alert. And they should also register themselves with leading blood banks or hospital so that in case of emergency they can be contacted. It has also been proposed to preserve few units of such group in frozen state (cryopreservation) for acute emergency.  All finally one thing which all of us can do at any point in time is to spread more and more awareness about this among common people.
- hh antigen system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hh_antigen_system
- Bombay phenotype in Orissa: What could we make out of it? : http://www.ijhg.com/article.asp?issn=0971-6866;year=2007;volume=13;issue...
- Understanding the Bombay blood group : http://www.helium.com/items/891957-understanding-the-bombay-blood-group
- ONLY 40 IDENTIFIED IN CITY Finding this blood group is a Herculean task ....Rajiv Sharma I TNN : http://www.karmayog.org/bloodbanksnews/bloodbanksnews_13875.htm
- Nationwide hunt for Bombay Blood Group donor: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?page=article§id=2&conte...
- Detection of a Rare Blood Group “Bombay (Oh) Phenotype” Among the Kutia Kondh Primitive Tribe of Orissa, India: http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/IJHG/IJHG-05-0-000-000-2005-Web...
- Wanted: Bombay blood group: http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1008936
- Rare blood group detected in Salem : http://www.hinduonnet.com/2002/02/16/stories/2002021606510400.htm
• OKADUNNADU: A Telugu movie based on Bombay blood group requirement by an underworld Don.