Did you know that Karl Landsteiner was born today in 1868? He was an Austrian biologist, physician and immunologist. In 1930 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of blood groups or types. Although blood looks the same, there are actually 8 different blood types. Only certain combinations of blood types can be mixed or transferred from one person to another. Receiving the wrong type of blood is a life-threatening event. Blood transfusions save millions of lives each year. Karl Landsteiner’s discovery made these blood transfusions a possibility.
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Karl Landsteiner is known as the father of transfusion medicine. Without his discovery of blood groups blood transfusions would be nearly impossible.
There 8 common blood types, but also many other rare types of blood. A blood type is determined by the mix of antibodies and antigens present in the blood.
A person’s blood type is an inherited trait. Two parents with Group A blood, will not have a child with Group B blood.
In 1909, with Constantin Levaditi and Erwin Popper, Karl Landsteiner discovered the virus responsible for polio.
In 1937, Karl Landsteiner and Alexander S. Wiener identified and discovered the Rhesus factor. The Rhesus factor is very important for pregnant women and treating Rh disease.
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