‘UNIQUE’ OMANI BLOOD DISORDERS UNDER GLOBAL RESEARCH MICROSCOPE
A study has revealed many Omanis have alpha thalassemia and that 5 per cent of them have sickle cell anaemia
Many Omanis carry a rare blood disorder that could reduce the production of haemoglobin in the body and cause paleness, weakness, fatigue, and more serious complications, although not all carriers develop symptoms, a researcher in the Sultanate has revealed.
Dr Halima Al Balushi, a researcher and senior specialist at Oman’s Royal Hospital, conducted a study which reveals that a large percentage of Omanis have alpha thalassaemia and that five per cent have sickle cell anaemia.
Dr Al Balushi, discussing her research with the Ministry of Higher Education, added that Omanis also have a rare form of sickle cell disease which is being investigated by medical researchers all over the world. The condition is so rare it has been labeled “Oman type sickle cell disorder” and added that around 70 people in the Sultanate currently suffer from the condition.
Al Balushi, in an interview with the Ministry of Health, added: “Genetic blood disorders are prevalent in the Sultanate, which is why studies such as these can identify blood cells, as well as treatment methods. The study used inexpensive medications that proved effective, and also tested genetic treatments to satisfying results.”
“Thankfully, the Sultanate has an abundance of research labs that can aid in producing medications, and the University of Cambridge has shown interest in studying genetic blood disorders. This is also due to the grants of His Majesty, who has shown interest in scientific research,” she added.
While alpha thalassaemia is a blood disorder that reduces the production of haemoglobin, thus impacting oxygen flow, Al Balushi studied samples of blood that contained the disorder known as Haemoglobin (Hb) S-Oman, also called Omani Sickle Cell Anaemia, which distorts the shape of red blood cells into a shape similar to that of a hat, and can cause extreme cases of pain.