Karl Landsteiner (1868 to 1943) an Austrian bacteriologist is the discoverer of the blood group system - thus the four blood groups A, B, 0 and AB. He realized very early on that blood is "a very special juice." Landsteiner found that when blood was transferred from one human to another, blood in the blood vessels often clumped and disintegrated, and he published his basic findings in 1901 in the "Wiener Klinischen Wochenschrift" under the title "About Agglutinationserscheinungen normal human blood".
The discovery of blood types
On December 11, 1930, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of human blood types. One year after his discovery of the blood groups (1901) he developed together with the medical examiner Max Richter a method for the determination of blood types from blood spots.
After the end of the First World War, Karl Landsteiner moved because of the economic hardship only to Holland and later to the Rockefeller Institute (New York). There he continued to work on the research of blood groups. Together with the American Alexander Solomon Wiener, he discovered in the blood the Rhesus factor, a blood feature in the blood of rhesus monkeys. Landsteiner was still active in research until his death. He died on June 26, 1943 in New York.
The blood types ...
The blood group is as old as humanity itself. It is inherited by the parents according to the laws of Mendel to the children. At the beginning of human history, there was only the blood group 0. Today, in addition to the blood group 0, still blood group A, B, and AB.
The red blood cells - the erythrocytes - have on their cell surface certain protein molecules that mark the cells, so to speak. These molecules are called antigens and they determine the blood type of the human.
If a person of blood group A receives a blood preparation of blood group B during a transfusion, violent reactions occur, ranging from shock to death.
Today, after careful research and investigation, it is known that people with blood type AB tolerate all other blood types, blood type 0 can be received by all groups. This insight is still important today in blood transfusions and surgery.
... and the rhesus system
In addition to the AB0 system, the Rhesus system (Rh system) is of great importance. 85% of the population has Rhesus Rh positive (ie the antigenic red cell feature Rh is present), 15% are Rh negative (ie the Rh antigen is missing).
Since the discovery of blood types a little over a hundred years ago, medicine has developed rapidly. But it was the discovery of the blood groups that enabled a blood transfusion and improved many surgical techniques. Also in forensic medicine, for example, for the proof of paternity or the identification of blood spots, the discoveries Landsteiners are of elementary importance.