What is Haemoglobin D-Punjab found in Andhra Pradesh?

Doctors from the Pathology department at Guntur GGH in Andhra Pradesh have identified the rare haemoglobin D-Punjab (HbDP) variant in two patients in the state.

BySumit Jha

Published May 29, 2024 | 4:00 PMUpdatedMay 29, 2024 | 4:50 PM

What is Haemoglobin D-Punjab found in Andhra Pradesh?

Pathologists at the Guntur Government General Hospital in Andhra Pradesh have identified the rare Haemoglobin D-Punjab (HbDP) variant in two patients from the Palnadu region.

Guntur GGH superintendent Dr Kiran Kumar on Monday, 27 May, said the infected individuals were from Srirampuram Tanda in Takkellapadu mandal.

“This is the first time this rare haemoglobin variant, often found in Punjab, has been detected in this region,” he said.

Dr Kumar explained that the HbDP variant was found in the blood samples of individuals with anaemia in Andhra Pradesh.

He noted that “HbDP can be treated with bone marrow and stem-cell therapy.” He added that efforts were being made to provide cost-effective treatment for this genetic form of anaemia.

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What is Hb D-Punjab?

Haemoglobin D-Punjab (Hb D-Punjab) is one of the haemoglobin variants. It is derived from a point mutation in the beta-globin gene and is prevalent in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, as well as in northern China and North America.

Hb D-Punjab can be inherited in heterozygous with normal haemoglobin A, causing no clinical or haematological alterations. It can also be inherited in homozygous, which is the rarest form, and is commonly not related to clinical symptoms.

Haemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. It’s like a delivery truck bringing oxygen to all your cells so they can work properly.

Hb D-Punjab is a special type of haemoglobin. It is different from the normal kind because of a tiny change in the instructions (genes) that tell your body how to make haemoglobin.

Imagine you have a recipe for baking a cake. If one word in the recipe is changed, you might get a slightly different cake. Hb D-Punjab happens because one small part of the gene (the recipe) is different. This change happens in a gene called the beta-globin gene.

The name D-Punjab comes from the fact that this type of haemoglobin was first found in people from the Punjab region.

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How does it affect your health?

If you have one gene for Hb D-Punjab (heterozygous): You have one normal gene and one Hb D-Punjab gene. Most of the time, you won’t feel any different. You might only find out about it if you have a special blood test.

If you have two genes for Hb D-Punjab (homozygous): You have two Hb D-Punjab genes. This might make you have a mild form of anaemia, which means your body doesn’t have as many red blood cells as usual. This might make you feel a bit tired, but it’s usually not serious.

If you have Hb D-Punjab and another unusual haemoglobin gene (compound heterozygous): This can sometimes cause health problems. For example, if you have Hb D-Punjab and Hb S (the gene for sickle-cell disease), you might have symptoms similar to sickle-cell disease, which can cause pain and other issues.

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  • Blood Tests: Doctors can use special tests to look at your haemoglobin and see if it’s different. This includes:
  • Haemoglobin Electrophoresis: A test that separates different types of haemoglobin.
  • HPLC (High-Performance Liquid Chromatography): Another test that helps identify different types of haemoglobin.
  • Genetic Testing: A test that looks directly at your genes to see if there are any changes.

The treatment

Most people with Hb D-Punjab don’t need any special treatment. If anyone has anaemia or other problems, doctors can help you manage it, but for most, it is not a big deal.

So, Hb D-Punjab is just a different type of haemoglobin that some people have. It’s interesting to learn about because it shows how tiny changes in our genes can make us all a bit different.

(Edited by Majnu Babu).