THE clock is ticking for a family desperately searching the globe for a donor to save their baby boy's life.

Andrew and Judy Kim's son Alastair was diagnosed with the ultra-rare genetic disease chronic granulomatous disorder (CGD) in February.

The life-threatening condition wipes out his immune system meaning even the tiniest infections leave him seriously ill.

Doctors are starting the tot, who is almost two, on a genetic therapy treatment which will help him fight infections, but that is only expected to last for about six months.

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Mr Kim, 36, a medical research engineer who works in hospitals across the country, said: "In CGD there has never been a case yet where a patient was cured using gene therapy.

"There have been cases where they’ve got better for a few months then relapsed."

His only hope of a permanent cure lies in a bone marrow stem cell donor but it will need to be a 90 per cent genetic match.

Mr and Mrs Kim, who live near Longworth with their other son Micah, five, have already searched the international register of more than four million donors but come up empty-handed.

The difficulty lies in the fact both are of Korean descent so a matching donor will most likely be of Korean, Japanese or Chinese heritage. The number of East Asians on international donor registers is tiny.

Of the 617,000 registered donors in the UK, just 0.5 per cent are East Asian.

The couple, who moved to Oxford from their native US eight years ago, are now appealing for people around the world – especially East Asians – to order a free kit through a website they have set up and take a two-minute home test to see if they could help.

Mr Kim said: "Ally loves kicking the football, dancing, and trying to jump – though he can’t actually get off the ground.

"He has been in hospital the longest of anyone on his ward now, and doctors have put him at the top of the list for a transplant. But first he needs a match.

"The doctors wanted him to get stronger before having a transplant but his condition has been getting worse, so now he needs one as urgently as possible."

Alastair has had minor but persistent infections since he was born in September 2014.

He spent the first year-and-a-half of his life going in and out of hospital but CGD is so rare, doctors never thought to test him for it.

Eventually one doctor at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford put the pieces of the jigsaw together and decided to test Alastair for the condition.

Mr Kim recalled: "They had only seen two cases of CGD in the last 10 years, so it hadn't even registered as a possibility before that.

"I don't know who came up with the idea to look for it but it was brilliant."

The test came back positive and Alastair has been in hospital since. He is now at the Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London.

Mrs Kim, a scientist and lecturer at Oxford University and Diamond Light Source in Harwell, has been living in hospital with Alastair since he was admitted.

The couple desperately want to find a matching donor for Alastair, but also want to increase the number of East Asians on the donor register.

Mr Kim added: "Ten seconds of your life could save his life.

"There’s a huge community of Asian people out there that needs donors but there’s only a miniscule donor pool.

"I think there’s a fear in the Asian community about how you handle your body and giving away parts of yourself, and that’s a big barrier to overcome – but in reality, donating stem cells is a small act that can have a tremendous effect on someone else."

The couple have already helped keep Alastair fighting by running several blood drives at Mrs Kim's office at Oxford University and at Diamond in Harwell.

More than 90 people came forward and of those, five were able to donate blood that helped Alastair fight infections.

Mr Kim said: "We are extremely grateful for all those involved in the blood drive, and ask for everyone's continued support."