A team of Japanese researchers has developed artificial blood. Universal and easier to store than natural blood, it could save many lives.
An invention to deal with the blood shortage
Each year, nearly 112.5 million units of blood are collected worldwide. “However, many patients do not have timely access to safe blood,” says WHO. In addition, there are significant disparities and collections at blood transfusion centers vary from country to country. But the solution to the blood shortage could be provided by a team of Japanese researchers.
Scientists at the Tokorozawa City National Defence Medical College have developed artificial blood in the laboratory that they believe could be transfused to patients, regardless of their blood type. The results of this discovery were published in the medical journal Transfusion.
“Universal” artificial blood that is easy to store
To develop their artificial blood, Japanese researchers stored platelets and red blood cells in microscopic bags called liposomes. Developed without antibodies or antigens, this blood is “universal”. In addition, it can be stored at normal temperatures for more than one year.
This artificial blood has already been tested on ten rabbits that have lost a significant amount of blood. At the end of the tests, no side effects, such as coagulation, were reported and six rabbits survived, the same number as if they were natural blood.
This invention is a major breakthrough and will probably save lives. It remains to be seen how this artificial blood can be produced on an industrial scale.