May 15, 2007 | An artificial blood has been developed by scientists that could be a substitute for real blood in the event of an emergency.
The blood is made from plastic, so it is lightweight and easy to store and transport. It can be stored as a thick paste-like substance inside of the bags normally used for real blood. Then, by placing the bag into water and dissolving it just before giving it to patients, coupled with storing it in the bags in the pasted form, it means it's easier to transport than the liquid blood.
Normal liquid blood only lasts for 35 days after it is donated. Then, it must be discarded, which means that there is blood being wasted often. Refrigeration is also required for natural blood. The plastic blood can be stored away for longer and does not require refrigeration to stay fresh.
This plastic blood is made up of tiny plastic molecules that contain an iron atom at the core of each molecule, similar to hemoglobin. This allows for binding oxygen and transporting it around the body.
These tiny plastic molecules are made very similar to the hemoglobin molecules and are joined together in a structure similar to that of a tree, branching off at intersections. Their size and shape also closely resembles that of a hemoglobin molecule. By forming them in this way, it makes it easy to bind the oxygen together to distribute it throughout the body.
While this has not yet been approved for use, scientists are working on developing a final prototype that would possibly allow for biological testing. The hope of the scientists is that this could eventually be used in military applications, where access to blood supply is important.
Since the material is made from plastic, it would also be very affordable compared to natural blood.
As reported by Science Daily, Dr. Lance Twyman, from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield said,
"We are very excited about the potential for this product and about the fact that this could save lives. Many people die from superficial wounds when they are trapped in an accident or are injured on the battlefield and can't get blood before they get to hospital.
This product can be stored a lot more easily than blood, meaning large quantities could be carried easily by ambulances and the armed forces. ..I hope people take the opportunity to go and see the display at the Science Museum and hopefully in the future it will be more than just a prototype, but will be a real product used in life or death situations."
Dr. Twyman has been developing the artificial blood for the past five years.
Science Daily | Scientists Develop Artificial Blood
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network.