The Paw Print
There have been blood shortages around the world. In the U.S. specifically, a transfusion is needed every two seconds, and over 41,000 pints of blood are needed every day. Roughly 38% of Americans can donate and only 10% actually do, thus creating a massive shortage. Hospitals have to put patients on hold and there is always the risk of contamination or rejection to it. But what if we could make the blood?
At Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, a research team has perfected a synthetic blood that could decrease the donation shortage we have throughout the world. This new blood contains the usual ingredients like water, salt, albumin (“a simple form of protein that is soluble in water and coagulable by heat”- Google dictionary), and, surprisingly enough, marine worms. Marine worms contain the iron protein, hemerythrin, which transports and stores oxygen in the blood stream. It also gives the blood a stress resistant quality. It is the only protein that has successfully stood up to organic bodily risk factors and did not turn toxic in the process like Hemoglobin. The synthetic blood could also lessen the risk of using contaminated donations of blood.
The samples are currently being tested on lab mice since they have very similar structures to our own. After all safety concerns have been met, researchers will start having human trials; Radu Silaghi-Dumitrescu, the head researcher, believes that it will take another two years or so to approve the use of the synthetic blood on humans. Then the Ministry of Education and Research will publish and patent the research.
If synthetic blood is successful in human trials it would vastly decrease the shortage in, not only the U.S., but the entire world. Scotland has also been working with synthetic blood this year, except their blood is from adult stem cells which might work even better since the body is less likely to reject it.
What’s Been Said…