Whenever a population is hit by a calamity, may it be large or small, natural or otherwise, blood is needed the most. Not only then, hospitals and medical centers maintain a blood bank to ensure the availability of blood to its patients all the time. But even then, the demand is ever increasing.
To address this problem researchers in Edinburgh University in Scotland have been working on developing artificial blood. The blood type of this one is “O negative” as it could be used by 98% of the people in need.
The research group has recently issued a statement claiming that the blood being developed will be available for testing in human beings in less than three years now.
For so many years researchers have been trying their luck to create a material which can imitate in all possible ways, what natures provide with every individual free of charge. The material should be capable of carrying oxygen and other nutrients across the body and make up for the loss done during injury or other epidemic. The idea was to meet the constant demand of blood which isn’t met by the donors only and to avoid the risk of getting infectious blood unknowingly.
The team has been experimenting by taking some stem cells from the bone marrow of healthy adults and then growing them in the lab which results in the production of material quite close to that of red blood cells present in natural blood. Their test has been refined to the extent of testing them on real alive humans. If all goes well, the next step would be to combine their results with the teams working on producing artificial hemoglobin. Once tested and proved, our blood banks would not have to worry about blood mismatch or insufficiency.
Though able to work out for emergency situations, this blood cannot completely replace its natural counterpart. It can only be a live saver and a stop gap type measure. Thus even after the afore mentioned plane works out, scientist have to continue their search for true artificial blood, that could cater completely all the needs of a human body and performs all the functions as carried out by the natural blood and that too without any side effect and complications.
It doesn’t rule out the importance of the stop gap blood being developed. In fact it is the version 1.0 and would not only help in saving lives around the globe but prove to be a sound foundation for the production of true artificial blood.