Mass tragedies underscore desperate need for synthetic blood

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Scientists have been working on creating synthetic blood for years now. The hope is that this substance will have a longer shelf life than human blood—which can only be refrigerated for 42 days—and eventually can be packaged and stored for use in emergencies.

[Physician Allan] Doctor’s lab has been working to create a blood substitute called ErythroMer, comprised of human hemoglobin, sourced from the red blood cells in expired blood at blood banks, and a synthetic polymer. This synthetic blood is actually a dehydrated powder, which would allow it to be stored for years, rather than weeks, and easily transported.

As scientists work to bring their synthetic blood to the masses, Americans are not necessarily on board. My colleague Sarah Emerson reported last year that 63 percent of the 4,700 adults in a Pew Research Survey don’t like the idea of synthetic blood, citing distrust.

Regardless, the idea that this kind of invention could have saved even some of the people lost in the Vegas shooting can’t be ignored. And with other parts of the world, like Sub-Saharan Africa, face a far more critical shortage of blood supplies on a daily basis. That should be enough to convince the skeptics that this is a worthwhile endeavor.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Scientists Are Racing to Create Synthetic Blood in the Wake of Mass Tragedies