Could creating "blood" in the laboratory make infections passed on through blood transfusions a thing of the past? Vivienne Parry investigates.
The drive behind the quest for creating a blood substitute was originally from the US Military - during the Vietnam War a clean, reliable and portable alternative to donor blood would have helped to save many lives.
Donated blood can only be kept for a limited time, needs refrigerating and has to be cross matched according to which ABO group people belong to. The "universal donor" - O negative blood - can be used on accident victims before a match is found. But it's in very short supply and often many units of blood are required.
The history of creating blood has had a chequered past - with some products abandoned because of side effects and others proving too costly to produce. One analysis of clinical trials on blood substitutes in 2008 revealed a higher incidence of heart attacks in patients who'd been given them, compared with those who
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