Researchers have claimed success in conducting the world’s first artificial blood experiment in a venue eerily associated with the legendary bloodthirsty Dracula.
The researchers held the experiment in Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania, a city in Romanian province that legends had long linked to the infamous vampire.
“People have been trying to produce artificial blood oxygen carriers as temporary substitutes for blood, for decades now. There are several groups working on the same topic at this time, and to my knowledge there is, even, a product approved for limited human use in South Africa,” Romanian researcher Dr. Radu Silaghi-Dumitrescu said in an email to tech site Mashable.
“Doctors can use the artificial blood to reduce infection rates during blood donation, and to supply lost stores in patients for several hours or even up to a day,” it quoted Silaghi-Dumitrescu as saying in an interview with Medical Daily.
He added this could eventually lead to “instant blood” where one merely adds water to a portable tube to get artificial blood.
Silaghi-Dumitrescu and his team found their blood formula had no harmful side effects, following years of experiments on mice, the report said.
Citing a report from Medical Daily, Mashable said the team plans to test the artificial blood on human subjects in the next few years.
According to Mashable, the blood is derived from hemerythrin, a protein extracted from sea worms, along with water and salts.
“Hemerythrin transports oxygen in the blood of marine invertebrates, while previous artificial-bloods tests relied on hemoglobin, a red protein that transfers oxygen in the blood of almost all living organisms,” it said.
Although hemoglobin cannot withstand physical and chemical stress when introduced into a living organism, hemerythrin is more resilient and suitable for transfusion, it added.
The team found its artificial blood had no apparent health risks to the mice.
Now, it is working toward getting approval from Romania’s clinical trial regulatory agency to test the blood on humans.