Drone blood deliveries deemed safe: emergency aerial transport is feasible

Researchers with Johns Hopkins University have determined that blood bag transport via drone is safe, according to a new university release. The team looked at both the cellular integrity and the temperature of the blood throughout the transportation process, finding that both were positive and the transported blood was safe to use. Such findings help pave the way for emergency blood transportation via drones.

As we've previously detailed, drones hold a lot of promise for transporting emergency medical supplies, and that includes blood. Such UAVs can be used in remote locations where medical facilitates are hours or days away, and can also be used in emergency situations where, for example, a natural disaster may temporarily block access to an affected region.

Blood deliveries via drone are already underway in Rwanda, but many places aren't ready to authorize such transports. Studies such as this one by Johns Hopkins, which believes this to a first proof of concept study, help make great strides toward this possible new future. Not only are drones a good choice for disaster and rural situations, they can also be used within cities to more quickly distribute blood to hospitals that need it.

Unlike roads, the skies presently are free of traffic, and are likely to stay that way for a long while. How drone flights like this may be handled in the future, though, when drone deliveries and more are common, is unclear.

The researchers, for this test, used a 5-quarter cooler with six samples of blood. An S900 drone was used to transport the cooler a distance of around 10 miles over the course of almost half an hour. Cellular damage wasn't observed and temperatures remained where they needed to be.

SOURCE: EurekAlert