Synthetic blood to be tested with human volunteers soon

Blood shortages could soon be a thing of the past, with the UK's NHS announcing that some time in the next two years human volunteers will be given blood that, rather than being drawn from human donors, will have been created within a laboratory. This doesn't entirely remove the human element, though — the synthetic blood is made from the blood of donors or from umbilical stem cells. This serves as a clinical trial, and it is believed to be the first ever of its kind, perhaps ushering in a big shift in our medical future.

This so-called synthetic blood contains artificial red blood cells, and under the trial set to take place before 2017, we'll see transfusions of a few teaspoons of the substances with human volunteers who will be monitored to test for any wayward reactions.

During this time, the researchers will also monitor to see how long these synthetic cells are able to survive when in humans. Thus far tests with the substance have been positive.

Initially, if all goes well with the trials, synthetic blood can be used to create blood for types that are considered complex, or for those who need specialized transfusions. In the future this blood could also potentially be created for uses in emergency situations and in instances where there are shortages of needed blood types.

SOURCE: The Independent