Every two seconds in world someone receives blood transfusion. But due to limitation with supply and availability of human blood there is need for an alternate blood substitute. If an alternate or substitute to blood is available which could be safe and stored for long period of time could be proven helpful in situations of emergencies, disaster and war. National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Defense have developed new hope called Erythromer to meet blood transfusion needs in such cases.
Erythromer is blood substitute which can mimic several roles of red blood cells. Erythromer is of one fiftieth the size of normal human Red Blood cells and can be stored as freeze dried powder at room room temperature. The lyophilized powdered blood( Erythromer) is packaged in Type IV plastic bags and can be carried easily in ambulance or bag packs for one year, when needed it just needs to spiked with sterile water and blood is ready for transfusion. It has overcome with the limitations of other blood substitutes, surface coating of a special polymer provides it a control system to link its oxygen binding to changes in pH thus a coating of synthetic polymer is able to bind and release oxygen molecule in context specific manner. It also retards nitric oxide trapping avoiding vasoconstriction and thus maintains functionality during circulations. As the coating is” Immune Silent” it can be given to anyone regardless of blood type but unlike human blood which can stay for 120 days it can only stay for few days only.
The lab trails of Erythromer on Rats and Mice have proved successful in delivering oxygen in tissues. The laboratory trials on human are in pipeline but before it needs to be tested on larger animals like Rabbits and monkeys.
The technology makes us think of time where blood will be available for everyone in need, it will reduce the deaths off blood transfusions in situation of naturaldisasters and battle field.
It couldn’t replace human blood but can buy crucial time to reach hospital and receive transfusion in emergency trauma.