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Medicine United Kingdom Technology

Human Blood Substitute Could Help Meet Donor Blood Shortfall 172

Zothecula (1870348) writes According to the World Health Organization, over 107 million blood donations are collected around the globe every year, most of which goes on to help save lives. However, while the need for blood is global, much of that which is donated is not accessible to many who need it, such as those in developing countries. And of the blood donated in industrialized countries, the amount often falls short of requirements. To help address this imbalance, scientists at the University of Essex are developing an artificial blood substitute. It would be able to be stored at room temperatures for up to two years, which would allow it to be distributed worldwide without the need for refrigeration and make it immediately accessible at the site of natural disasters.
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Human Blood Substitute Could Help Meet Donor Blood Shortfall

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @09:06PM (#47218659)

    The reason that gay men typically aren't allowed to donate isn't because they're gay. Rather, it's because the sexual practices they often engage in, namely anal sex, happen to readily transmit HIV and other STIs. The higher prevalence of such carriers within the gay community further increases the risk of contaminated blood.

    How do you propose this be dealt with? Clearly allowing tainted blood to be used is not an option. It does no good to have large amounts of unusable blood available.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @09:25PM (#47218775)

    Then i found out how much blood banks were making selling donated blood to hospitals and other places that nneded blood or plasma.

    Then donate to the red cross. They are not selling it for a profit. People who won't donate for some perception of money changing hands -- should remember, that one day you may be on the other side of this equation, and dependent on some stranger to make a blood donation, as vital to your own survival.

    The fewer donated units are available, the more expensive it will get, and the more people that may die, because the supply or money wasn't there to get them the transfusion they needed.

    By law, all the blood donations in the US have to come from volunteers -- donors are not allowed to sell blood.

    It is very expensive to administer a blood bank; there are a lot of costs involved in getting the product, maintaining the product, ensuring the safety of the product, and distributing the product.

    Red cross says they do not charge for the blood itself --- but they do recover costs from hospitals for each unit distributed which they say are the costs of recruiting donors, screening potential donors, collection of blood by trained professionals, processing, storing, labelling, and the testing of each unit of each blood unit in state of the art laboratories.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:43AM (#47219829)

    Plasma donation is likely not for transfusion into a patient; the plasma itself is valuable to pharmaceutical companies for putting together various protein products and treatments for disease. A fractionation process can be used on plasma to derive various components, such as the immunoglobins, coagulation factors, and albumin solutions.

    The components of plasma are absolutely vital for the creation of certain vaccines and treatment of certain disease, such as factor VIII and factor IX proteins which may be administered in the hospital to hemophiliacs, or people suffering from liver disease or anticoag overdose.

    There is a much larger market for these products than for transfusions, and there is commercial interest in obtaining the plasma needed to derive these products.

  • by QQBoss ( 2527196 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @03:07AM (#47220061)

    Donating for a specific person, in particular for yourself, is a special situation where things are done differently. For example, many of the conditions that would make you ineligible to donate to another person are waived if you are donating for personal use (and the blood is tossed if you wind up not needing it). Though it also depends on what you mean 'my blood was tested...' If you mean that you were tested for blood type and anemia, things that can be done with only the blood from a finger prick, 100% of people receive those tests in any modern medical environment (and even most not so modern ones). If you mean they did a full screening for HIV and other BBPs before you were allowed to give more than a finger prick's worth, then that is a specific situation not covered by general donation rules. For general situations, the written/oral prescreening is a much less expensive solution to having to run a myriad of tests (some cheap, some not so cheap) on a lot of blood that never should have been donated in the first place.

  • Re:Old News (Score:4, Informative)

    by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @09:26AM (#47221427)

    This is another example of the medical cartel screwing us over. In the old days those donation centers were called "blood banks" because they functioned like actual banks. You were personally credited with each pint of blood you donated. When you needed blood after an accident or surgery, you could use any accumulated credits. You could sign credits over to a family member who needed blood. or donate them to one of those public drives for a person in need. Blood banking incentivized donations without the moral hazard of paying donors in cash.

    No longer. You have to pay for any blood you or your loved ones use, no matter how much you may have donated. Personal blood credit is used only in giving out award pins for lifetime donation totals. And we now have an ongoing donation shortfall that we never had before.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie