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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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  • Let gay men donate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Noxal ( 816780 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @08:46PM (#47218515)

    You know what else would help the shortage? Let gay men donate.

  • Re:Old News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @09:51PM (#47218935) Homepage

    Yep, like holographic storage it's always five years away. This time it's another promising attempt. If it's like the dozen or so previous promising attempts, the substance will become less promising once it gets through further testing. Eventually it's likely that some approach will succeed - it is not at all clear that this one has any better chance than before (the TFA wasn't terribly insightful).

    But this would be a Big Deal. A really big deal if it were priced reasonably. Blood and blood products are actually pretty expensive despite it being a non profit entity in the US - testing, storage and transport all run up a pretty hefty bill. Something that was storable (especially without refrigeration) and didn't require blood typing would be a huge win.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @10:30PM (#47219101)

    I'm sorry, but this is just politically correct feel good bullshit.

    Things that preclude you from donating blood:
    Intravenous drug use
    Promiscuous Sex (Yeah, that's right, all those people who say prostitutes can donate are wrong!)
    Having recently traveled to certain parts of the world
    Having recently received a piercing from a place other than a certified clinic (read piercing or tattoo parlor)
    If you've recently had a cold (and in fact, if you come down with a cold a few days later, they ask you notify them so they can dispose of the donation)
    If you don't weigh enough

    It's hardly singling out gays. And lets be honest here, peoples lives are LITERALLY at risk. And historically, gays tend to be more promiscuous than straights. If you're going to argue this, please explain why HIV was originally going to be named GIV. It's because the disease was so overwhelmingly limited to the gay population that at the headlines were just saying "mystery illness traveling through gay communities". Also throw in that anal sex is the best way to transmit the disease short of blood exchange. And a lot of that has to do with the common occurrence of rectal bleeding during anal sex. And remember, none of this is singling out gays, they just happen to live a lifestyle that tends to hit several of the high risk buttons just simply by how they choose their partners. Remember they ask about how many sexual partners you've had and when the last time you had unprotected sex was, regardless of your orientation. Why? Because even the best testing procedures fail sometimes. It's best to simply disallow high risk people from donating because people can actually die.

    Stop the PC bullshit, especially when it matters. Deal with FACTS, even if they're uncomfortable.

  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @10:53PM (#47219207)

    Gay men, as a group, have the highest rate of HIV infection by far.
    Screening isn't perfect.

    It makes far more sense to prevent high risk blood from ever getting into the system than it does to draw it, store it, and try to detect it, and dispose of it it's bad.
    If someone's feelings get hurt, too fucking bad. I'd rather not die from tainted blood like my friend's mother did.

  • Re:Old News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @11:09PM (#47219263)

    Of course they still haven't made any mention of the *most* important questions:

    Do vampires find it palatable enough to reduce their rampant predation on our species? And if so will they now leave us alone, or exterminate us as an unnecessary threat?

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner