Artificial blood that could one day be used in humans without side effects has been created by scientists in Romania.
The blood contains water and salts along with a protein known as hemerythrin which is extracted from sea worms.
Researchers from Babe?-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, hope it could help end blood supply shortages and prevent infections through donations.
Dr Radu Silaghi-Dumitrescu added that it may even lead to the creation of ‘instant blood’ that can be transported and turns into artificial blood when water is added.
Up until now, efforts to create artificial blood have failed as the fluid was unable to withstand the chemical and mechanical stresses placed on it.
According Dr Silaghi-Dumitrescu, unlike hemoglobin, hemerythrin remains stable when exposed to physical and chemical stress.
So far the artificial blood has been tested on laboratory mice who didn't experience any adverse side effects.
Laura Sinpetru from Softpedia reports that the researchers hope to roll the artificial blood out in clinical trials involving human volunteers within a year or two.
The work builds on research by Edinburgh and Bristol University who, in 2011, made thousands of millions of red blood cells from stem cells taken from bone marrow.
Edinburgh University’s Professor Marc Turner hopes to make a supply of cells with the O-negative blood type.
This ‘universal donor’ blood could be given to up to 98 per cent of the population.
A supply of safe blood would also be a boon in developing countries, where thousands of lives are lost to conditions such as haemorrhages after childbirth.
The French have started early-stage human trials with stem cell blood and other researchers around the world are making haemoglobin, the red blood cell protein used to ferry oxygen around the body.
Ideas being pursued elsewhere include using haemoglobin taken from cows as a blood substitute.
Some 1.6 million Britons give blood each year. In the UK, stocks can fall during holiday periods, with supplies of the highly versatile O-negative type particularly vulnerable.
Romanian scientists invent artificial blood