Hemerythrin is a protein extracted from sea worms, and is the miracle ingredient with which chemists in Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania, have managed to make artificial blood. In addition to hemerythrin, the solution also contains water and salts, and in some cases another protein, albumin, is added to protect against stress agents.
The artificial blood is not even red, but colourless due to the fact that it does not contain hemoglobin.
“What we have here is not a permanent replacement for blood but it’s something that allows the human body to regenerate its own blood supply in one day,” said Dr. Radu Silaghi-Dumitescu.
Laboratory testing has shown the artificial blood formula will resist mechanical and chemical stresses, and preliminary tests on animals have also been successful.
Lab rats did, not develop high toxicity levels in their systems and did not reject the artificial blood. After animal testing is finished and specialists are 100 percent convinced that there is no evidence of toxicity, testing on humans will begin, but not for another year or two.
“The unique character of this blood comes from the usage of a protein extracted from sea worms. This protein is much more resistant against stress factors,” added Dr. Silaghi-Dumitrescu.
Artificial blood has many uses, such as during surgery or in emergencies. The researchers went as far as thinking of creating artificial blood in an instant powder form that need not be stored in the refrigerator. This powdered blood could be left at room temperature, perhaps indefinitely. Soldiers in a war zone, for example, could have the powdered blood bags with them and, if necessary, by just adding water they would have liquid blood ready for an emergency transfusion.