What is artificial blood?








Artificial blood is an emulsion of an oxygen carrying compound, a colloidal substance, plasma expander, electrolytes and a few other buffer compounds.

The huge demand for human blood for patient care has led researchers to develop artificial blood. The research (which dates back to the Fifties) is focused on human recombinant haemoglobin and per fluorocarbons. The artificial haemoglobin rHb 1.1 has oxygen binding characteristics similar to that of HbA in red blood cells.

Using recombinant DNA technology rHb 1.1 can be produced in required quantities. Per fluorocarbons also dissolve a greater amount of oxygen than RBCs. Its solubility for carbon dioxide is three times that for oxygen. These blood substitutes have different boiling points, molecular structures and gas solubilities. Once they are used up, they form colourless, odourless and stable compounds which can be safely expelled.

The fear of contracting dreadful diseases through human blood transfusion has led doctors to opt for artificial blood.

Based on decades of research, scientists have come out with an alternative to human blood in the form of genetically engineered synthetic haemoglobin named as rHb 1.1.

It can be produced by fermentation and purification by cultivating genetically engineering E. Coli bacteria. The genes for rHb 1.1 are cultivated in the bacterial cells placed in a container called vat. The cells are then multiplied by fermentation – within 24 hours they become blood red.

The E. Coli cells are then broken up to extract the artificial haemoglobin which is purified to remove endoxins, bacterial protein and DNA. (The artificial blood may provoke harmful physiological reactions if not properly purified).

The rHb 1.1 30 per cent more effective than natural blood in supplying oxygen from the lungs to tissues. It eliminates the risks associated with transmission of dreadful disease and offer universal compatibility regardless of blood group in contrast to human blood which requires grouping and cross matching. It has long storage life (42 days currently recommended for human blood).