HBOC201. It may remind you of the ubiquitous TV channel, but it has nothing at all to do with that. This is the name of a synthetic blood substitute that has saved an Australian woman’s life. Tamara Coakley had a really bad car accident and was barely alive when she got to the hospital. She had only one liter of blood left in her body, and immediately needed a blood transfusion. Not to mention all the other complications, she is also a Jehovah’s Witness, meaning she couldn’t undergo blood transfusion. Technically though, using the synthetic blood is not blood transfusion as it is considered a blood substitute. ((I honestly am hard pressed to see the difference, but okay.))
In any case, HBOC201 is something that probably belongs to science fiction. This blood substitute contains a molecule that is derived from cow plasma. It was developed by the US Navy and can be used for a wide variety of conditions wherein a blood transfusion is required.
It may not seem an appealing choice, given that HBOC201 is essentially made of cow plasma. Then again, we already drink cow’s milk. This isn’t much different, is it? This blood substitute presents a lot of potential. For one, HBOC201 is not limited by blood type restrictions. Whatever your blood type may be, you will be able to receive HBOC201. Another thing is that HBOC201 is stored more easily. It can be kept without refrigeration for up to three years. This can mean a lot for those in areas where electricity is not taken for granted! And with the low supply of donor blood, HBOC201 just might be what is needed to save other people’s lives.
Science fiction? Amazing!