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Boffins develop synthetic human blood

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Sheffield University researchers believe they have developed a way of manufacturing artificial human blood using "dendrimers and hyper-branched polymers" to form "bio-mimetic molecules".

Dr Lance Twyman of the university's chemistry department told the BBC that he and his team were "very excited about the potential for this product". He presented the discovery primarily as a medical breakthrough.

"Many people die from superficial wounds when they are trapped in an accident or are injured on the battlefield," he added.

"This product can be stored a lot more easily than blood, meaning large quantities could be carried easily by ambulances and the armed forces."

The biomimetic synthi-blood is apparently much easier to store than old-school homemade product, as it doesn't require as much chilling. A sample of prototype claret will be on display at the Science Museum in London from 22 May as part of an exhibition about the history of plastics.

However, the plastic blood reportedly isn't yet ready for "biological testing", presumably this will mean putting the stuff into people's veins. Dr Twyman and his team are on the lookout for funding that would get them to that stage, and seem to have their sights set on the Ministry of Defence pork-barrel.

It could well be that combat medics would like to have blood which kept a long time at room temperature, and that the MoD would pay for the stuff. Nonetheless, it could be that the Sheffield blood-boffins aren't thinking sufficiently outside the carboy on this one.

Biz possibilities which spring to mind at once include an alliance with the makers of "Vampyre Vodka". This is clearly intended to appeal to those of gothic tastes, and is described as "wickedly smooth...the first red vodka in the United States...distilled in England by one of the world's leading distillers."

At the moment, customers with a satanic thirst for blood-themed liquor must settle for "Vodka with certified colour added". This could clearly benefit from a marketing shot in the arm, so to speak. How much better would it be if the makers could say "vodka with certified bio-mimetic blood", for instance. "Dracola" could probably benefit, too.

Dr Twyman couldn't be reached for comment as of writing. Probably just as well. ®

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