Israeli firm working on blood pack to save lives
In about two years' time, Israeli soldiers may carry with them to the battlefield packets with their own powdered blood, as though it were powdered soup.
A Nes Tziona-based company is working on a revolutionary product that could change the future battle field, IDF Medical Corps officers say.
"The idea is to take a soldier's blood, freeze it in laboratory conditions, take out the ice crystals leaving only the blood components. It will look like freeze-dried coffee in a little bag," said Lieutenant colonel Amir Blumenfeld, head of the IDF medical corps' trauma unit.
Every soldier going to battle will receive a packet with his own freeze-dried blood as part of his mandatory personal kit, much like the staple personal bandage.
When necessary, if the soldier is wounded in battle and needs blood, a medic or doctor could take out the dried blood bag, mix it with physiological water and inject the soldier with a transfusion of his own blood.
Transfusions for all
The Medical Corps believe that such a kit will make blood transfusions available to every soldier in the battle field and prevent infections or compatibility problems.
Chief Medical Officer colonel Hezi Levy told Haaretz that his unit was following the research closely. "Perhaps in about two years, we will be able to complete the product's development," he said.
"We support the idea and the research and have been following it for three years. It's looking good. The United States army is also very interested in this research. This project looks very promising," he said.
The company developing the dried blood recently held an experiment together with representatives of the Israel Defense Forces, which showed that the freeze-dried blood could carry some 80 percent of oxygen after being mixed with water. "This is an excellent achievement," said Levy.
Today, when soldiers are wounded in action and need a blood transfusion in the battlefield or out in the field, military medics and doctors usually give them a transfusion of water and salt.
In cases of severe wounds, when the casualties are evacuated by helicopter, there are usually blood transfusions in the aircraft.