Synthetic blood that can perform all the tasks of the real thing may be far off. But in the meantime, scientists have been working, with varying degrees of success, on an artificial substance that can at least transport oxygen around the body in emergencies. Now, a scientist in Transylvania—where, as the Smithsonian notes, a fixation on blood is the stuff of legend—says he's achieved the goal, at least in mice: Professor Radu Silaghi-Dumitrescu's team has successfully transfused artificial blood into the animals, and they were fine afterward, according to Romanian news reports.
"Mice treated with this ... artificial blood did not experience any side effects, and this is precisely what we want," says Silaghi-Dumitrescu, via Medical Daily. He's hoping his material would keep recipients going at least for a few hours, if not a whole day. Previous attempts at artificial blood have hit a stumbling block by focusing on hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying molecule that can easily fall apart. Silaghi-Dumitrescu's product, however, depends on a sturdier substance called hemerythrin, which exists in invertebrates. Mixing hemerythrin with salt and a type of protein called albumin might be a recipe for "instant blood"—just add water.