Researchers at the University of Essex are working on an artificial supply of blood that could be administered to any person that needed a transfusion, no matter what their blood type.
The Haem02 team has just been giving £1.5 million in funding towards commercialising the results of its research. It is working on a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier, a variant that can detoxify the iron and free radicals that are found in extracellular hemoglobin, giving the blood a two year shelf life and universal compatibility.
With blood donor numbers decreasing worldwide, this alternative could make a massive impact, particularly for those requiring rarer blood types. In the case of a disaster, the stock-pile could easily be stored at room temperature and given to all regardless of blood type. It also wouldn't require the strict viral screening that a traditional donor-sourced supply would. But if you're a member of Team Edward, I've heard its not half as tasty. [University of Essex via IFL Science]