After decades of failed attempts, scientists may have solved the problem of creating artificial blood.

If they succeed it could open new doors in medicine, relieving blood shortages and preventing patients from being infected by contaminated supplies.

Ideally, synthetic blood could be administered to anyone without triggering rejection. Accident victims could be given immediate transfusions without having to test what blood group they belong to.

As reported by New Scientist magazine, a US company has assessed the new blood substitute, called MP4, in a small trial involving about 20 Swedish patients.

Results are said to be “positive”, though no details have yet been released. But earlier tests in animals looked encouraging, New Scientist magazine has reported.

Hamsters that had lost a lot of blood fared better when given MP4 than real blood.

Previous blood substitutes that originally looked promising invariably proved disastrous. In trials, many caused capillaries to collapse, shutting off oxygen supplies to the tissues.

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