Blood is vital to life - lose too much and you die. You can be given a blood transfusion to replace the blood you have lost. People have different blood groups that must be matched for a successful transfusion.
Blood can only be stored for a limited time and there is often a shortage of blood donors. Some people will not accept blood transfusion for religious reasons. Doctors and scientists have been trying to develop artificial blood to solve these problems for years.
Plasma or saline
The simplist way to replace blood in an emergency is with donated plasma or even saline (salt water). Plasma carries a little dissolved oxygen. However, saline does not carry oxygen or food. It just replaces the lost blood volume to keep your blood pressure as normal as possible. This can buy time for your body to make more blood, or for a matched blood transfusion to be found.
Perfluorocarbons are a more sophisticared form of artificial blood. These are very non-reactive chemicals that can carry dissolved gases around your body. Oxygen dissolves readily in PFCs. After accidents or surgery, capillaries may be squashed almost shut and red blood cells cannot get through. Because PFCs do not contain cells, they can carry oxygen into the most swollen tissues of a damaged body. They can be kept for a long time and they do not carry disease.
However, PFCs do not dissolve in…