UK Develops Faster Blood Plasma Supply for Injured Soldiers

The UK Ministry of Defence and the National Health Service (NHS) have introduced a program to deliver dried blood plasma within 30 minutes for injured British Army soldiers on the battlefield.

Dried plasma helps blood clot and decreases the army’s reliance on frozen plasma solution, which requires more time to administer due to its 20-minute average thawing process.

It can be stored at room temperature and delivered when needed, compared to the present option requiring a freezer and other specialist equipment.

“We’re always striving to improve our ability to treat trauma in the field, and catastrophic injuries that require acute medical attention in adverse environments, including the battlefield, are some of the most challenging,” UK Minister for Defence People, Veterans, and Service Families Dr. Andrew Murrison stated.

“Treating people quickly and near to the point of injury is so often critical. That’s why dried plasma is such an important step forward.”

The Blood Far Forward Program

The 4.9-million-pound ($6.1 million) Blood Far Forward program is expected to permit the British Army to source dried plasma directly from the UK instead of its current supply relying on NATO partners.

1 RIFLES prepare to evacuate a casualty by helicopter in the Nawa region of Helmand, Afghanistan.
Soldiers evacuate a casualty by helicopter. Photo: British Army

“Plasma saves lives every day by treating massive blood loss,” NHS Component Development Laboratory Head Rebecca Cardigan explained.

“We’re now researching and developing a world class dried plasma product which will not only save the lives of the Army’s battlefield casualties but could one day be used in civilian care where there are also logistical challenges, such as by Air Ambulance crews.”

Revolutionizing Transfusions

The initiative enables the production of single plasma units while eliminating the need for complex facilities and placing the solution in more user-friendly packages such as plastic bags.

NHS will partner with US-based transfusion provider Velico Medical to deliver associated technological capabilities for the program and gain regulatory approval.

Work for the project will run for three years and consist of clinical trials in the UK.

“Spray-dried plasma is not only highly innovative, but it will change the course of transfusion medicine,” Velico CEO and President Richard Meehan said.

“We are excited and looking forward to work with our UK champions, in bringing our technology one step closer to changing lives in real-time.”

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