Scientists in Romania have developed artificial blood made from water, salt and protein that could one day be used in humans. Made from the protein hemerythrin extracted from sea worms, the faux-blood has already been successfully tested on laboratory mice. If fully developed, the artificial blood could end blood shortages and become a universal donor in medical emergencies.

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Unlike other past artificial blood experiments, the blood developed researchers at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca is both durable and viable. Proven to withstand chemical and mechanical stress, the blood remains intact and usable during transfusions. Dr. Silaghi-Dumitrescu of the research team credits hemerythrin for this durability, a protein found to be even more resilient than natural hemoglobin. The artificial blood could then transport oxygen within the bloodstream and tissue until the body is able to recover itself.

The Romanian scientists’ work builds off of research conducted by Edinburgh and Bristol University, which created red blood cells from bone marrow stem cells in 2011. With the successful acceptance of the artificial blood by lab mice, the team hopes to extend trials to human subjects by 2015.

Via Daily Mail