Johns Hopkins study shows drones can safely transport large bags of blood

Researchers from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University have determined that large bags of blood products can maintain temperature and cellular integrity during transportation by drones.

A report on the study findings, published in the journal Transfusion in November, supports earlier evidence that remotely piloted drones offer an effective, safe and timely mode to transport blood products to remote accident or natural catastrophe sites.

"For rural areas that lack access to nearby clinics, or that may lack the infrastructure for collecting blood products or transporting them on their own, drones can provide that access," says Timothy Amukele, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the paper's lead author.

The team of Johns Hopkins researchers previously tested the effects of drone transportation on the chemical, hematological and microbial makeup of drone-flown blood samples and found that none were negatively affected. The new study examined the effects of drone transportation on larger quantities of blood products used for transfusion, which require significantly more complex handling, transportation and storage requirements compared to smaller blood samples for laboratory testing.

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