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blood substitute,substance that mimics the function of blood. Blood substitutes typically concentrate only on reproducing the function of hemoglobinhemoglobin
, respiratory protein found in the red blood cells (erythrocytes) of all vertebrates and some invertebrates. A hemoglobin molecule is composed of a protein group, known as globin, and four heme groups, each associated with an iron atom.
..... Click the link for more information. , the molecule that carries oxygen through the body, and do not attempt to replicate the blood's other functions. Blood donated by humans must be refrigerated, can be contaminated by such diseases as AIDSAIDS
or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,
fatal disease caused by a rapidly mutating retrovirus that attacks the immune system and leaves the victim vulnerable to infections, malignancies, and neurological disorders. It was first recognized as a disease in 1981.
..... Click the link for more information. and hepatitishepatitis
, inflammation of the liver. There are many types of hepatitis. Causes include viruses, toxic chemicals, alcohol consumption, parasites and bacteria, and certain drugs.
..... Click the link for more information. , and is often in short supply. Designers of blood substitutes hope to eliminate these problems and develop genetically engineered or chemical products that will be tolerated by people of all blood types. Some blood substitutes under development use hemoglobin derived from human blood that is too old for use in blood transfusions.
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