The Global Blood Shortage is Real

Why is there a global blood shortage?

The global blood shortage has many causes. The main reasons are lack of alternatives to traditional blood supplies, which must be screened, refrigerated and have a limited shelf life. Fewer donors are also a problem. Natural disasters, pandemics, and regional conflict add to the problem. 

In the US, every two seconds someone in the needs blood with 41,000 donated pints needed every day. There is also a shortage of donors: while 40% of the US population is eligible to donate blood each year, less than 10% does. 


What are the downsides of traditional blood storage?

Blood must be stored in specific cold temperatures, typically in a hospital setting, and has a 42-day shelf life. To be administered safely, it requires correctly matched blood types for transfusions. Blood clots can prevent large hemoglobin molecules from delivering oxygen to hypoxic tissue. There is also an increasing shortage of donor blood. Donors must be screened and tested for diseases, further reducing supply.

Why are Blood Alternatives a solution?

Blood alternatives offer the potential to be safer than traditional blood. The Heme Foundation only supports the development of therapies which have been proven to be safe to humans. With traditional blood, supplies can be threatened by storage issues, blood type matching errors, cross-contamination, shortages, and a lack of donors.