Among the many medical disruptions of coronavirus has been an impact on blood donations. Many donors have seen appointments cancelled, for obvious reasons.
Boffins in the US have been looking into ways of preserving blood. It usually keeps for six weeks in the fridge, and though it can be frozen, this is a complicated process.
The whitecoats have made a breakthrough that may enable long-term ambient storage: sugar. Getting a sugar called trehalose into blood cells means it can be de- and re-hydrated without going off!
Fun fact: the scientists used trehalose because in nature it’s synthesised by famous dehydrators sea monkeys! Fun fact two: in food, the principal use of trehalose is in doughnut sugar!
Disappointingly, this doesn’t mean you should scarf a dozen doughnuts before donating. It’s a preservative, after all – don’t forget ambient blood will be stored in powder form.