By Brandon Smith
One day, there could be drones delivering vital medical supplies to people in need. A team at Johns Hopkins Medicine was able to keep blood, a cool and steady temperature through their test flights. “If the blood somehow was changed or destroyed in transport, then none of it matters,” said Dr. Timothy Amukele. The blood showed no biological change in the refrigerated coolers during their test flights. Although the drones were only in transport for 26 minutes, they covered 12 miles and flew 328 feet above the ground. Many drones are already used to view large fires and accident scenes, but the concern comes in other countries where drones are used to keep an eye on people.
Blood is very unique because of how expensive it is, and it expires. Platelets and thawed plasma last for only five days, so the supply is limited. Large hospitals within a region get daily shipments of blood, while smaller hospitals receive weekly shipments. Drones could help deliver very expensive and rarely used drugs, such as antivenin for snake bites, and meet the demand for blood products in hospitals quickly and inexpensively. This new technology could pave the way to supplying people the medical supplies that they need.