The US Army has developed a new blood-clotting bandage that will be available soon. Bleeding is the most common cause of death for those wounded in battle, and the first-aid and other emergency departments need such bandages until the patients are transferred to the hospital. The new bandages involve freeze-drying the human plasma proteins fibrinogen and plasmin, after removing bacterial and viral contamination on to a dissolvable backing. An added advantage of the bandage is that it can be stored without refrigeration. However, it has to be kept in an airtight container and a radiation-sterilised foil pack that prevents absorption of moisture from the air, which can activate the components. Unwrapped and pressed into a wound, thrombin in the four-inch square bandage is activated by the patient's blood. This causes platelets to collect at the site. The platelets then interact with the fibrinogen that binds these platelets to other proteins necessary for blood clotting. Initial studies in animals have show that this bandage can reduce blood loss by 85 per cent ( Journal of American Medical Association , Vol 281, No 1).
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