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50 buckets of blood per day: Transfusion development in Belarus

If Alexander Pushkin lived in our days, he would survive the loss of blood after his lost duel. At the site of the duel he lost a total of about two liters of the vital fluid. In 1837, people only experimented with blood transfusion and there was a century before blood groups and rhesus factor were discovered. Today, blood transfusion is a common practice.

Belarus uses 50 buckets of blood every day, while the country's year's supply is about 200,000 liters. 

Now the majority of donors in our country do not abandon monetary compensation, but by 2020, Belarus plans to switch to uncompensated donation. And this is a global trend.

The 220,000 liters of blood is quite enough for the country.

Blood components are stored in a special room. The temperature here is 4-6 degrees. From here, the blood products are transported to health institutions throughout the country.

Blood is transported in special portable cold boxes. Refrigerants maintain the desired temperature. The conservation of blood and blood components is possible even under negative temperatures.

Red cells of rare blood groups in this storage are kept at a temperature of minus 196 degrees. You can open it only for a couple of seconds.

In such a way, blood is stored up to 10 years without losing its biological properties. High-tech products are made from blood plasma today. The medications are used in the treatment of cancer, liver cirrhosis, and traumatic brain injuries. Annual purchase of foreign analogues would cost $3 million.

Fyodor Karpenko, director of the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre of Transfusion and Medical Biotechnology:
One of our main focuses today is the further development of the depth of plasma processing and the introduction of new modern domestic medicines. These are the promising directions that may be successful in the Republic of Belarus. Ukraine, Russia and other countries that are adjacent to Belarus don't have it today.

Natalia heard the terrible diagnosis - epilepsy - when she was a teenager. This means daily attacks, loss of consciousness and moments when you simply do not want to live.

Natalia Zueva:
I was killed by the disease. It did not come from my head. I was afraid that some attacks can happen.

Natalia became the first patient in the country who was treated with stem cells. Since then, five years have passed. The number of attacks reduced and she now sincerely thanks her doctor, who returned her normal life.

Adults have stem cells primarily in the bone marrow. Their uniqueness lies in the fact that they are able to repair the damaged tissue or organ. That is, they rush to the affected area through bloodstream and turn into cells that the organism needs. And the body is restored. That is, the nature laid the key to recovery in humans themselves.

Belarus began to use a bone marrow transplantation technology in 1994. More than a thousand people have received a chance for a new life.

There is another source of stem cells: blood taken from the umbilical cord immediately after birth. These days, any parent can give their child this invaluable insurance to life. 

Belarus has two banks of umbilical cord blood.

Mikhail Potapnev, head of the department of cellular biotechnology, Republican Scientific and Practical Center of Transfusion and Medical Biotechnology:
It is known that children recover faster than older people. This is simply because children have 100 times more stem cells. Stem cells can be used to cure several dozens of diseases.

50 buckets of blood per day: Transfusion development in Belarus