WATCH THIS: The gel that clots blood in 12 seconds
If you’re bleeding profusely, the first thing you should do is to try to stop the bleeding. The next step is to get to the hospital urgently, where non-squeamish professionals will stitch up the wound. For smaller cuts and grazes, plasters do an admirable job, but what if there was something else you could keep in your medical cabinet for serious slices?
Meet Vetigel, the closest thing I’ve ever seen to the biology-defying health packs found in video games. It’s coming to veterinarians soon, and humans will be its next target – once all the rabbit and horse wounds are taken care of.
As you can see in the video below (warning: lots of blood), a cut in a liver is sealed in less than 12 seconds by the gel.
The gel is an algae-based polymer, which forms a mesh-like top to any organ it touches. Its inventor, Joe Landolina, was just 17 when he invented the product. Now 22, he explains to Business Insider that “on the one hand… the gel will make a very strong adhesive that holds the wound together. But on the other hand, that mesh acts as a scaffold to help the body produce fibrin at the wound’s surface.”
The initial clotting is fast. Not quite instant, but quick enough that it would be churlish to complain. “The fastest piece of equipment we have measures every 12 seconds. So we know that it happens in less than 12 seconds.”
It’s rolling out to vets later this year; Landolina has partnered with VetPlus in the UK. But how long before it could wind up in your medicine cabinet, not just your cat’s? Suneris, Landolina’s company, is forecasting FDA approval for human tests within the year, initially planning to work with military medics and then move to hospitals. After that, personal use might get a look in.
With no side effects noted from use on animals (yet), there’s a very real possibility the gel could soon make its way into everyday first-aid kits – meaning it could ease the strain on A&E units and even save lives.
Until then, if your pet is involved in a scrape, you may see the vet reaching for a tube rather than the needle and suture.