Vice Motherboard

Drones Can Be Used to Fly Blood Samples to Remote Medical Clinics

Drones have already delivered medicine, but soon they may also deliver biological specimens. Researchers at John Hopkins Medical University have shown that human blood samples remain stable when airlifted by small drones.

The researchers believe, in the future, that this form of delivery could give millions of people in rural and economically poorer areas better access to diagnoses and treatments.

Unmanned aircraft (drones) can potentially be used for the transport of small goods such as clinical laboratory specimens. We have published what, to our knowledge, is the first study of the impact of drone transportation on routine lab test results.

“With the advent of cheap civilian drones it became clear that they could be used to expand the reach of healthcare,” Timothy Amukele, an assistant pathology professor at John Hopkins Medical University and lead author of the new study, told me. “But before we get there, we have to answer a basic question: Will drone transport cause a deterioration of samples we’re trying to move—whether those be blood, vaccines, or drugs?”

Jeff Street

Jeff Street is a drone engineer and pilot with more than ten years of experience leading small teams to develop innovative new vehicles.