WASHINGTON (WUSA)- Drones flying over head stir mixed public opinion. One local study may just turn the tide as they show the positive effect drones may have on healthcare worldwide.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that flying blood samples in small drones for up to 40 minutes had no effect on the samples.
Timothy Kien Amukele, M.D., Ph.D., a pathologist at John Hopkins University School of Medicine says in a statement that, “Biological samples can be very sensitive and fragile.”
With that knowledge, researchers were concerned up-front with the sudden acceleration and jostling of the drone.
“Such movements could have destroyed blood cells or prompted blood to coagulate and I thought all kinds of blood tests might be affected,” explained Amukele. “But our study shows they weren’t, so that was cool,”
Samples of blood that traveled in the drone suffered no significant impact when compared against samples that were not flown.
The successful travel of the blood samples makes investigators hopeful that similar technology can be used in more rural areas of the developing world. In countries without navigable roads, getting specimens from health care clinics to far-away laboratories is a challenge. Drone use could be the thing to shave time and stress off that process.
Amukele is a director of a laboratory collaboration between Hopkins and Uganda’s Makerere University. He says that the next likely step is a pilot study in Africa.