Despite several decades of concerted efforts of researchers worldwide, attempts to develop a safe and effective artificial oxygen carrier have not been successful yet. These disappointing results have reduced the endeavour of scientists to investigate safety and efficacy of such therapeutics. However, this does not necessarily mean that modifications of the concepts used so far cannot result in surprising results. Leong and coworkers demonstrate that the combination of PEGylated bovine hemoglobin and 7.5% saline might be a promising alternative to the approaches described so far. However, although being more effective in repaying oxygen debt and reducing lactate levels, in terms of 3-hour survival this agent is just as effective as hydroxyethylstarch and hypertonic saline. It has to be proven by further studies whether this small advantage in oxygen transport and tissue oxygenation can translate into clinical benefits.
– Jens Meier