A team of military doctors and scientists is working on a project called TXA Autoinjector to develop technology that can stop rapid blood loss on the battlefield.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has given a £5m funding boost for the TXA Autoinjector project to accelerate the technology, which allows life-saving blood clotting treatment to be administered at the push of a button.
The Defence Secretary, who visited The Royal London Hospital and London’s Air Ambulance at Barts Health NHS Trust, said that the technology would be backed by the department’s new Transformation Fund.
Williamson said: “Saving lives is at the heart of what our Armed Forces do, and this funding shows our commitment to ensuring those serving on the frontline get the best treatment as rapidly as possible.
“Our work to save lives does not stop at our serving men and women but must also be about helping to improve the livelihoods of people across the world.
“This technology will allow us to just that, whether it is rolling it out to emergency services in the UK, or equipping medics in developing countries across the globe.”
If successful, the technology could also be adapted to any major trauma incidents, from stab wounds to road traffic accidents.
It could also be used to help women in developing countries who suffer major blood loss during birth and cannot access medical treatment.
The Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust trauma surgeon Col Nigel Tai said: “Large international clinical trials show that TXA saves lives in bleeding patients. But we also know that for patients to be given the best chance, TXA should be given as soon as possible after injury.
“The prospect is, that by packaging the drug in to a pre-filled AutoInjector, injured soldiers can self-treat as part of their first-aid drills, and won’t have to wait for evacuation or specialist medical help to arrive.”
The auto-injector uses Tranexamic Acid, a cost-effective drug that stabilises and strengthens blood clotting within damaged tissues and can be administered by an untrained user.
Currently, administration of TXA requires an intravenous drip. However, the development of the auto-injector will allow the drug to be administered safely into a muscle.
One-third of seriously injured soldiers, who would otherwise die from their wounds, are expected to benefit from the treatment.
The TXA Autoinjector could also be rolled out to police, NGOs, ambulance services, and Code Red first aid kits situated in public places.