Here’s How Drones Could Deliver Blood Samples Safely

Sep 13, 2017

New research out of Johns Hopkins demonstrates how drones could be used to deliver blood samples from remote locations in hot weather without impacting results.

Typically, such samples are carried by land in coolers to keep temperature constant. The notion of using drones in extreme weather conditions thus raises concern over sample viability.

In this case, the researchers flew 84 samples for 160 miles over the Arizona desert and were able—by using custom coolers—to keep the temperature stable enough that the samples remained viable for testing. Their results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, and picked up by Stat, a health news site.

Swiss National Post Office has High Hopes for Drones

The use of drones in medical applications intrigues researchers.

In June, for example, researchers at Stockholm's Karolinska Institutet ran a simulation to see if drone could deliver portable defibrillators to heart attack victims faster than ambulances. They found that on average, drones could get the gear to patients more than 16 minutes faster, a time advantage that could indeed make save lives.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

The Johns Hopkins researchers in the blood sample study say their results show that biological samples can be carried over relatively long distances provided there are "stringent environmental controls to ensure consistent results." In this case, that means a custom cooler.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions