You knew this was coming, the perfect example of raging capitalism: old people buying young people’s blood.
In Monterey, California, a new startup has emerged, offering transfusions of human plasma: 1.5 litres a time, pumped in across two days, harvested uniquely from young adults.
Ambrosia, the vampiric startup concerned, is run by a 32-year-old doctor called Jesse Karmazin, who bills $8,000 (£6,200) a pop for participation in what he has dubbed a “study”. So far, he has 600 clients, with a median age of 60. The blood is collected from local blood banks, then separated and combined – it takes multiple donors to make one package.
Let’s consider all the ways this is sleazy.
Karmazin isn’t paying the donors in proportion to the value of their blood; a unit of blood is worth a few hundred dollars, and he’s just buying it up from blood banks and repackaging it with a significant markup.
If he were paying what it was worth to him to donors, he’d be enticing donors to contribute to him for a pointless exercise in imaginary rejuvenation, rather than to blood banks/hospitals for saving lives.
Right now he’s depleting the local blood supply by a small amount for his venality.
He’s lying and calling it a “study”. There are no control groups. Participants have to buy in with large sums of money, so he’s selecting for only the rich.
There is no good evidence that this is an effective and significant treatment for aging. There is some work in mice, but it’s so preliminary that there’s no way to justify leaping into human trials.
Imagine that there are solid, measurable improvements in the recipients’ health. I don’t believe in getting something for nothing; then I would have to ask what are the detriments to the donor’s health of giving blood. Are there long term losses? Short term effects? This ‘study’ is ignoring that side of the issue.
Bad science, weak justifications, and wealthy exploiters literally feeding on the blood of the young, like a swarm of geeky overpaid ticks. They are actual vampires. They should think about that, because there is a universally known literary precedent for how one deals with vampires.
I do think that research into, for instance, stem cell replenishment is a good idea — but let’s not pretend that what this guy is doing is serious research. And if these transfusions do have some beneficial effects, it’s time to have some serious consideration of the ethics of such treatments, and their wider effect on society — two things that venture capitalists and vampires don’t know much about, and don’t care about.