Vampires 2.0? The Ethical Quandaries of Young Blood Infusion in the Quest for Eternal Life

Med Health Care Philos. 2020 May 23. doi: 10.1007/s11019-020-09952-5. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Can transfusions of blood plasma slow down ageing or even rejuvenate people? Recent preclinical studies and experimental tests inspired by the technique known as parabiosis have aroused great media attention, although for now there is no clear evidence of their effectiveness. This line of research and the interest it is triggering testify to the prominent role played by the idea of combating the "natural" ageing process in the scientific and social agenda. While seeking to increase the duration of healthy living time may be considered a duty, it also raises ethical questions about how to pursue this goal. Specifically, therapies and techniques accessible only to a fraction of the population seem destined to exponentially increase social inequality and to produce undesirable consequences. In this article we address the issue precisely in the light of the prospected use of plasma for the rejuvenation of a small elite of people.

Keywords: Ageing; Bioethics; Blood transfusion; Equality; Immortality; Justice.