A cheap treatment to stem blood loss after serious injury could save thousands of lives every year and cut the need for costly and potentially risky blood transfusions.
An international trial is testing the use of tranexamic acid (TXA), which is already used to stem blood loss in major surgery, in people who have sustained serious injury.
The Clinical Randomisation of an Antifibrinolytic in Significant Haemorrhage (CRASH-2) trial, which will run until 2010, is funded by the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme.
Involving up to 20,000 people in 47 countries, the trial aims to see whether the agent will cut the high risk of death from internal bleeding within four weeks of injury and reduce the need for blood transfusions.
The annual death toll from serious injury is around 3 million in those aged 5 to 45 around the world, many of whom die after reaching hospital.