Take a deep breath 500 meters under the sea

In recent tests dogs breathed underwater for up to 30 minutes.

In recent tests dogs breathed underwater for up to 30 minutes.

EPA
A new technology is under development in Russia to improve submarine rescue. In recent tests dogs successfully breathed 500 meters underwater for up to 30 minutes.

Russian scientists are testing a liquid breathing technology on dogs, said Vitaly Davydov, deputy managing director of the Advanced Research Foundation, which funds the project. Liquid breathing makes it possible to fill the lungs with a special oxygen-rich liquid that supplies the blood with oxygen. 

This technology, which is being developed by the Russian Research Institute of Occupational Health, can be used to rescue submarine crews from deep underwater. With liquid in their lungs supplying the body with oxygen, submariners should be able to quickly rise to the surface and avoid decompression illness. Also, the technology could be used by pilots and astronauts.

“We saw a red dachshund put face down into a large water-filled vessel, and we were outraged at how the dog was treated for surely it was about to drown. Or was it? The dog spent some 15 minutes underwater," said Rossiyskaya Gazeta correspondent, Igor Chernyak, who was present at the experiment. ``It turned out that the dog’s lungs were filled with an oxygen-rich liquid that allowed it to breathe underwater. When the dog was released, it seemed a bit listless. They said it was because of the cold. However, several minutes later the dog was its normal self again.”

The researchers originally carried out tests on mice and other small animals, and only recently continued with dogs. Special underwater chambers with high pressure were created for the dogs. According to Davydov, the dogs can remain underwater for 30 minutes at a depth of up to 500 meters. All the animals are fine and are coping well underwater.

The concept of liquid breathing was first proposed several decades ago, but never brought to fruition, said Davydov. Researchers still face numerous issues. For example, it is necessary to decide on the make-up of the liquid, on how to inject it into the body and remove it, and to remove carbon dioxide. Yet, the main obstacle is overcoming people's fear. After all, to be able to breathe underwater, one has to drown voluntarily.

Based on reports by TASS and Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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