Horseshoe Crab Blood: Being Used to Find A Vaccine for Coronavirus

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The Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine Runs on Horseshoe Crab Blood

by Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com

Humans owe a debt to the strange-looking, ancient horseshoe crab. Its blue blood is used in medicine to ensure that anything that gets injected or implanted into the human body is free of potentially life-threatening bacterial contamination. A special compound in the crab’s blood quickly clots in the presence of endotoxins, microbial byproducts that can be harmful, supplying a perfect natural test for purity. In the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, horseshoe crab blood is very important.

But an estimated 50,000 crabs die during the annual blood harvest, and these ancient arthropods are also being threatened by pollution, overfishing and habitat loss due to sea level rise, reported Sarah Zhang in the Atlantic in 2018. Moreover, humans aren’t the only ones depending on the crabs (which are actually more closely related to spiders than true crabs). Migratory birds such as the threatened red knot are sustained by the blue-gray bunches of eggs the shelled creatures deposit by the thousands on beaches along the east coast of the United States.

For these reasons, animal rights groups, conservationists and a handful of companies have been pushing for the development and approval of synthetic alternatives to the milky-blue crab blood, reports James Gorman for the New York Times.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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