Conserve Wildlife Blog

CBC Radio Canada Highlights CWF in Story on Horseshoe Crabs in COVID Vaccine Tests

December 13th, 2020

by Ethan Gilardi, Assistant Biologist

Photo by: Joe Reynolds

CBC Radio Canada program “The Current” interviewed Conserve Wildlife Foundation executive director David Wheeler for its feature on the fascinating story of New Jersey’s horseshoe crabs playing an irreplaceable role in the urgent search for an effective COVID-19 vaccine.


Conservationists are raising concerns that horseshoe crabs and the shorebirds that feed on them could become unexpected casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The milky blue blood of this ancient animal has made it into a modern medical marvel,” David Wheeler, executive director of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, said of the horseshoe crab.

The medical industry captures the critters to draw out some of their blood, because it contains a unique component called limulus amebocyte lysate, or LAL. LAL can detect harmful toxins in vaccines — including those being produced for COVID-19 — or other medicine undergoing testing, he told The Current‘s Matt Galloway

“It’s really extraordinary,” said Wheeler. “The concern now, of course, is at some point we would really like to see it shift to a synthetic alternative rather than continuing to only use the crabs for that.”

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.

 
%d bloggers like this: