After writing my previous post (June 17, 2020) about the connection between horseshoe crab blood and its relationship to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, I received several comments about the fact that COVID-19 is a virus, and therefore the horseshoe crab blood’s ability to identify harmful bacteria would not be helpful in this case. This would be true if one believed that the horseshoe crab blood was somehow going to be used to eradicate the COVID-19 virus. It was not.
The horseshoe crab blood was being used to ensure that bacteria didn’t find its way into the process of developing the vaccine. According to National Geographic, “these animals’ milky blue blood provides the only known natural source of limulus amebocyte lysate, a substance that detects a contaminant called endotoxin. If even tiny amounts of endotoxin, a type of bacterial toxin, make their way into vaccines, injectable drugs, or other sterile pharmaceuticals such as artificial knees and hips, the result can be deadly.” All pharmaceutical companies around the world rely on horseshoe crab blood to detect bacteria within their vaccine and drug development processes, not to be used as a vaccine, or part of a vaccine, itself.
(Quote from Horseshoe Crab Blood is Key to Making COVID-19 Vaccine – But the Ecosystem May Suffer, by Carrie Arnold, National Geographic (7/2/20))