Did you know that horseshoe crabs’ milky-blue blood is key to making COVID-19 vaccine? Their blood provides the only known natural source of limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL), which can detect bacterial endotoxin. Endotoxin can be lethal if it makes its way into injectable drugs.

Every year, pharmaceutical companies round up half a million Atlantic horseshoe crabs, bleed them & return them to the ocean - after which many (unfortunately) die. But what we get is LAL, which has to be used in COVID-19 vaccine (to be sold in the US!).

Now, for some fun horseshoe crab facts:

  • they've had the same basic body plan for 400 million years
  • they have 9 eyes
  • they were the main model species for the 1967 Nobel Prize in medicine in 1976, given to researchers working on the mechanisms of vision
Sabrina Gaber
Communication Officer

Latest news

See all news
4th EMO BON Sampling Event

EMO BON partners are gearing up for a 4th sampling event! This round: water column & microorganisms from soft substrates.

02 Dec 2021
EMBRC France has two new projects

What? 'Augmented Observatories of the Natl. Marine Biological Resource Centre', 'Mutualised Digital Spaces for FAIR data in Life/Health Science'

23 Nov 2021

Latest Tweets

What's @ASSEMBLE_Plus? A Horizon 2020-funded project bringing together 32 marine stations/institutes. Coordinated by @Sorbonne_Univ_ (with EMBRC being a partner, of course!), it provides research & networking opportunities to scientists to enhance marine biology research 3/
View on Twitter