Here in New England, we're no stranger to horseshoe crabs. According to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, New England is one of the regions with the most horseshoe crab harvests.

Now scientists are saying that horseshoe crab blood may help with a vaccine for Covid-19.  The Cape Cod Times reports the reason why:

"because of its quick and detectable response to bacteria, horseshoe crab blood is used in testing anything that can be surgically implanted, injected or swallowed as medication."

The article says that those tests would include:

"vaccines such as the annual flu vaccine, and the coronavirus vaccines now in development with potentially worldwide distribution."

Brett Hoffmeister, LAL Production Manager for Associates of Cape Cod in East Falmouth tells Cape Cod Times:

"LAL bacterial endotoxin testing is the gold standard"

This important test was created right here in New England in Falmouth, MA.  Cape Cod Times says that the first company to manufacture the test, Associates of Cape Cod was founded by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist. I thought that was pretty cool because when I was little kid, my dad worked there!

The other interesting thing is that only a tiny amount of the LAL is needed to test a sample of the vaccine, according to the article.  Hoffmeister tells Cape Cod Times that they could do production in one day to "assure the purity of even an estimated five billion doses".

This all seems pretty confusing to me, so I found an easy to follow video!

According to the Atlantic, horseshoe crabs have been around for 450 million years.  They say:

"So reliant is the modern biomedical industry on this blood that the disappearance of horseshoe crabs would instantly cripple it."