Molloy College Professor John Tanacredi Tells CBS News Horseshoe Crabs Hold Key to Coronavirus Vaccine

Horseshoe Crabs Hold Key to Safety of Coronavirus Vaccine
Molloy College Professor John Tanacredi Discusses the Vital Role of Ancient Arthropods with WCBS New York Reporter Carolyn Gussoff

The safety of any coronavirus vaccine depends on an ancient sea creature, Horseshoe crabs. Professor John Tanacredi, based at Molloy's Center for Environmental Research and Coastal Oceans Monitoring (CERCOM) discussed these incredible arthropods and the LAL (Limulus Amebocyte Lysate) derived from their copper-based blue blood. LAL is used as a rapid test for endotoxemia used in hospitals around the world, and is the required test of most injectable drugs. This critical component in the search for a COVID-19 immunization that will require immediate detection of any contamination by microbes. Billions of inoculations will be dependent upon LAL quality control.

Dr. Tanacredi's work at CERCOM, together with colleagues throughout the world, is focused not only on understanding Horseshoe crabs, but raising awareness, as the Horseshoe crab population diminishes, projected to near extinction within the next ten years. WCBS New York's Carolyn Gussoff toured CERCOM's lab in Sayville, NY, discussing the role Horseshoe crabs will play in the battle against Covid-19 and the urgency of protecting the species, which is believed to have appeared some 140 million years ago.