coronavirus detection

How the Ocean Could be Our Biggest Ally against COVID-19

/ No Comments / 26th May 2020

Over the last few months, we’ve seen the COVID-19 pandemic strike fear to even the biggest nations and today, it has already affected more than 5.8 million people killing 360,000 around the world. As scientists and medical experts rally to find a cure or vaccine against this deadly virus, they are now looking to the bottom of the ocean for possible answers. Organisms that are found on the extreme depths of the ocean are now being used to speed up coronavirus detection. According to Francesca Santoro, an oceanographer and researcher at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), “It is just one of the many prodigious uses of these organisms.”

The bacteria is now being utilised for rapid testing for COVID-19 and Santoro said that it also has the potential to combat the disease if further studies are conducted.

The bacteria that could give us the answers to COVID-19

The bacteria that‘s now being used for coronavirus detection was discovered by microbiologists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute a few years ago and was originally used to diagnose SARS and AIDS.

This research was conducted due to the close relationship between human health and the ocean and it continues to gain interest today as the world is facing another global pandemic that’s already killing thousands of people each day.

According to Santoro: “The marine environment is very rich from the point of view of biodiversity and resources useful for humans’ daily life are still to be discovered.” She added that the ocean has already been proven to offer some very important compounds that have addressed several medical conditions like inflammation, nerve damage and even cancer.

A lot of diagnostic tools also rely on substances from the depths of the ocean and now, bacteria are already being used in rapid testing for COVID-19.

The environment is protecting us

For many years, scientists have studied different organisms found on the depths of the ocean to help diagnose and treat several diseases.

Now that a huge threat is upon the world, it is now more important than ever to protect the ocean because it could be where the answers to many medical mysteries are found.

Santoro explained: “Year after year, the connection between human health and ocean health is even more evident. There is more and more research that uses substances produced by marine organisms as solutions to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. For this reason, new generations and families ought to be at the forefront of the battle for the conservation of the ocean.”

The hunt for a miracle at the bottom of the ocean

While most expeditions are done to find sunken ships, a new species of robots are now scouring the ocean floor for resources that will hopefully help give answers to a lot of medical conditions.

In fact, the United Nations has launched the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), which will hopefully help protect the ocean.

 

Resources:

UNESCO: COVID-19: the ocean, an ally against the virus

Read about COVID-19 testing

Read about the effects of COVID-19 on marine life

Photo by Johnny Chen on Unsplash