Seeking Alternatives to Save HSCs
Humans also use the horseshoe crabs for biomedical purposes. Nearly a million crabs are now being bled each year for this purpose. It is estimated that up to 30 percent die during the process, meaning that hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths could be avoided with greater use of synthetic reagents. (Read more in our news section below.)
The good news is that the USP Microbiology Expert Committee recently proposed a reliable and sustainable source for endotoxin testing material that does not use the blood of a wild animal. The synthetic alternative is based on real-world evidence with medicines already on the market, the recombinant agents have been shown to be as good as, or better, than traditional testing using the blood/reagent from HSC.
We’re working with our partners, including shorebird biologists at Manomet and members of the Horseshoe Crab Recovery Coalition, to spread the word: Encourage USP to adopt the synthetic alternative proposal that would grant competitive status to use artificial reagents in endotoxin tests and not jeopardize the population recovery efforts for both horseshoe crabs, migratory shorebirds and other important species.