Our oceans are directly linked to the health of humans.
We’ve known that the ocean supplies us with amazing health benefits (hello, seaweed!) but the most recent news story about the ocean’s healing properties that caught Sealuxe’s writer’s eye was the fact that bacteria, found in the deep ocean, is used in testing to detect the presence of COVID-19. Not only is it used in the detection, but it’s also used to help us recover from this virus.
Yes, the ocean is an ally in fighting this virus.
The test used to diagnose covid-19 (along with other diseases such as AIDS and SARS) was developed using an enzyme isolated from a microbe found in marine hydrothermal vents as well as in freshwater hot springs.
“Take the deep ocean, for example, where mineral-laden fluid superheated by magma gushes from hydrothermal vents. Under extreme pressure and acidity, at times with no oxygen to speak of, microbes not only survive there, they thrive. This incredible adaptation offers insight into how life evolved billions of years ago – and how modern humans may be able to fight infections and disease.”
Every antibiotic we use today was produced by microorganisms. We have been gifted compounds to treat cancer, inflammation, and nerve damage – all from the deep ocean.
This isn’t a new discovery. Scientists discovered bacterium Thermus aquaticus living in the extreme temperatures of a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park in 1967. With enzymes taken from the microbes, it became possible to do what was once considered impossible; the creation of millions of copies of a single DNA sequence in just a few hours. These enzymes, called DNA polymerases, along with enzymes isolated from viruses themselves, make it possible to quickly test for the existence of viruses in the human body.
So, next time you do that beach clean-up, do it in thanks for everything the ocean has given us. We owe it our deepest gratitude for our survival.