For this week’s #SeaAndMe post, we’re headed to the deep sea, an ally in the fight against COVID-19. Did you know that the test being used to diagnose the novel coronavirus — and other pandemics like AIDS and SARS — was developed with the help of an enzyme found in marine hydrothermal vents and freshwater hot springs? Talk about hot!

But that’s not all. The sea may also offer an effective treatment for COVID-19. Aplidin, a chemical compound extracted from sea squirts, was recently suggested to have antiviral properties. Late April 2020, PharmaMar, a Spanish firm, launched the Phase II of a clinical trial using Aplidin on patients with COVID-19.

What other medical solutions has the sea already provided? Many, from compounds to treat cancer, inflammation and nerve damage. Stay tuned for more #SeaAndMe posts to find out more.

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February 11 marks the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This annual celebration aligns with SDG 5 (Gender Equality) in recognising the critical role that women play in science.