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Sea sponges can remove up to 94% of viruses from water

Scientists from the Netherlands University of Marine Research have found that sea sponges can remove up to 94% of viruses from water. Researchers put different types of viruses into the water, but the effectiveness of the sponges did not decrease.

Scientists have found that various marine animals can absorb virus particles by filtering seawater to produce oxygen and food — sponges are especially effective in this. Details of the study are given by marine biologist Jennifer Welch of the Netherlands University of Marine Research in a publication on Nature Scientific Reports.

“When a virus infects a cell”, Welch notes, “he uses his master to create new viruses. After they are released, they can, in turn, infect much more new cells”. However, he found that many particles of the virus eventually end up in the body of marine animals for which they serve as food.

Japanese oysters, for example, filters seawater to extract oxygen or foods such as algae and bacteria. At the same time, it swallows the particles of the virus. For example, during the experiment, oysters were not given food and they filtered water to absorb oxygen. So they removed 12% of the viruses from the water.

Of all the organisms that scientists tested, sponges, crabs, and heart-shaped viruses filtered the best. Sea sponges reduced the presence of viruses by 94% within three hours. Researchers put different types of viruses into the water, but the effectiveness of the sponges did not decrease.