Nusantaratv.with– Half a million shark can be killed and its natural oils taken to produce the corona virus vaccine, experts say.
One of the ingredients used in some of the coronavirus vaccine candidates is squalene, a natural oil made in shark livers.
Squalene is currently used as an adjuvant in medicine – a substance that increases the effectiveness of vaccines by creating a stronger immune response.
British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline currently uses shark squalene in the flu vaccine.
The company said it would produce one billion doses of this adjuvant for potential use in a coronavirus vaccine by May.
About 3,000 sharks are needed to extract one tonne of squalene.
Shark Allies, a group based in California, recommends that if the world‘s population received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine containing liver oil, about 250,000 sharks would need to be slaughtered, depending on the amount of squalene used.
If two doses were needed to immunize the global population, according to the researchers, this would increase to half a million.
To avoid the threat to shark populations, scientists are testing alternatives to squalene – a synthetic version made from fermented sugarcane.
Stefanie Brendl, founder and executive director of Shark Allies, said: “Harvesting something from wild animals will never be sustainable, especially if it is a top predator that doesn’t breed in large numbers.
“There is so much that is not known about how big and how long this pandemic will last, then how many versions we have to go through, that if we continue to use sharks the number of sharks being taken for this product could be very high, year after year.” he said.
According to experts, about three million sharks are killed annually for squalene, which is also used in cosmetics and machine oils.
There are concerns that a sudden increase in demand for liver oil could threaten populations and see more species endangered as many species rich in squalene, such as the gulper shark, are already vulnerable.-Skynews