The world is struggling to fight the deadly coronavirus, every day. With the rising numbers and deaths, the need for vaccination has become a priority for the scientists. According to recent reports, to produce coronavirus vaccines, around half a million sharks can get killed to extract natural oil from them.Also Read - Prithvi Shaw And Suryakumar Yadav to Fly to England on July 31 on Special Provision
You read that right. As reported by Sky News there is one ingredient that is widely used in some coronavirus vaccine candidates- Squalene. It is a natural oil that is found in the liver of sharks. The ingredient Squalene is currently used as an adjuvant in medicine – an ingredient that increases the effectiveness of a vaccine by creating a stronger immune response. Also Read - Delta Variant May Spread Like Chickenpox, Cause More Severe Infection Than Other Forms of COVID-19: Reports
The report further said that British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has been using shark squalene in flu vaccines. Recently, the company went on record and said that it will manufacture a billion doses of this ingredient adjuvant to make vaccines for coronavirus vaccines. Also Read - After Kerala, Another Southern State Witnesses Steep Spike In Covid Cases
Well, to your shock, we need 3,000 sharks to extract one tonne of squalene.
A California-based group- Shark Allies suggests, “If the world’s population received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine containing the liver oil, around 250,000 sharks would need to be slaughtered, depending on the amount of squalene used,” read the report.
And if we need two doses to immunize the global population, according to researchers which is likely, the number of sharks being slaughtered will increase to half a million.
To avoid such an inhumane act, scientists are testing alternatives to squalene- a synthetic version made from fermented sugar cane, it read.
“Harvesting something from a wild animal is never going to be sustainable, especially if it’s a top predator that doesn’t reproduce in huge numbers,” Stefanie Brendl, founder and executive director of Shark Allies said. Adding,
“There are so many unknowns of how big and how long this pandemic might go on, and then how many versions of it we have to go through, that if we continue using sharks, the numbers of sharks taken for this product could be really high, year after year after year.”
Conservationists shared estimates that say around three million sharks are killed every year just to extract squalene, an oil which is also used in cosmetics and machines.
Sharks are not the only endangered species, reportedly there is a fear that due to the sudden rise in demand for the liver oil there will other species that will be vulnerable too. Gulper shark is already vulnerable.