More than half of sharks could be killed for COVID-19 vaccine, activists warn

Activists are warning that sharks may become indirect victims of the coronovirus epidemic, as at least five of the COVID-19 vaccines currently under development contain squalene, which is currently commercially produced by sharks.

Assuming one of those vaccines is being produced globally and that every person on the planet receives two doses, more than half a million sharks will be killed, according to Shark Mitra, a California advocacy group.

This would potentially endanger the vulnerable shark population, the group said, urging more research into the manufacture of squalene from plants such as fermented sugarcane.

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According to the World Health Organization, squalene is a component of some adjuvant drugs that are added to vaccines to enhance the immune response. It is a flu vaccine and a component in many experimental vaccines, including malaria, the WHO has said.

Shark Alize founder and executive director Stephanie Brendel told the Telegraph, “Getting anything from a wild animal is never sustainable, especially if it’s a top predator that doesn’t breed in large numbers”.

A lab technician processes blood samples for COVID-19 vaccine research, Miami, Florida, September 2, 2020. (AP Photo / Tammy Alvarez)

“How big and how long this epidemic can last, and then how many versions of it we have to go through, that if we keep using sharks, the number of sharks taken for this product can actually be higher , Year after year, “she said.

“Many species intended to be rich in squalene, such as sycamore sharks and basking sharks, are classified as unsafe, meaning their populations are declining and endangered if danger conditions persist. Can be. ”

Shark friends say that an estimated 2.7–3 million sharks are already killed each year for their squalane.

According to the group, the five vaccines that contain shark squalene are GSK, Clover Biopharmaceutical, Securus / University of Queensland / CSL, Medicago Inc. And is being developed by the pharmacologist veterinarian DAC / Universitad Peruana Ketana Heredia.

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