Half A Million Sharks Might Be Killed For COVID Vaccine, Experts Warn

by Tania Tarafdar
Half A Million Sharks Might Be Killed For COVID Vaccine, Experts Warn

COVID-19 is not only taking the lives of humans, but it is proving fatal to the animals too? You ask how? Over half a million sharks could be killed and harvested in an attempt to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Squalene, an oil in shark livers, is used rapidly in cosmetics and medicines, including potential COVID-19 vaccines already being produced. The found in the liver of sharks helps to strengthen immune response and increases the effectiveness of potential vaccines.

Also read: Covid-19 Vaccine: A Detailed List Of Who’s Eligible And Who’s Not

3,000 Sharks Need To Be killed For One Tonne Of Squalene

But the fact is, harvesting anything from a wild animal is never going to be sustainable. It can be even worse if the animal is a top predator that doesn’t reproduce in huge numbers. Plus, there is no certainty on how long the pandemic might go on and how many waves of it we have to suffer. If we continue to use sharks, the numbers of sharks harvested for the vaccine could be really high, year after year. To produce one tonne of squalene, roughly 3,000 sharks need to be killed. Just for one dose of the vaccine, up to 250,000 sharks could be killed for their oils. The numbers can be doubled if two doses are needed for effective treatment.

Shark Dive New Zealand
Shark Dive New Zealand

3 Million Sharks Are Killed Each Year

According to estimates, around three million sharks are killed for their squalene each year. The pandemic has led to the increased demand for squalene that could threaten populations of the already endangered shark species, such as the gulper shark. Although gulper is found all over the world, numbers have already dropped as much as 80% in some areas. Gulpers are usually caught for its fins and meat. Baby Shark Is The Latest Song Added To Dubai’s Fountain Show.

Dive With Sharks At Mossel Bay

Squalene Can Be Alternatively Extracted From Plants & Algae

Shark Allies has launched a change.org petition to stop the use of sharks in vaccine development; the petition has already gained more than 11,000 signatures. Squalene is commonly used because it is cheap to obtain and not because it is more effective than other sources. Alternatives to the oil from shark liver can be extracted from plants and algae, which could be used as a potential replacement for sharks. Divers Swim With A 20-Foot White Shark Off The Hawaii Coast.

Amyris, a squalene producer in California, extracts the oil from sugarcane so quickly that the company could produce enough for one billion vaccines in a month.