As we cross 1 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide, the biggest challenge faced by scientists is to produce vaccines rapidly in a large number. Nothing can go back to normal until we all get a vaccine.
While the research is going on to find the most efficient vaccine valued at the lowest prices, conservationists warn people that around half a million sharks may be slaughtered in the process.
Why Are Sharks Under Threat To Make COVID-19 Vaccine?
Every vaccine requires an immunological agent called an adjuvant, which makes it more efficient. The Latin word adjuvant means “to help.” It helps the vaccine fight the infection better by producing more antibodies.
Squalene is the adjuvant that has proved to be promising against the novel coronavirus. It is found in the liver of sharks, human beings, and several other animals. Commercially, sharks are considered the best source for squalene.
Sharks use the liver oils to regulate buoyancy in water. The deeper the shark lives in the ocean, the more squalene will be present in it. This is why deep-sea sharks like Gulperand Basking are the most in-demand for this oil.
GlaxoSmithKline, a UK-based pharma company, already uses shark squalene to make vaccines against the flu. Recently, it announced the mass production of 100 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Shark Allies – A California-Based Conservation Group Has Raised Concerns
As per the estimate by Shark Allies, 2.5 lac sharks would have to be slaughtered to create one dose of vaccine for every single person on the planet. Assuming that two doses are required per person, 5 lac sharks would be killed in the process.
Sharks, just like several other animals, already bear the brunt of human activities. 30 lakh sharks are already killed each year for squalene for cosmetics, vaccines, and other products.
Sharks do not reproduce in large numbers. Conservationists fear their endangerment if they get slaughtered for the COVID-19 vaccine. Deep-sea sharks are already on the verge of endangerment, and this will only add to more vulnerability.
Squalene can be produced by plants also, although the quantity decreases considerably. But, it is still a better option as compared to butchering lacs of innocent sharks. Conservationists are pleading the pharma companies to switch to greener ways of producing squalene.
To make more and more people aware of this, a petition has been started on Change.org. More than 39 thousand people have already signed it. If you stand for animal protection and conservation, then take a moment to sign it: Petition Link
Mass-murdering sharks for squalene is short-sighted and poses a threat to the environment. The action must be taken today to secure the future of animal kind.
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