A possible COVID-19 vaccine relies on shark livers, and conservationists are warning it could decimate the shark population.
A British pharmaceutical company called GlaxoSmithKline currently manufactures a flu vaccine, which includes shark squalene, which is a natural oil produced in the liver. It's known to create a strong response from the recipient's immune system.
The company plans to produce A BILLION DOSES of a coronavirus vaccine, which would include shark squalene.
An environmental group called Shark Allies, claims a quarter-of-a-million sharks would have to be killed to produce the necessary amount of squalene for one dose per person. If 2 doses are required -- which may well be the case -- we're talking half a million sharks that would be killed.
Stefanie Brendl, who runs Shark Allies, says, "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."
Squalene is a coveted ingredient in cosmetics and machine oil. Estimates are that 3 million sharks are killed every year for squalene. BTW ... Orca whales prey on shark livers and can almost surgically remove them. Some shark livers weigh as much as 180 lbs.