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500,000 sharks may have to die to fight COVID-19, says advocacy group

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The path to the coronavirus vaccine can destroy the shark population because of an oil called squalene.

Shark Allies, a non-profit organization that advocates overfishing for sharks, recently published an estimate of how many sharks will have to die to produce enough oil – already used in some flu vaccines – to serve people in the world. worldwide.

In flu vaccines, about 10 mg of squalene is added to produce a more effective immune response, according to the World Health Organization.

Shark livers are made mostly of squalene, and animals use oils to regulate their buoyancy, Ocean says. The organization reports that sharks that live in deeper waters have more oil in their livers. This makes deep-sea sharks a target.

In addition to flu vaccines, squalene can also be found in cosmetics from anti-aging creams to lip glosses. The compound can also be found in other sources, such as humans, animals and plants.

“Squalene, made from shark liver oil, is most commonly used because it is inexpensive to obtain and easy to find, not because it is more effective than other sources,”

; the Change.org petition said. Shark Allies’ Change.org.

Shark Allies says that approximately 2.7-3 million sharks have already been killed each year and that this number could grow exponentially to produce vaccines against COVID-19. The group estimates that about 3,000 sharks will be needed to produce 1 ton of squalene.

The Change.org petition continues: “In short, the exploitation of sharks as a key ingredient in the vaccine, which can be obtained from more sustainable and reliable non-animal alternatives, is a harmful and destructive approach.”

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