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Around half a million of this already endangered fish to be slaughtered for making the COVID vaccine

By Anwesha Dash

500,000 sharks might be killed to make the COVID-19 vaccine, experts say.

This pandemic had every country hugely investing in healthcare and every citizen praying for a vaccine or an antidote. And now nearly 6 months into the pandemic and quarantine, various vaccines are kept on trial. Many nations with advanced technologies and investments have already made notable headway in the vaccine making process.

The most significant part of a vaccine is the adjuvant. It is an immunological component that empowers the vaccine with a strong immune response and helps the vaccine make more antibodies. Squalene is a well-known adjuvant that is found in many animals in the form of natural oil, but the shark liver is the most economical and feasible source. Therefore to acquire one tonne of squalene nearly 3000 sharks have to be slaughtered.

If each person in this world was to be vaccinated then nearly 2.5 lakhs sharks would be killed. And the number would double if each person was to be given 2 doses of the vaccine, warned a California-based conservation group called Shark Allies.

According to Stefanie Brendl, the founder of Shark Allies, they are not trying to "hinder or slow down the development of a COVID-19 vaccine" but they think that the vaccine shouldn't be at the expense of mass slaughter and instead, plant-based compounds should be used for the vaccines. And sharks are already endangered because of their frequent killings for cosmetic products or the exotic delicacy shark fin soup. So the added brunt for the vaccine might make these species of carnivorous fish face extinction in a few years.

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