Over 5 lakh sharks may die in race to develop Covid vaccine

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 28, 2020 Published on September 28, 2020

The group had agreed in general that the first batch of the vaccine will be given to frontline healthcare workers   -  Bloomberg

According to a report by SharkAllies, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of sharks and rays, half-a-million sharks may die because of the race to create a vaccine against coronavirus.

Shark Allies sent a petition that was addressed to US/FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America), UK/MHRA (The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency of the United Kingdom), EU/EMA (The European Medicines Agency), China: NMPA (The National Medical Products Administration) and all vaccine-producing companies.

They said in their petition: “Using sharks in Covid-19 vaccines is short-sighted, unpredictable, and unsustainable. There are better alternatives. The industry must listen.”

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The report mentioned that the companies are using shark squalene as the main ingredient in some adjuvants to boost efficacy in vaccines. Squalene made from shark liver oil is used most commonly because it is cheap to obtain and easy to come by, not because it is more effective than other sources.

The non-profit believes that this is not a viable option for the mass production of the vaccine against the virus.

Shark Allies want the replacement of squalene with non-animal squalene.

The report further stated that the majority of cheap shark squalene comes from countries that are poorly regulated in terms of fisheries and fish oil production.

According to the WHO, currently, there are 34 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 142 vaccines in preclinical evaluation.

Of these vaccines, 17 use adjuvants, and 5 of those adjuvants are shark-squalene based, the report added.

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Published on September 28, 2020
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