Experts at the California-based shark advocacy group said 500,000 sharks could be killed to produce vaccines for the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Telegraph newspaper writes.
Squalene, which is produced in shark liver, is reported to be part of some potential COVID-19 vaccines. British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is currently using shark liver squalene to create adjuvants for use in influenza vaccines. The company said in May that it intends to produce a billion doses of the compound for potential use in coronavirus vaccines.
Shark Allies, a group of shark advocates, estimates that to vaccinate everyone in the world with one dose of squalene-containing COVID-19 vaccine, it will take about 250,000 sharks to be killed, doubling if each person needs two shots.
However, a GlaxoSmithKline spokesman said the company is “committed to the environment and is exploring alternative sources of raw materials whenever possible.”
Earlier in July, UK authorities entered into an agreement with two pharmaceutical companies – France’s Sanofi and Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – to supply up to 60 million doses of the firms’ COVID-19 vaccine. By the end of this year, the companies hope to begin the third phase of clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine.
In April of this year, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that they would join forces to create a vaccine against the coronavirus. Sanofi is expected to offer its S-100 protein-based COVID-19 antigen for the project, based on recombinant DNA technology. GSK provided its initial contribution with adjuvant technology (a complex of substances to enhance the immune response when administered concurrently with an immunogen), which has proven itself in previous pandemics. It has been noted that the combination of a protein antigen with an adjuvant is an established method used in many active vaccines.