The highly contagious COVID-19 originated in China, and it has left a trail of death all over the world. There is no known cure, and scientists are trying to evolve a vaccine. This is a long drawn out process, and Daily Mail UK reveals that one of the vaccine ingredients is natural oil produced in sharks' liver. Hundreds and thousands of them may have to be slaughtered for the oil. A wildlife expert claims this number would be around half a million. The use of shark oil or squalene is not be something new. Medicines that include current flu jabs already use it.

This oil helps to increase the effectiveness of a vaccine by creating a stronger immune response. It is expected to enter the manufacturing chain of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Daily Mail UK says the number of sharks to be slaughtered would be around 500,000 if the global population requires two doses for each person. This is the estimate of the conservationist group Shark Allies. As Stefanie Brendl, founder and executive director of 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." She adds that it would be preferable to explore possibilities of using non-animal derived squalene.

She cautions that it might not be a one-time exercise. In case it becomes a recurring affair for decades to come, depending on a wild animal resource would not be advisable because it is not a reliable supply chain.

The world needs the COVID-19 vaccine

The group Shark Allies is on an awareness drive to pass on a message. It wants the manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine to opt for an alternative to squalene from sharks.

This product is not unique to sharks. There are non-animal-based sources like yeast, sugarcane, and olive oil. Daily Mail UK relies on Shark Allies' information that says a Silicon Valley-based company extracts squalene from sugarcane. It claims to have the ability to produce it for one billion vaccines within a short time.

However, it requires approval for use in vaccines. The company is in dialogue with the authorities in the United States on the subject.

WHO says COVID-19 vaccines are under evaluation

Daily Mail UK quotes the World Health Organization WHO as saying several COVID-19 vaccines are under clinical evaluation or preclinical evaluation. Shark Allies adds that some of these vaccines use adjuvants, and five of them are shark-based squalene. (An adjuvant is a pharmacological or immunological agent that improves the immune response of a vaccine.) The group clarifies that shark-based squalene sources are usually Indonesia and the Philippines, and they are processed in China. Incidentally, the gulper shark is rich in squalene but is categorized as vulnerable.

Daily Mail UK goes on to add that already millions of sharks are killed every year for squalene to cater to the needs of other products like cosmetics and machine oil. To extract one tonne of squalene, nearly 3,000 sharks need to be killed.

Shark oil will go to make COVID-19 vaccines

According to Sky News, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has seen people dying regularly all over the world. The disease does not have any cure, and doctors advise people to avoid direct contact with others. Laboratories are working overtime to come up with a vaccine. This requires a natural oil from sharks. The number of these predators that will require to be killed to make vaccines for the whole world is overwhelming. Therefore, an alternative is necessary for squalene, the shark oil.

This is because the requirement is unpredictable. One option is a synthetic version made from fermented sugar cane. For the records - Vietnam was able to control COVID-19 by taking prompt action at all levels. Los Angeles County reacted to COVID-19 by shutting its bars.