Apparently, hundreds of thousands of sharks may need to die to supply the world with a covid-safe vaccine.
A nonprofit organization estimates about 500,000 deep-sea sharks may need to die because of their livers.
A shark’s liver contains oil called squalene that is a common ingredient in vaccines that help create a stronger immune response.
The compound, which has largely also been used as a moisturising agent in cosmetics such as skin creams and lip balms, has been used in US flu vaccines since 2016 and has an “excellent safety record”, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Squalene could also lower the amount of vaccine ingredients needed for each person, meaning more could be produced with less.
Shark Allies, a group that fights to reduce overfishing of sharks, believes most shark species will be unable to recover from the large demand needed to produce a global vaccine.
Also, some threatened species might die off for good.
Instead, the group suggests using non-animal alternatives that offer equally effective squalene such as yeast, bacteria, sugarcane and olive oil.
However, squalene from sources other than sharks is more expensive and takes longer to extract.
Shark Allies wrote an online petition with more than 13,000 signatures earlier this week.
About three million sharks are killed each year for their squalene, according to the nonprofit. Depending on the dosage, about 22,000 sharks could be killed to supply the US with Covid vaccines.