She says during the pandemic more sharks are harvested for squalene, an oil found in their livers and often used to increase the effectiveness of vaccines.
“The more products we offer that require shark parts, the more we feed those 100,000,000 sharks a year,” she said.
Brendl says many drug companies are using shark squalene to produce a vaccine against the coronavirus and that if everyone in the world received two doses, 500,000 sharks would have to be slaughtered to meet demand.
“We need to look at this and we need to hold the vaccine companies accountable for testing alternatives,” she said.
One of the companies, Brendl, calls on the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which plans to manufacture 1 billion doses of a “pandemic vaccine” in 2021.
While GSK claims that squalene extracted from shark livers is used in some of its vaccines, the company claims that it is also exploring squalene found in certain plants.
“A research team tried to make yeast so that you could grow yeast cultures similar to fermented beer,” said David Kroll, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus.
He says finding a cure for the coronavirus will be the biggest vaccination undertaking in recent medical history.
“The biggest concern is whether more sharks will need to be killed for this monumental global effort,” Kroll said.
Shark experts believe this is a global challenge.
“Many of the targeted sharks are deep-sea sharks and are found in open ocean environments that may not be protected,” said Chris Lowe, professor of marine biology and director of the Shark Lab at California State University. , Long. Beach.
He says tens of millions of sharks are already killed each year and that some companies poach shark corpses for squalene in order to make many products ranging from vaccines to cosmetics.
Lowe warns that an increase in murders could impact our ecosystem.
“These animals play a very important role that could affect people on earth,” he said.
While the cost of a cure for COVID-19 is still unknown, Lowe says killing more sharks could lead to the extinction of several species of sharks.