Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline plans to launch a drug that enhances the body’s immune response when infected with coronavirus, containing a substance called squalene. Squalene is found in large quantities in shark liver, therefore, it is problematic to obtain it by any synthetic means. Other ways are still available, for example, from linseed or olive oil, but these methods are much more expensive.
According to experts, it would take about 250,000 sharks to be destroyed to create a sufficient amount of the drug, but since vaccination, as a rule, takes place in two stages, the amount of squalene required doubles.
An additional complication is the fact that most sharks rich in squalene are rare species, so such a damage to their population will be critical for survival.
According to statistics, now every year about three million sharks are killed because of squalene mining. The substance is actively used in the cosmetic industry to create various moisturizing and anti-aging creams, as well as in the production of automotive oil.
Despite assurances from GlaxoSmithKline that the drug should help the immune system better cope with COVID-19, it will be problematic to obtain permission to catch so many sharks.