Developers of the COVID-19 vaccine need an oil commonly found in sharks — which puts the lives of more than half a million sharks at risk.

What’s going on?

Researchers plan to use a natural oil called squalene to help develop their COVID-19 vaccine, according to Sky News.

  • Squalene is common found in shark livers.
  • The ingredient often helps create a strong immune response.

For example, the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline uses shark squalene in their flu vaccines.

  • The company told Sky News that it might need close to 1 billion doses of the adjuvant for the coronavirus vaccine.
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Response:

Shark Allies, a California-based group, recently said that about 250,000 sharks would need to be killed in order to get that amount of squalene for the coronavirus doses, according to Tech Times.

Shark Allies founder and executive director Stefanie Brendl told Tech Times that “harvesting something from a wild animal is never going to be sustainable.”

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  • The group as organized a petition to help stop the continued use of shark squalene.

It’s a similar story for monkeys:

Experts recently said that the United States does not have enough monkeys to help develop a COVID-19 vaccine to end the pandemic, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • Researchers said they use monkeys before humans to test a vaccine’s efficacy and safety first. But there is currently a shortage of monkeys because there are so many vaccines in development.