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Swine Flu Kills Sharks

Sharks are not, of course, dying directly from catching this deadly virus. However, they are dying as a result of efforts to eradicate the virus among humans and other land animals.

The production process of the H1N1 vaccine requires squalene -  an acyclic hydrocarbon C30H50. this substance is widely available in nature through olive oil, wheat germ oil and rice bran oil, but only in very small quantities. At the moment large quantities of the vaccine are needed and the best source of squalene is sebum and shark-liver oils. Deep-water sharks provide the most squalene.

Pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the vaccine have refused to say how much squalene they are harvesting from sharks but admit that sharks have been a source of this component.

Many shark species are already threatened and this can only put more pressure on their survival, especially since deep-water sharks (the best source of squalene) have reproductive rates.

 

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