Squalene, an organic compound harvested from shark livers, is used in a variety of areas, including pharmacology. It is the main ingredient in adjuvants, which are used to improve immune system responses to vaccines. Squalene-based adjuvants are currently used in vaccines to prevent different strains of influenza and coronaviruses.
Up to 500,000 sharks could be killed in order to produce a coronavirus vaccine, warned Shark Allies, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to restoring and preserving the shark population. The group’s estimates suggest that in order to vaccinate the world’s population with one inoculation for COVID-19, around 250,000 sharks would need to be killed. Given that previous studies said people would need two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to develop an immune response, means that half a million of sharks could be killed to rid humanity of COVID-19.
Shark Allies notes that many shark species, such as the gulper shark and basking shark have been classified as vulnerable, meaning their populations are decreasing. The group notes that the use of squalene harvested from sharks, could result in a disaster, with some species becoming endangered or even going extinct.
“Harvesting something from a wild animal is never going to be sustainable, especially if it’s a top predator that doesn’t reproduce in huge numbers”, said Stefanie Brendl, founder and executive director of Shark Allies.
The conservationist group says that squalene could also be produced from plants, but that process is approximately 30 percent more expensive than harvesting squalene from sharks.
“One of the reasons shark squalene is cheaper is because of the ease of extraction of squalene from the shark. Squalene with a purity of >98% is obtained directly from the liver oil of a shark after a single distillation phase in a vacuum at temperatures of 200-230 degrees Celsius. This process takes only 10 hours whereas nearly 70 hours of processing are required to obtain olive oil squalene with a purity higher than 92%. The purity of non-shark-derived squalene, however, can be comparable to that of shark squalene”, Shark Allies wrote in their petition addressed to various agencies in Britain, the European Union, and the United States and signed by more than 11,000 people.
The group notes that it is in no way asking pharmaceutical companies to slow down the process of producing a COVID-19 vaccine, but merely asks them to use non-animal derived squalene.
Source:- Sputnik International
COVID-19 Bulletin #226 – news.gov.mb.ca
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Calgary wedding resulted in at least 49 COVID-19 cases: Alberta Health – Global News
Alberta Health says 49 active COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding in Calgary earlier this month.
The health agency says the wedding had a large number of Albertans from different households.
Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan says aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed to make sure they are isolating and getting tested.
What’s a COVID-19 close contact?
He did not say how many people attended the wedding and says specifics about individual cases cannot be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.
COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province say a maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor and indoor seated events, such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances.
“COVID-19 loves parties and we need to keep this in mind [when] planning social events,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during her Tuesday update on COVID-19 in Alberta.
Albertans with COVID-19 becoming more uncooperative during contact tracing: Hinshaw
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said this case is only one of several across the province linked to private gatherings.
She stressed Albertans should work to keep their gatherings as small as possible and that being outside is always preferable to being indoors.
“Perhaps people were trying to stay distanced or there wasn’t hand sanitizer available and some were wearing masks but not all and some of that distancing wasn’t possible,” Hinshaw said.
“l don’t have granular details, but a common element seems to be people were indoors together in a social context and unfortunately enough of those layers slipped enough that widespread transmission happened.”
McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings.
“This is a reminder to all Albertans that this virus is still here and any social gathering carries a risk of exposure,” he said in an email Tuesday.
“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results.”
He says it is also important that organizers do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including having enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, following gathering size restrictions and avoiding sharing food and utensils.
– With files from Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED
© 2020 The Canadian Press
Alberta adds 323 COVID-19 cases, Dr. Hinshaw 'concerned' about hospitalizations – CTV Edmonton
Active cases of COVID-19 saw another increase Tuesday after Alberta’s top doctor reported 323 new cases of the disease.
There are now 3,203 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Alberta, with 1,607 in the Edmonton zone and 1,043 in the Calgary zone.
Alberta Health also reported one more death as a result of COVID-19 in a man in his 70s linked to the outbreak at Edmonton’s Terra Losa Lifestyle Options retirement home.
Eight per cent of schools across the province have been affected by the coronavirus since September, with 512 active cases and 96 outbreaks.
Alberta has reported 22,996 cases and 293 deaths since March.
Hospitalizations decreased slightly to 116, including 16 patients in ICU, but the chief medical officer of health is concerned about the current numbers.
“Last week I mentioned the trend in higher hospitalization numbers is something that we are watching closely,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. “We are currently at a compounded daily COVID hospitalization rise of 3.1 per cent across the province in the past two weeks, which is getting closer to the five per cent trigger threshold.”
Hinshaw previously announced a five per cent hospitalization rate would trigger mandatory restrictions.
The factors for the increase in hospitalizations, she said, are mainly community spread and several hospital outbreaks.
Alberta is currently using 23 per cent of the 70 ICU beds allocated to COVID-19 patients.
EDMONTON ZONE DATA
The chief medical officer of health is also concerned about the Edmonton zone having just over half of Alberta’s COVID-19 infections.
It has been two weeks since she introduced some voluntary restriction in the capital region. The situation has improved slightly — but some worrying signs remain.
Hinshaw revealed the Edmonton zone’s reproduction value has decreased from 1.35 to 1.17, but that isn’t good enough.
“This is a good start, but the bad news is that anytime the R-value remains above 1, the number of cases is still growing. We need to bring this value below 1 to reduce the burden on our health system.”
The city of Edmonton has 1,318 active cases.
NEW TESTING CHANGE
One month ago, Hinshaw changed Alberta Health Services’ testing strategy to focus asymptomatic testing solely on priority groups.
But with cold and flu season, wait times have not decreased as much as health officials hoped.
So, effective immediately, AHS will only test Albertans with symptoms and people with close contacts and linked to outbreaks.
“The evidence is clear: Asymptomatic individuals without known exposures are not driving the spread in Alberta,” Hinshaw said.
Asymptomatic appointments already booked will be kept until Nov. 4.
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