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Health, Immunity

The Role of Squalene in Vaccines

Hexamethyltetracosa Hexaene – also known as squalene – is a very rare isoprenoid molecule derived from the liver of deep-sea sharks. Despite being widely researched since the 1960s, this mysterious substance is currently generating lots of public interest after the media reported its presence in a number of the COVID-19 vaccines.

In the pharmaceutical industry, squalene serves an important role as an ‘adjuvant’ which helps to increase the body’s immune response to a vaccine’s active ingredient. One example of squalene being used in this way is the common flu vaccine, specifically those which contain viral proteins, parts of the virus or a disabled virus.

Pharma-grade squalene is present in five under development COVID-19 vaccines, most notably the Sanofi-GSK vaccine and their pandemic adjuvant system, which has the trade name AS03 (Adjuvant System 03).

Squalene works perfectly as an adjuvant since its immune-boosting capacity allows manufacturers to use less of the active ingredient in each dose. If the amount of active ingredient needed can be decreased, it makes it easier and quicker to scale up production of the vaccines and also helps to minimise some of the side effects associated with the active ingredients. In addition, squalene also helps to stabilise the protein or virus being used so that the vaccines can be stored and shipped without the need for freezing.

It is worth pointing out that any pharmaceutical companies using squalene – are not involved in active hunting and fishing of sharks. The squalene comes from sharks that have been accidentally caught by boats fishing for other species. This means that there is an incredibly limited supply of ethical squalene, with no guarantees as to how much can be sourced each year.

It is not just pharmaceutical products that contain this powerful natural substance, some dietary supplements also contain squalene as the main ingredient. One such product is SE85 Cellular Rejuvenation supplement, which uses the same high-quality pharmaceutical grade squalene in its immune-boosting capsule in combination with natural astaxanthin and natural vitamin E.