Yup, sharks! Just uttering the word is enough to strike fear in most people’s soul to stop them in their tracks and make them all scream “Holy heaven!” but unsurprisingly, there are others who can’t seem to get enough of them! (Shark week people) Some of these folks would feed the sharks, physically touch the sharks, and even swim with the sharks! Why would anyone want to feed sharks, let alone swim with them you ask? Well it’s mainly because they’re cool fishes and they have been here well before dinosaurs; let’s be real, dinosaurs are pretty cool too. Some of the earliest known sharks trace back to some 420 million years ago. Also recently, scientists had found sharks to be pretty useful as well.
Dogfish sharks, to be exact, were recently found to have this “cholesterol-like” compound in their skins that could fight viruses such as dengue fever and hepatitis. This compound is called squalamine and has already been used in clinical trials with no known side effects so far. When this compound enters the human body, it attaches itself to cell membranes and it ejects any previously positively charged proteins that were present because squalamine is positively charged. When virus invades the cells, they assumed there were proteins attached to the cells, and thus attacks them viciously in order to reproduce. But without the proteins, the virus can’t replicate themselves at all. (Too bad right?)
Some scientists proclaimed that because sharks had squalamine in their system, it helped them adapt and defend against diseases and viruses. This might explain why sharks had existed for so long and had been able to undergo countless “evolutionary processes” to survive half a billion years!
So now the question is: should we kill another living creature in order to acquire an antidote for our own benefit, or try an alternative route to develop and obtain another substance that has the same capabilities as squalamine? Also click on this link: Bazinga!
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