EXTRAORDINARY INNOVATIONS IN ANIMAL-FREE VACCINE TESTING THAT OFFER HOPE
PETA Coronavirus Researcher Shares New Testing Techniques for COVID-19 Vaccines, Treatments, and Our Future
Samantha Saunders, BVetMed, Ph.D., MRCVS, Research Associate for PETA U.K. (a veterinarian with a doctorate in coronavirology)
Scientists worldwide are racing to find effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. For some, this means falling back on outdated and notoriously ineffective tests that waste time waiting to see what happens in beagles or monkeys, when the vast majority of such efforts fail to lead to human therapies or cures. Fortunately, tremendous advancements in state-of-the-art, human-relevant methods—like organs-on-chips, sophisticated, high speed computer simulations that use human data, and 3D tissue models—enable breathtaking scientific progress without harming a hair on an animal’s head. Scientists in Tennessee, for example, are using the world’s smartest supercomputer to rapidly identify existing drugs that might fight COVID-19. Those drugs can then be tested in coronavirus-infected human cells before progressing to responsibly conducted human trials. This saves huge amounts of time and can safely bring treatments to clinical trials far sooner than bizarre and useless methods, like using genetically engineered mice.
DID YOU KNOW THESE FACTS?:
· 95% of new drugs that appear safe and effective in animal studies go on to fail in human trials.
· Mice do not naturally carry the COVID-19 virus receptor, therefore they have to be genetically engineered to be susceptible to the disease. This proves to be an ineffective practice for generating results that are applicable to humans, and causes suffering and death for many mice.
· For the first time ever, vaccines have gone directly to human trials without waiting for the results of animal trials. This demonstrates that, in the face of a crisis, medicines regulators—including the FDA—deem that some animal tests are not ultimately necessary for the protection of human health.
For more information please visit: www.PETA.org
More About Samantha Saunders:
Samantha Saunders, BVetMed, Ph.D., MRCVS, is a research associate for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) U.K., where she works with European Union regulators to replace cruel chemical tests on animals with superior and humane non-animal methods. She is a veterinarian and holds a doctorate in coronavirology.