COVID-19 Research: With or Without Animals?
Enormous efforts from scientists around the world are furthering our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection, in order to develop new, or identify existing, treatments. In the second session, we will use SARS-CoV-2 as an example to discuss why using research methods and tools that are based on human biology is crucial to finding effective and safe treatments and cures for human illnesses.
Key questions include: Which non-human animals are currently used to find treatments for SARS-CoV-2? Why are such procedures done even though it is increasingly evident that results from animal experiments are not predictive of human responses? What innovative non-animal methods are available and now used to tackle the COVID crisis? And why are we still relying on animals for safety testing?
We have seen that some companies may restrain from extensive animal testing in the early phases of vaccine development to accelerate the move to clinical trials. However, does this merely delay the use of animals since later on in the process animals are still used for testing, as this remains a legal requirement? The need for a more agile regulatory processes, and what is required to create regulatory changes that remove animals from these requirements, will also be discussed.
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