Despite myths perpetuated by animal activists, animal models remain critical to ensure that vaccines developed to prevent COVID 19 infections do not make those patients worse as a result of such treatment, as Dr. Fauci recently acknowledged during a briefing at the White House.
As also reported in Catching up to Coronavirus: Top 60 Treatments in Development, “[m]ost of the therapy candidates for COVID-19 . . . were vaccines that are only in animal testing stages.”
Matthew R. Bailey, President, National Association for Biomedical Research, noting the criticality of animal research in halting the spread of coronavirus, reported that “[two researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison just announced that they’ll ‘test medical countermeasures such as vaccines and therapeutics’ in nonhuman primates. They hope to discover how much of the coronavirus enters the body, where it infects the lungs, and how immune systems respond to it.”
Researchers and scientists throughout the United States are developing effective treatment models, first based on studies in genetically modified mice. Such work is supported by the National Institutes of Health, and is a continuation of previous studies investigating the pathogenesis and treatment against other viruses, e.g., Nipah, Ebola and MERS, studied in rhesus macaques.
Such animal studies cannot be bypassed or replaced by computer simulation or organs on a chip. COVID 19 causes multisystem infection that can only be adequately tested on entire organisms. The current Phase I human vaccine trials underway in Seattle were preceded by testing in animal models:
The investigational vaccine was developed using a genetic platform called mRNA (messenger RNA). The investigational vaccine directs the body’s cells to express a virus protein that it is hoped will elicit a robust immune response. The mRNA-1273 vaccine has shown promise in animal models, and this is the first trial to examine it in humans.
There is no requirement for those opposed to the use of animal models in biomedical research to seek preventative or therapeutic treatment related to COVID 19 or other devastating human and animal illnesses, when such therapies were developed with animal heroes. But such activists should not stand in the way of millions of others who accept the importance of the humane use of animal models and understand the rigors imposed on such researchers, who even without such mandates, would provide these animals with humane care while bred, raised and used throughout these critical life-saving endeavors.