Experts Believe Coronavirus Vaccines Should be Tested on Humans Directly Versus Animals

onegreenplanet.org

By Eliza Erskine 5-6 minutes


In an effort to increase the time until a coronavirus treatment and vaccine is available, lawmakers, experts and medical facilities are looking to humans instead of animals to be tested for potential vaccines.

Peter Singer and Richard Yetter Chappell argued the case for testing on humans in a recent Washington Post op-ed. The slow speed of animal testing makes it a less than ideal solution to coronavirus vaccine. “For example, conventional standards require that new drugs be tested on animals before clinical trials with humans are permitted. For covid-19, sufficiently promising treatments should jump to human clinical trials as soon as is reasonably possible, bypassing the usual lengthy period of animal testing,” they wrote.

Pandemic situations dictate that the “significant risk” associated with human testing isn’t equal to the “catastropic toll” the virus could cause around the globe. United States lawmakers are recommending that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), allow human trials for coronavirus testing. “[A] more risk-tolerant development process is likely appropriate in the case of a COVID-19 vaccine. The enormous human cost of the COVID-19 epidemic alters the optimization of the risk/benefit analysis, ” the group’s statement shared.

Texas A&M University is known for its medical facilities usually used for animal testing. The university is asking the government to allow it to switch processes to test on humans to increase national testing capabilities.  The FDA requires that people with human lab experience to manage human testing and the university is seeking a waiver. A&M System Chancellor John Sharp blamed the government’s “federal red tape” for their delayed permission to test.

Sharp said in an interview, “Red tape is one thing, but red tape in the middle of a pandemic is pretty ridiculous. This ain’t the time to follow the rules, this is the time to follow common sense and open up facilities that they know are some of the best in the country.”

Matthew Memoli, an immunologist at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s important to weigh the risks and take into account our lack of understanding about coronavirus. He told Science Mag, “Where you’re going to give somebody a virus on purpose, you really want to understand the disease so that you know that what you’re doing is a reasonable risk.”

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

This is a good time to reconsider our intake of animal products to stay healthy. Eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.

Interested in joining the dairy-free and meatless train? We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals, and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Catch up on our latest coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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Tulane receives $10 million grant to fight COVID-19

Tulane receives $10 million grant to fight COVID-19
Chad Roy, director of infectious disease aerobiology at Tulane National Primate Research Center, will lead the project to evaluate the nation’s most promising vaccines and treatments against COVID-19. Photo by Sally Asher. (Source: Tulane University)

By Chris Finch | April 7, 2020 at 12:59 PM CDT – Updated April 8 at 10:12 AM

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – The Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington has been awarded $10.3 million to evaluate the nation’s most promising vaccines and treatments to combat COVID-19.

The National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases granted the award Tuesday.

COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, is an emerging infectious disease that has infected over 1.17 million people and claimed more than 64,000 lives in a global pandemic. No vaccines or treatments currently exist to treat the highly contagious disease.

The three-year NIH/NIAID award will initially study three species of nonhuman primates to determine which most closely mimics COVID-19 infection and transmission as experienced by humans. A nonhuman primate model will provide key information about the characteristics of the disease and will help researchers determine which candidate COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are safe and effective.

A nonhuman primate model also helps researchers understand which underlying health conditions, or comorbidities, can make some people more susceptible to complications from the disease.

“The range of biological responses to COVID-19 is incredibly wide,” said lead investigator Chad Roy, professor of microbiology and immunology in the Tulane University School of Medicine and director of infectious disease aerobiology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center. “We know relatively little about the intricacies of the disease — like why some infections result in mild disease, while others experience severe complications or death.”

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Once a reliable nonhuman primate model of disease has been established, Tulane researchers will then test promising vaccines and therapeutics for safety and effectiveness before promoting them for use in human clinical trials.

“We will be a primary site for evaluating the nation’s leading medical countermeasures against COVID-19,” Roy said. “Receiving this award is a testament to the unique capabilities of the Tulane National Primate Research Center and the international reputation of Tulane University as a leader in infectious disease research.”

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.

Chris Finch

Published 1h at 2:10 PM

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