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IS IT VEGAN?: Animal testing raises the ethical question of the Covid-19 vaccine

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Many animals including mice, monkeys, cats, dogs, ferrets, chickens, and horses, are being infected with coronavirus, as research scientists scramble to find a human vaccine.

CHARLES WAIJER: Vaccine development can be thought of as the process of separating the parts of an infectious agent that make us sick, from those that induce an immune response and protect us from future infection. As this separation can be accomplished in myriad ways, vaccines are diverse.

Vaccine candidates for COVID-19 illustrate these diverse approaches. Some, such as SinoPharm’s inactivated coronavirus vaccine, use killed whole coronavirus. Others, such as the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, modify a different virus (in this case, chimpanzee adenovirus) to express coronavirus proteins. Yet others, such as Moderna’s mRNA vaccine, use only small bits of viral genetic material…

The first step in evaluating a vaccine is animal testing. Animals are given differing doses of vaccine to check for adverse events and an immune response. As the virus that causes COVID-19 is new, there was no animal model for the disease. Recent work has demonstrated that ferrets, cats and some non-human primates are prone to infection and can spread it to others. Animal testing provides information about safety (and perhaps efficacy) before a vaccine is tested on humans. SOURCE…

TIM MCDONNELL: Animals are key players in the coronavirus saga. SARS-CoV-2 likely originated in bats (scientists aren’t yet sure which species) and was transferred to humans by an intermediary host. Pangolins usually get the blame, but the jury is still out.

It’s not quite true that animals got us into this mess—deforestation, climate change, and the wildlife trade all make it easier for viruses to jump from animals to humans. But it’s clear that animals are going to help get us out of it.

Since the pandemic started, a wide menagerie has been drafted into service, including mice, monkeys, cats, dogs, ferrets, chickens, and even horses. Many are being infected with SARS-CoV-2, contributing to research that can help scientists understand the body’s response, see whether various treatments are successful in easing symptoms and eliminating the virus, and eventually test vaccines.

Animal studies can also help narrow down what that intermediate host might have been, which could give us an edge in preventing future coronavirus outbreaks. And they can even provide biological raw materials for use in drug production.

“We still need to understand how the virus behaves in different species, and which questions are best answered by which species,” said Dave O’Connor, a pathologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is leading some of the first research in the US on Covid-19 in monkeys. Here are a few playing a primary role in current research. SOURCE…

KRISTA CONRAD: Animals have been used in the study of health, illness, and death in humans for centuries – dating back to around 350 B.C., when the first known medical standards were developed by experimenting on pigs. Later, in the 19th century, animal experimentation gained scientific status for the creation of vaccines.

Vaccines have become an essential part of health programs in most countries worldwide to control emerging or resurfacing diseases. The purpose of a vaccine is to spur an immune response in the body. Vaccines develop antibodies to specific diseases, promote health, and prevent outbreaks.

Most vaccines have been developed by using small animals like rodents as test subjects, but studying and testing larger animals has also become common as testing the response of a larger species helps scientists determine the potential effect in humans. These are some animal species that have been used in the development of vaccines for human health. Here are 8 animals used In vaccine production. SOURCE…

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