Dripping reagent into test tube with liquid sample, closeup. Laboratory analysis
Dripping reagent into test tube with liquid sample, closeup. Laboratory analysis
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Humanize Animal Testing Discovers New Antibody Component for Fight Against COVID

Read at National Review

The animal-rights movement lies when it claims that research using animals offers no human benefit. But the propaganda is having an impact. According to Gallup, a whopping 39 percent of Americans believe that animal research is not moral, versus 56 percent who think it is. In 2019, only 51 percent found it moral. Those are alarming figures, even though support remains in the majority, because it means that tens of millions of us oppose this crucial area of scientific inquiry.

That is why it is good, from time to time, to highlight important examples of animal research with the potential to move science and medicine forward exponentially. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has just announced that they have discovered a new antibody component — the tiniest known — in animal studies that shows great promise in overcoming COVID-19. From the press release:

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists have isolated the smallest biological molecule to date that completely and specifically neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the cause of COVID-19. This antibody component, which is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, has been used to construct a drug — known as Ab8 — for potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers report today in the journal Cell that Ab8 is highly effective in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters. Its tiny size not only increases its potential for diffusion in tissues to better neutralize the virus, but also makes it possible to administer the drug by alternative routes, including inhalation. Importantly, it does not bind to human cells — a good sign that it won’t have negative side-effects in people.

This shows how animal studies — supplemented by non-animal approaches such as using human cell lines — work together to move science forward. Let us hope this research moves toward human application strongly, as our president might put it.

The “grim good” of animal research needs to be continually defended. Otherwise, animal-rights fanatics could well impede medical breakthroughs that offer the potential for unquantifiable human good.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.
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