Animal-free innovations for better COVID-19 research

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Animal-free innovations for better COVID-19 research

23 September 2020
News
This summer, 40 research projects into the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of this started with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

Knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease COVID-19 is rapidly needed. Animal-free models can play a role in that because the results can be better translated to humans and yield outcomes faster. Five projects with animal-free research will therefore start.

The Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing also made funding available for this call for proposals. ‘Many animal experiments are performed for research into COVID-19. We will almost certainly see that in the figures’, says Debby Weijers of the Society. ‘With this initiative, we want to contribute to COVID-19 research without animal experiments. For this disease in particular – and similar diseases in the future – we hope to achieve a lot with human models. That is because these models reveal far more accurately how the disease progresses in humans. Also, with human models, we can personalise the research, for example by using stem cells or computer simulations based on patient data. With such approaches, we can better investigate why the virus makes certain groups more ill than others. Animal models will not be able to provide an answer to these and other questions.’

In this special round, embedded in the COVID-19 call for proposals, five projects were selected that make broader use of existing animal-free innovation or make the development of new animal-free innovations possible.