International coalition urges scientists to leave animals out of COVID-19 research

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International coalition urges scientists to leave animals out of COVID-19 research

5 May 2020
News
A group of international organizations has united during World Week for Animals in Laboratories (April 20 to April 26) in an effort to urge researchers worldwide to leave animals out of experiments in COVID-19 research.

The coalition is made up of members from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, namely Animal Justice Project (AJP), In Defence of Animals, New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society, and Humane Research Australia. 

The group urges researchers to rely on more human-relevant methods, such as epidemiology studies, computer-based techniques, human cell and tissue cultures, tissue engineering, and organ-on-a-chip microfluidics. “Using non-human primates, mice, and any animals to find a cure for viruses, such as the coronavirus, which won’t be the last one we see, is not only unethical but produces vastly inaccurate results and quite simply takes too long,” Bob Ingersoll, a primate specialist who appeared in documentary Project Nim. The coalition says that even though there are better alternatives, the COVID-19 outbreak has triggered millions of dollars in funding of animal-based research using primates, ferrets, and mice—which it says are not predictive models for human response.