Using the coronavirus crisis as an example, Dutch scientists, including several researchers from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, argue for the necessity of animal models in biomedical research.
Recently, a petition was offered to the European Commission calling for an immediate ban on animal testing. Although a Europe-wide moratorium on the use of animals in science is not yet possible, there has been a push by the non-scientific community and politicians for a rapid transition to animal-free innovations. Although there are benefits for both animal welfare and researchers, advances on alternate methods have not progressed enough to be able to replace animal research in the foreseeable future.
The current COVID-19 pandemic clearly highlights how much we actually rely on animal research. COVID-19 affects several organs and systems, and various animal-free alternatives currently available do not even come close to this complexity. In the essay that was published in Current Biology, the Dutch scientists therefore argue that the use of animals is essential for the advancement of human and veterinary health.