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How the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the necessity of animal research

Research group la Fleur
Publication year 2020
Published in Current Biology
Authors Lisa Genzel, Roger A H Adan, Anton Berns, Jeroen van den Beucken, Arjan Blokland, Erik H.W.G.M. Boddeke, Willy M. Bogers, Ronald Bontrop, R. Bulthuis, Teun Bousema, Hans Clevers, Tineke C.J.J. Coenen, Anne-Marie van Dam, Peter M.T. Deen, Ko Willems van Dijk, Bart J L Eggen, Ype Elgersma, Izel Erdogan, Bernard Englitz, J. Martje Fentener van Vlissingen, Susanne E la Fleur, Ron A. M. Fouchier, C.P. Fitzsimons, Wilbert Frieling, Bart Haagmans, Balthasar A. Heesters, Marloes Henckens, Sander Herfst, Elly Hol, Daniel van den Hove, Marien I. de Jonge, Jos Jonkers, Leo A B Joosten, A. Kalsbeek, M. Kamermans, Harm H. Kampinga, Martien J H Kas, Jaap Keijer, Sander Kersten, Amanda J. Kiliaan, Taco W.A. Kooij, Sander Kooijman, W. Koopman, Aniko Korosi, Harm J Krugers, Thijs Kuiken, Steven A Kushner, Jan A.M. Langermans, Heidi Lesscher, Paul J Lucassen, Esther Lutgens, Mihai G Netea, Lucas P.J.J. Noldus, Jos W M van der Meer, Frank J Meye, Joram David Mul, Kees van Oers, Jocelien D. A. Olivier, R Jeroen Pasterkamp, Ingrid H.C.H.M. Philippens, Jos Prickaerts, Bart Pullox, Patrick C N Rensen, Jacco van Rheenen, Ronald P. van Rij, Laila Ritsma, Barry.H.G. Rockx, Benno Roozendaal, Evert M. van Schothorst, K. Stittelaar, Norbert Stockhofe, D.F. Swaab, Rik L. de Swart, Louk J M J Vanderschuren, Taco de Vries, Femke M S de Vrij, Richard van Wezel, Corette J Wierenga, Maximilian Wiesmann, Ingo Willuhn, C.I. De Zeeuw, Judith Homberg

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. This trend has led first and foremost to a substantial increase in the administrative burden and hurdles required to make timely advances in research and treatments for human and animal diseases. 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 this Essay we therefore argue that the use of animals is essential for the advancement of human and veterinary health.

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