Viewpoint: Animal rights activists ‘reckless’ and ‘inhumane’ for pushing back against animal testing to find an AIDS vaccine

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Image: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

In July, researchers eliminated HIV from the genome of a mouse using antiviral therapy and CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. It was the first time they’d been able to do so in any animal — and it could represent a first step toward eradicating the virus in humans.

Despite delivering these important scientific victories, animal research is under attack. Many animal rights activists allege that all research on animals is cruel — and that powerful new computers can simulate much of the research traditionally conducted in animals.

But their case is weak. For starters, animal research is carefully and ethically performed. Regulations governing such research in the United States reach further than those pertaining to research on humans. Researchers are required to provide quality food, shelter, and medical care to animal subjects. That includes administering anesthesia for potentially painful procedures.

Related article:  23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki: No need for experts to interpret direct-to-consumer breast and ovarian cancer tests

Those powerful new computers and the use of artificial intelligence, meanwhile, are no match for the complexities of biology.

Animal rights activists claim the moral high ground while arguing against this research. But ending a scientific practice that could help defeat HIV/AIDS is reckless at best — and inhumane at worst.

Read full, original post: Animal activists are on the wrong side of the fight against AIDS

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