Airlines against research?

This, the use of animals in research, is not about airlines being against research.  We know, Airlines are increasingly being lobbied. They are targets for internet based email campaigns and demonstrations. Most airlines fly people and cargo, some others only cargo (very few). The very people that fly may be those that lobby against animals in research as well as those that are pro animal research. The loudest ones usually have the upper hand, together with those that have the most economic weight if  and only if they speak out.  If I blog, it is mainly to inform airlines about the need for animal research and how it contributes to advances and medical progress, therefore humanity of which the flying public is part.

Talking about speaking out today I want you to meet FASEB. Here's how they define themselves:

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is composed of 24 scientific societies with more than 100,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States.

About a year ago FASEB speaking for its worldwide membership made the following comments to the US institute of medicine  (IOM) about the use of Chimpanzees in research. Source

The validity of the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research is a scientific question based on genetic and physiological similarity.
The rationale for using the chimpanzee in any given experiment is based on a number of factors. We feel that chimpanzees should continue to be available for biomedical research in the following instances:
1. if the chimpanzee is an appropriate and valid model to study the pathogenesis of a particular disease or virus;
2. if the chimpanzee is an appropriate and valid model to evaluate antiviral and/or vaccine safety and efficacy;
3. for pre-clinical testing and development of monoclonal antibodies since chimpanzee cell receptors and cytokine profiles are virtually identical to those of the human immune system;
4. if the research benefits the wild chimpanzee and great ape population. As we’ve heard, recent research on laboratory chimpanzees has led to the development and application of vaccines for the wild ape population against the deadly Ebola virus. And finally,
5. in the event of an unforeseen public health crisis due to bioterrorism or natural causes. In this case, the public might need access to a research population of chimpanzees in order to study disease progression and develop and test prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against these threats.
These are compelling needs going forward, and the availability of chimpanzees will be critical.

 FASEB also urges US senators not to adopt a bill that has the potential to ban invasive research involving great apes, which in the end could harm the animals themselves as well as ourselves. I am not a scientist but hearing this position, which I am sure wasn't taken lightly or on the cuff, should carry a lot of weight with decision makers of this world.

Remember that non human primates represent a tiny fraction of animals used in research and those that are flown are usually macacques or marmosets etc, not great apes. Those great apes that are being flown are usually for conservation purposes or as part of exchanges between zoo's.

Here are the arguments if you want to read the entire text, the following is an excerpt thereof:
As the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States, representing 26 societies and over 100,000 scientists and engineers, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is writing to urge you to withdraw your support for the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S. 810). This bill would ban all invasive research involving bonobos, gorillas, gibbons, orangutans, and chimpanzees based in part on the questionable premise that doing so would save money. The act would compromise human and animal health and increase the cost to the public.

Institute of Medicine Findings
In December 2010, NIH commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to assess the necessity of chimpanzees in biomedical and behavioral research. In their December 2011 report, the committee stated that they do not endorse a ban on the use of chimpanzees in research and established a set of principles and criteria by which all future research should be guided.

The committee concluded that chimpanzees:

1.) Have been an invaluable animal model in the discovery of the hepatitis B vaccine

2.) Are needed to complete development of monoclonal antibodies aimed at treating cancers and autoimmune diseases

3.) Are needed in the development of a prophylactic hepatitis C vaccine

4.) Are needed for some behavioral and genomic analysis studies

5.) May be necessary for treating new, emerging, or reemerging infectious diseases in the future

NIH has accepted these principles and has begun the process of implementing them.

Chimpanzees are Necessary for Advances in Human and Animal Health
Relevant to the IOM findings, almost 200 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis C infection and are at risk for liver failure and liver cancer. A recent study estimates that more people in the U.S. are dying from hepatitis C infection than HIV infection. In fact, one in 33 people aged 45-64 may have the disease and not even know it.1 The prohibition of medical research involving chimpanzees will likely slow the development of a vaccine that can prevent the transmission of hepatitis C.

Research on chimpanzees also remains crucial for the development of important life-saving monoclonal antibodies. Chimpanzees are especially important because their biological receptors and immune proteins are virtually identical to those of humans. Monoclonal antibodies that are currently being used to treat B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and several inflammatory and arthritic conditions were tested in chimpanzees.

If adopted, this bill will not only prevent the research needed for treatments to human diseases, but it will also prevent research that can directly benefit chimpanzees—inevitably harming the ones the legislation seeks to protect. The Ebola virus is ravaging wild populations of chimpanzees and gorillas. In 2010, the first studies were conducted on laboratory chimpanzees to test the safety of a potential vaccine against Ebola, which could be used to protect wild chimpanzees and gorillas from this deadly disease.

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