Monday, 19 December 2011

First Guidelines for Lab Chimps Drawn Up

Guidelines now govern the use of our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, in federally funded U.S. research, and because of them, some biomedical studies are likely to come to an end.

In fact, nearly all research using chimpanzees to develop drugs or answer other questions with medical applications for humans should end, according to a committee charged with establishing the first set of criteria for research on chimpanzees. The committee released its report Thursday (Dec. 15).

Research into genetic or behavioral questions — such as looking for insight into human behavior by studying how chimpanzees help one another out, or searching for the genetic underpinnings of language — are acceptable, or could become so with only minor modifications, according the committee convened by the National Academy of Sciences.

These types of projects are typically less invasive than biomedical research, which could involve, for instance, infecting chimpanzees with a virus.

For example, in behavioral research, chimpanzees — which, like humans, are social — must live with others, and may not be anesthetized by being shot with a dart. However, chimpanzees can be trained to offer their arms to have blood drawn or accept anesthesia so they can be examined, according to the committee. [Chimps vs. Humans: How Different Are We?]

New principles
The criteria for both types of research are based upon three general guidelines: The knowledge gained by the research must be necessary to advance public health; the research cannot ethically be done on a human being, or is not possible on another animal or in something that is not a living organism; and the chimpanzees used in the research must be given appropriate places to live.

In practice, this means the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will not award any new grants for research until an assessment process is in place, and a project-by-project review will be conducted to determine if ongoing research fits the criteria, said NIH Director Francis Collins, who accepted the committee's recommendations.

"Chimpanzees are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, providing exceptional insights into human biology, and the need for special consideration and respect," Collins said in a statement on Thursday.

He estimated that about 37 research projects might be affected, and that, of these, about half may not be continued.

These criteria will only apply to research projects that receive some kind of NIH support, including animals used by private groups but housed using federal money, according to committee member Warner Greene, a virologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Read more here ...

1 comment:

  1. Instead of using any animals for medical research, the authorities worldwide, should be using criminals such as rapists, paedophiles and murderers. This would save the valuable lives of innocent creatures, while at the same time be saving tax payers money and forcing the criminals to do something worthwhile with their worthless lives.


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