According to Dr Andre Menache, Covid-19 offers us a golden opportunity to get rid of the ‘animal model’, a concept that belongs to the 20th century, and to focus our efforts on the species in question, namely humans. He says that rather than experimenting with ferrets, monkeys or mice, it would be more intelligent – and far more scientific – to invest in high-performance technologies of the 21st century.
Out of ten medical drugs that have successfully passed the required tests on animals, nine will fail in clinical trials involving humans (due to lack of efficacy or to side effects not seen in animals). This represents a 90% failure rate or a 10% prediction rate based on animal tests. We don’t have time to waste on these outdated methods in the search for a vaccine for Covid-19. Regulations need to change to reflect this and adapt to modern alternatives to animal testing.
Dr Andre Menache BSc(Hons) BVSc MRCVS is a veterinarian who advises extensively on animal welfare matters. He is director of Antidote Europe, based in France, a patron of Quaker Concern for Animals and a patron of and scientific adviser to the Animal Interfaith Alliance. He has been president of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (UK) and general manager of The Federation of Animal Protection Societies in Israel. He currently provides scientific support to several grass roots organisations. His full article can be read here.