Coronavirus Vaccine: Why Human Trials, Not Animal Tests, Are the Way Forward

Posted by on March 18, 2020 | Permalink

Here at PETA, we’ve been saying for years that experiments on animals are pointless – they slow down the search for treatments and cures for human disease.  Moreover, all the poisoning, shocking, burning, and killing is unethical and cruel. Many other scientists and experts agree. But when it comes to a new coronavirus vaccine, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is finally heeding PETA’s call – according to BBC News, the agency isn’t waiting for the typical lengthy animal-testing phase that would assess whether it can trigger an immune response in animals and is instead heading straight for human trials. While this won’t stop all tests on animals for the vaccine, it should pave the way for safe straight-to-human vaccine trials from now on.

In Seattle, 45 healthy, willing volunteers are participating in the first human trial of a vaccine, funded by NIH, that could protect against COVID-19, the coronavirus outbreak that has much of the world in a fearful frenzy.

Rats, mice, and other animals can’t be willing participants in experiments.

Unlike humans, animals can’t agree to being experimented on. And unlike the human volunteers in Seattle who get to go home and lead normal lives between their two doses of the vaccine, animals are born and die in a laboratory and spend the intervening time in small, bleak enclosures. If animals could give consent, they likely wouldn’t agree to being mutilated, poisoned, infected with painful and deadly diseases, burned, electrocuted, shot, addicted to drugs, or nearly drowned and eventually killed.

Refusing to condemn animals to a life of pain, loneliness, and terror shouldn’t be reserved for urgent public health priorities – it should be standard practice.

We work globally to end the use of animals in experiments. This includes working to prevent animals from being used in experiments, exposing the suffering that goes on out of sight in laboratories, and promoting the development and use of modern, non-animal methods. With the help of our members and supporters, we’re leading the way to the future – one that doesn’t include cruel, archaic tests on animals.

We do this partly because experiments on animals aren’t just cruel and expensive – they’re also overwhelmingly inapplicable to humans.

NIH itself reports that 95 out of every 100 drugs that pass animal tests fail in humans. Experiments on animals divert time and funding from better, non-animal methods.

We urge scientists to follow the good example of NIH and conduct safe, straight-to-human vaccine and drug trials to spare animals suffering and have the best chance of beating this outbreak.

What You Can Do

It’s too late for the animals who have already suffered and died in the name of coronavirus vaccine trials and for other experiments, but you can help spare animals near-drowning in the cruel forced swim test by clicking the link below: