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  1. Ethical Science News

  2. May 15, 2020

European Union Recommends Nonanimal-Derived Antibodies

Study in a Sentence: The European Union Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM) released its recommendation to end the use of animals in antibody production. Endorsed by their Scientific Advisory Committee, researchers found that animal-free technologies produce affinity reagents with equal or better quality than that offered by antibodies produced using the conventional animal-based methods.

Healthy for Humans: Antibodies are indispensable components for research, diagnostics, therapeutics, and regulatory applications. Many essential techniques routinely performed in biomedical research are dependent on their use—western blotting, immunosorbent assays, flow cytometry, and more. This report provides evidence for the scientific and economic benefits of using animal-free affinity reagents. Compared to animal-derived antibodies, nonanimal-derived antibodies take less time to produce, are more cost efficient, and, in many scenarios, produce higher-quality, more reliable scientific results. 

Redefining Research: Despite the existence of animal-free technologies, animals are still widely used for the generation of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. The report states "EURL ECVAM recommends that animals should no longer be used for the development and production of antibodies for research, regulatory, diagnostic and therapeutic applications. In the EU, the provisions of Directive 2010/63/EU should be respected and EU countries should no longer authorize the development and production of antibodies through animal immunization, where robust, legitimate scientific justification is lacking." This is a major leap towards the replacement of animals in antibody production, which uses well over one million animals every year.  

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