As the world’s laboratories kick into overdrive in a search for treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine urges scientists and government agencies not to continue down known dead-end paths, as we have done in response to deadly outbreaks of years past.
“Previous research in animals done with regard to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses failed to produce effective treatments,” said John Pippin, MD, FACC, director of academic affairs for the Physicians Committee. “And yet, researchers are revisiting old materials and models, reestablishing mouse lines and reinvestigating drugs that failed us previously.”
Dr. Pippin works to replace the use of animals in medical and drug research, medical education, and the training of physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. He has testified before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Institute of Medicine on how misleading animal experiment results contributed to the approval of Vioxx and other dangerous drugs.
“There simply isn’t time to waste going down paths we know lead nowhere,” said Kristie Sullivan, MPH, vice president of research policy at the Physicians Committee. “Now, more than ever, we must put our focus and priorities into human-relevant research methods, in order to save time, in order to learn about the virus in the human population, and to find a vaccine that will work in our own species.”
Ms. Sullivan directs our efforts to promote human-relevant alternatives to the use of animals in medical research, education, and the testing of drugs, chemicals, and other products through scientific scholarship and outreach to companies, federal agencies, legislators, and others. She has given more than 50 presentations to a variety of scientific and professional audiences and has co-authored publications with industry and government colleagues. She has organized several expert workshops, meetings, and educational seminars, including the Roadmap to Better Methods series of workshops, which bring international experts in industry, academia, and government together to make progress on replacing a specific animal test with more human-relevant methods.
To speak with Dr. Pippin or Ms. Sullivan, please contact Reina Pohl at 202-527-7326 or rpohl [at] pcrm.org.
Reina Pohl, MPH
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.