PERVS and MANIMALS!

Clinical trials for using pig cells to treat diabetes are now legal Down Under!

Most countries health/medical regulatory bodies have been hesitant to approve of animal organ/part transplants because of the risk of Creating Another HIV. Theoretically endogenous retroviruses still active in pigs (PERVs) could cause trouble once they are transplanted into a human.

Happily scientists have ‘optimized‘ some pigs to be free of the most dangerous PERVs.

So New Zealand just started clinical trials in diabetes patients who have problems controlling their blood sugar levels, even with diet/exercise/insulin**. And, Australia just got rid of a 5 year ban they had on this technology in 2004!

This technology doesnt only help people with diabetes– the folks working on this say theyre also “working on treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and deafness”, plus, obviously, organ transplants.

Minor problem: Animal liberation assholes and their slightly-better-than-2nd-grader understanding of science.

Link– Animal Liberation, a group opposed to the use of animals in scientific testing, says a global pandemic could be created by mixing viruses from pigs with humans, for example.

“We’re taking live virus cells from an animal and putting them into a human,” spokeswoman Jacqueline Dalziell said.

Link– But Jacqueline Dalziell, project co-ordinator for Animal Liberation, a group opposed to the use of animals in scientific testing, is not convinced the procedure is safe.

“The public, who had no say in this discussion whatsoever, will be the first to be directly affected if a new pandemic like AIDS … is introduced into Australia through the ban being lifted,” she said. “The whole of Australia is currently taking part in an experiment without their consent.”

Okay, ignore the fact this woman called viruses ‘living cells’, and her calls of ‘SAFETY!’ ring hollow when you consider she cares more about pigs than humans. Lets pretend that the scientists/epidemiologists/federal regulatory agencies did not think about this potential problem before Genius Jacqueline Dalziell brought it to their attention.

Heres my logic: We got HIV-1 from hunting chimpanzees.

Weve been *living with* and *slaughtering* pigs for about ten thousand years, hunting wild pigs for god knows how long before that. Not these super-special-’sterile’ pigs, just regular ol pigs. And we arent just keeping pigs as pets (we do), were talking about humans interacting with thousands and thousands of pigs during their lifetime… and we havent gotten ‘Pig AIDS’ yet.

So… Yes, obviously we need to be vigilant about something crazy happening. You have to with any and every new drug or therapy. But ‘something crazy might happen, we dont know what, but, you know, maybe!’ is not a rational reason to stop this, or any, research.

** If I were these people, I would only wear T-shirts with ‘MANIMAL!’ emblazoned on the front.

Comments

  1. #1 BAllanJ
    December 23, 2009

    Umm… this person does know that diabetics used to inject pig extracts into themselves daily for years, doesn’t she? Until GMOs gave us human identical insulin from ecoli(Oh no!)

  2. #2 afarensis, FCD
    December 23, 2009

    “Pig AIDS” ROFL!

  3. #3 Rosie Redfield
    December 23, 2009

    In Australia, the word ‘perv’ is slang for taking a (semi-illicit) look at something, as in “I took a quick perv at her notebook.”.

  4. #4 Optimus Primate
    December 23, 2009

    Weve been *living with* and *slaughtering* pigs for about ten thousand years, hunting wild pigs for god knows how long before that. Not these super-special-’sterile’ pigs, just regular ol pigs. And we arent just keeping pigs as pets (we do), were talking about humans interacting with thousands and thousands of pigs during their lifetime…

    Among other things

    Seriously, Abbie, we need to pool our resources and found the “Animal Liberation Front of the United States.” Arnie and Max Bear can be the mascots.
    It’ll be a big hit.

  5. #5 Cthulhu
    December 23, 2009

    Awww think of the poor piggies.
    Those cute pink bacony, pork loiny, hamhocked, bbq ribbed piggies.

    I suddenly need to go to lunch.

    Taa!

  6. #6 William Wallace
    December 23, 2009

    Happily scientists have ‘optimized’ some pigs to be free of the most dangerous PERVs.

    Could you explain why scientists are confident that there are no latent PERVs? And could you explain how HIV or other disease could have been caused by latent issues with polio and other vaccines that used monkey organs as a culture to grow the materials for the vaccines?

  7. #7 William Wallace
    December 23, 2009

    Also, see Paralysis Outbreak In Meat Workers Handling Pigs’ Brains. Science isn’t really a tool for ruling out latent problems.

  8. #8 Sili
    December 23, 2009

    Are the ALF, the people who love animals so much that they release mink into fragile ecosystems.

  9. #9 Sili
    December 23, 2009

    Gah! That should be “Ah,” not “Are”.

    HAPPY MONKEY!

    (And save the poor piggies from that vile rapist Ham.)

    I support Optimus Primate’s suggestion of founding and ALFUS to gather donations to do more animal testing.

  10. #10 John Marley
    December 23, 2009

    @Willy Wally (#7)

    Did you actually read that article?

  11. #11 Azkyroth
    December 23, 2009

    These are the same people who think food from cloned organisms, all other things being equal, presents some special potential safety hazards that need to be tested for and evaluated, right?

  12. #12 Azkyroth
    December 23, 2009

    Also, see Paralysis Outbreak In Meat Workers Handling Pigs’ Brains.

    The message is clear: meat workers, hands off William Wallace immediately!

  13. #13 kermit
    December 26, 2009

    I googled
    Paralysis Outbreak In Meat Workers

    At
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/96117.php
    “The current thinking, which is yet to be proved, is that the meat workers are being exposed to splatter and aerosol droplets of pig brain tissue created by the compressed air blast, which liquefies the tissue before expelling it from the pig skull. Once inhaled, small particles of pig brain tissue are then attacked by the worker’s immune system which uses antibodies that also attack the body’s own almost identical human nerve tissue.”

    In other words, William, this is an industrial hazard, but it is not a virus. Science is a tool for – among other things – understanding the nature of a problem so that we know how to deal with it.

  14. #14 eddie
    December 27, 2009

    Very good article. My only worry is that the treatment is being oversold. Why might a diabetes treatment be also good for alzheimers and such? I’m gonna go follow that link now.

  15. #15 Grant
    January 1, 2010

    The pigs used in NZ were not “optimised by scientists”, they are pigs taken from a sub-antartic island that happen to be free of PERVs. (I’m sloppy on the finer details, but this is my general understanding of the situation.) I’ve mentioned this in passing in a recent article about the research company involved in this work (see link in my name).

    As a practical matter regardless of where you stand these pigs offer a way around people’s concerns.

  16. #16 Pierce R. Butler
    January 4, 2010

    If I were these people, I would only wear T-shirts with ‘MANIMAL!’ emblazoned on the front.

    Your legs would get kind of cold, wouldn’t they?

    Besides, it would only take a little extra blob of ink (or of wishful thinking) for everyone to think you were just bragging about what a MAMMAL you are, even without the shirt getting wet…

  17. #17 windy
    January 5, 2010

    Besides, it would only take a little extra blob of ink (or of wishful thinking) for everyone to think you were just bragging about what a MAMMAL you are

    So, what’s the downside?

  18. #18 Levi
    October 21, 2011

    I have been following the pig xenotransplantation story for a while now because it is so interesting. The need for a wholesale source of quality transplantable organs and cells is so great, that it is fairly clear that the various corporate and government powers that be will rapidly go “all in” with the technology. At least they will as soon as scientists and medical authorities sign off on the routine practice of installing pig bits in humans. What is the worst thing that could happen?

    Which leads to my non-scientist dumb question of the day, is it possible to vaccinate either/or pigs/humans against PERV’s?