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.