EARA News Digest 2020 - Week 38

Welcome to your Monday morning update, from EARA, on the latest developments in biomedical science, policy and openness in animal research in Europe and around the world.
See EARA's Coronavirus updates

EARA launches #Transparency

A leading scientist will answer questions on EARA’s Instagram account this Thursday about their research using animals, in a new video feature.

As institutions seek to become more open and transparent about their work, the Q&A initiative, EARA’s #TransparencyThursday will allow the public the chance to find out why it is necessary to use animals.

Our first guest will be Salomé Pinho, group leader of the Immunology, Cancer Glycomedicine group at the Institute for Research & Innovation in Health (i3s), Portugal, whose work focuses on cancer and chronic inflammatory conditions.

“Animal experimentation is an important component of my research in my lab, and therefore I’m particularity sensitive to animal welfare and wellbeing issues.

On Thursday, I will be answering your questions concerning animals as essential pre-clinic models before a first human clinical trial,” she said.

The chance to ask questions on Instagram is still available until 1h00 pm today.



Phase out strategy for animal research 'exists in current EU Directive'

With activists calling for a new roadmap to end animal research, a senior Commission official has emphasised that a phase out of testing is already built into existing EU legislation.
Speaking last week to the EARA annual General Assembly about EU Directive 2010/63 (on the use of animals for scientific purposes), Susanna Louhimies, of DG Environment at the EU Commission, said: “The EU is in a unique position in the world with a phasing-out strategy already firmly embedded in the legislation.” 
Asked by the audience if there was a timeline for phase-out she replied: “When the science is ready.”
Her comments came in a week when an event held by Cruelty Free Europe (CFE) called for quotas for animal testing and a phase out plan.
Tilly Metz MEP, of the Green Party, said: “We want to see concrete milestones and deadlines – a road map towards animal-free science. The Directive is not enough.”
Focusing on the 20% decrease in animal research since the introduction of the Directive, Katy Tayler, of CFE, said with the current rate of progression it would take 80 years to see the disappearance of animal research in the EU.



The vital role of antibodies and animal research

EARA has published a new article highlighting the importance of antibodies and in particular animal-derived antibodies, in biomedical research.

The article examines how antibodies work and their use throughout research and drug development, and the critical role that animals currently play, including in the response to Covid-19.

Since a EURL ECVAM report was published in May, recommending a move away from animal-derived antibodies, there has been much debate over the current use and availability of antibodies, and how soon the biomedical sector might feasibly shift to non-animal-derived alternatives.

In the last five years, 90% of approved antibody treatments were animal-derived.



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