Animal research can be dated back to the time when humans began looking for ways to prevent and cure ailments. No one can tell exactly when that happened but the assumption was that if a drug could work on an animal then it could work on humans as well. It became necessary to test any potential drug on an animal to ascertain its effectiveness in curing a given ailment.
Well, that has proved true on many occasions and has formed the very basis of modern biomedical breakthroughs.
Majority of modern day drug discoveries happened through animal research although the subject has for a long time drawn praise and condemnation in equal measure. This dilemma still persists and in order to understand it, you will need to know what animal research is all about.
Animal research has paid off
In as much as animal research continue to receive critique from different quarters, it is important to call a spade what it is and not a big spoon. Biomedical science would not be where it is today without animal research.
Many ailments can be prevented and cured today because of the knowledge of biological processes, structure of biomolecules and the interaction that exist between these molecules and drug compounds.
Example of medical breakthroughs that resulted from animal research include blood transfusion, antibiotics like penicillin, insulin, kidney transplant, asthma, tuberculosis, Parkinson’s disease and meningitis among others. It is because of these breakthroughs that many people continue to enjoy longer and healthier lives.
Millions of animals are being used annually for research
The number of animals used in research globally is estimated to be over 115 million annually. These numbers could be way more because only a small number of countries collect and publish data that show the number of animals that they use in research.
Most of these animals are mammals since they share a big percentage of their genes with humans. Animals including mice, pigs, rats, fish, dogs, rabbits, cats, non-human primates and farm animals are used / killed during laboratory experiments each year around the world.
Animal research rules
Animal research is not without rules and regulations that have to be followed strictly. The laws that regulate animal research vary from one country to another. But the good part is that these laws are being continually amended with each amendment elevating the standard of animal care. Experimental protocols are also being reviewed and researchers are coming up with alternatives to replace experiments that are especially painful to animals.
What about alternatives?
Researchers have so far managed to develop some alternatives to replace animal experiments. Examples include the growing of human stem cells into beating heart cells and the development of 3D organ models like lungs which are now being used to replace inhalation research studies with animals. While this may be true, it is still a fact that not all animal research can have alternatives. This is because it is hard to find the perfect models that can mimic a human body given that even a single human cell is too complex for the most sophisticated computer program to mimic.
So far, technology can only help research teams to conduct effective research through the use of sophisticated analysis equipment with the help of software used in the study design development, data review, reporting and other capabilities that you can find in places like animal research software homepage at studylog.com.
Until the time when adequate alternatives will be found, animal research is here to stay. What is needed is humane treatment of animals during research by following the rules of replacement, reduction and refinement. Otherwise, the dilemma will continue to affect the operations of various animal research funding agencies globally.