An end to primate HIV research?

Alternative Image

A British campaign group opposed to using animals for medical testing is calling for a revolution in the way AIDS research is carried out.

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) has published a new report criticising the use of primates in ongoing AIDS research. Entitled Still Dying of Ignorance? 25 years of failed primate AIDS research, the findings set out in stark detail how the last quarter century search for a cure has failed.

They are now calling for an end to animal testing, saying that most progress has been made by studying infected human cells in test tubes.

“Our report shows the most crucial breakthroughs in AIDS research has come from studies that did not involve laboratory animals”, says Michelle Thew, BUAV Chief Executive. “Not only do non-animal test methods have a long history of success in fighting AIDS, these humane alternatives also provide the brightest hope for the future.”

The BUAV report goes on to highlight how research using primates has delivered 30 vaccines which protect monkeys from contracting their version of HIV (SIV). It also details how fundamental differences in the way primates contract and react to the virus have meant this research has ultimately proved irrelevant to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS in humans.

“There is a clear need to divert the money, expertise and effort into boosting research methods that are delivering results for human health, as well as sparing primates from pointless and painful experiments”, Ms Thew continued.