So much has been written about how 2020 knocked us all for a loop with the coronavirus pandemic, nothing that I could contribute much to, but it has also exposed multiple points of entry for building a more compassionate and sustainable world. I thought I would explore just four of these areas of opportunity and what this could mean for the animals and a future with less needless cruelty.
1. Revamping How Vaccines and Medications Get to Market
At present, it is impossible to get a vaccine or take a medication that is entirely cruelty-free because even if the final products do not contain animal-derived ingredients, they have all been tested on animals to be approved for market. I am fortunate enough to not need any medications, but my husband, recovering from leukemia and a bone marrow transplant, is on several. He is also immunocompromised. Both of us will be getting the vaccine and I explored why in this essay from December.
Due to the need to get the COVID-19 vaccine to the public as quickly as possible, though, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines skipped long trials of isolated animal testing, opting instead for testing on humans and other species simultaneously.
“They overlapped preclinical studies with the early phases of the trials,” said executive director for the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. William Moss. “In fact one of the reasons we are even talking about vaccines now just 10 months later is that some of the phases in which vaccine development normally occurs were overlapped rather than done sequentially.”
In this way, simply as the result of needing to get the vaccine out much faster than usual, there…