University defends dog vaccine testing after Dr Fauci and NIH come under fire
A university defended its research which was criticized by a group opposed to taxpayer-funded animal testing.
The White Coat Waste Project said documents obtained showed that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) paid the University of Georgia $ 424,455 in September 2020 to infect 28 beagles with pathogenic parasites.
Critics of the group have focused on NIAID and its director, Dr Anthony Fauci. The group said News week he was not sure if Fauci had personally commissioned the experiment, but said “it was commissioned by his NIH (National Institutes of Health) division.”
Documents White Coat Waste obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), also reviewed by right-wing media The daily caller, found that the animals were to be allowed to develop infections for three months and that they would then be euthanized for blood collection.
The documents indicated that the animals had “vocalized in pain” during the experiments. The story, which was also reported by Fox News, was based on written documents describing a study starting November 12, 2020 in which the beagles were to be euthanized after 196 days.
In a statement to News weekThe White Coat Waste Project said the experiments were linked to treatment for a tropical disease called lymphatic filariasis, and that tests had already been done on other animals.
White Coat Waste Project research director Daniel Lopez said the documents showed Fauci “must be held accountable for his unnecessary and cruel expenses.” News week has contacted NIAID for comment.
Greg Trevor, associate vice president of marketing and communications at the University of Georgia, said the research looked at a potential vaccine, developed at another institution, that would protect against a disease affecting 120 million people.
He said in an emailed statement that under federal rules a vaccine must be tested in two animal species before it can be cleared for clinical trials in humans. When NIAID decided to fund this research, the agency determined that the research should be conducted on a dog model.
“According to researchers at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, beagles are the standard dog model used in this type of research,” the statement said.
“Because there is currently no cure for this disease, unfortunately the animals that are part of this trial must be euthanized. We do not take the decision to use such animals in some of our research lightly.”
The university has followed the humanitarian standards of the Animal Welfare Act, the public health department’s policy on the humane care and use of laboratory animals, and the National Research Council’s guide to the care and l use of laboratory animals, as well as other guidelines, said Trevor.
“Almost all advancements in medicine, medical devices and surgical procedures have depended on research involving animal subjects,” the statement added.
Animal experiments in the United States
The international advocacy group Speaking of Research (SR) has criticized the White Coat Waste Project and its broader claims that animal testing takes place in the United States without liability at great cost to taxpayers.
Speaking of the research said that despite what the group said, “animal studies are highly regulated and large amounts of information are available to the public.”
The White Coat Waste Project has also joined those who criticize Fauci over questions of “gain-of-function” experimentation at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the lab in China that some have linked to the COVID pandemic.
The group, along with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, is investigating claims that the NIH funded “gain-of-function” research in Wuhan, in which a virus is enhanced in a lab to study its impact in the real world.
The NIH and NIAID have said they support funding for virus research in bats and mammals, but have never approved grants for gain-of-function research on coronaviruses.
Fauci himself has rejected Paul’s claims, telling lawmakers last month that the research Paul was referring to “was judged by qualified staff from top to bottom of the chain as not being a job gain.” .