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The ethical aspects of medical research on humans and animals
medical research

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The Ethical Dilemmas

Medical research on humans and animals is a centuries – old practice with an inconclusive track record. Many ethical issues tend to arise in medical research on humans and animals, mainly due to the following:

1. The presence of human beings in laboratory research settings tends to complicate ethical considerations.

2. Animal experiments in the scientific community are challenging to justify and maintain.

3. There has been an increasing number of animal rights and ethical issues with animal models of human disease and their benefits or the lack thereof.

The Animal Experimentation Argument

Although most scientists accepted animal experimentation, medical research on animals is now under attack by both the public, animal welfare, and even some scientists. This is largely due to people’s newfound concerns about animal well – being and killing.

One of the main arguments that are raised against animal experimentation is that the research should never be performed on animals. Such research, however, is necessary for medical advancement as well as an understanding of the disease.

One of the main arguments that are raised against animal experimentation is that the research should never be performed on animals. Such research, however, is necessary for medical advancement as well as an understanding of the disease.

Sometimes, such research does not call for the direct killing of animals but rather a form of experimentation that may involve procedures detrimental to animal well – being. However, this is far from being the most critical issue when it comes to medical research on animals.

When animals are used for medical research, the infamous 3R’s are always called into question: replacement, reduction, and refinement. The burning question among animal protectionists is which of these 3R’s is the most relevant for animal experiments?

How Humans are Different from Animals

Who owns a human being? This is a ubiquitous question that arises in medical research on humans. Animals, however, do not belong to any particular owner. But the question of ownership is more relevant when it comes to human beings.

When an experiment is done on a human being, there are typically two main issues that animal researchers raise. These are the 6th and 10th “R.” The 6th and 10th “R” in the context of animal experiments refers to Replacement and Reduction.

Concerning these two issues, the fundamental changes that occur are not death but rather suffering. In such cases, humans are placed in much worse conditions than those given to an animal of equal or lesser value. Therefore, the response to these two questions has always been controversial between animal researchers and animal protectionists.

This is because animal research focuses on animals rather than humans, and humans are a different species from animals. Thus, it can be argued that the most important “R” of animal research is refinement, which animal researchers often overlook.

Animal Testing Alternatives

Several alternatives have been proposed to medical experimentation on animals. Below are a few examples:

4. In – Vitro Methods – These include cultured cells and tissues as well as molecular and cellular approaches. They not only reduce the number of animals used but also lead to better treatments.

5. Cell Culture – This is the process of growing in vitro cells and tissues without using an experimental animal.

6. DNA Vaccines – As opposed to injecting live viruses into animals, DNA vaccines can be given to human beings without risk of harm. In gene therapy, DNA vaccines are usually used to deliver genes that produce proteins that can combat a variety of diseases, including AIDS and cancer.

7. Probiotics – This approach is based on the idea that probiotics can be used to enhance or support the immune system, and thus can be used to induce immunity against specific infectious illnesses, according to a report by the Food and Drug Administration (F DA). They also work in different ways.

8. Microdoses of Vaccines – This involves administering small amounts of vaccines rather than large dosages. Such a small dose is administered at regular intervals, hence preventing disease progression and allowing for immune responses to occur in humans.

9. Modifying Virus Vectors – Viruses are a very efficient vehicle for carrying out experiments on animals. However, there are several methods that can be utilized to make a virus safer and more effective in the laboratory. One of them involves introducing genes into the virus that can lead to the production of specific proteins without causing any harm to the host organism.

10. Auto – transplantation – This method can be used to produce new tissues or organs in vivo using cells fr om an animal and genetically alter the cells to become human.

11. Designing New Organisms – This technology enables scientists to design new organisms from scratch, thus bypassing the need to use real animals in laboratory experiments.

12. “Synthetic Biology” – Th is is the science of designing new biological systems by combining natural and synthetic building blocks in a way that allows for the formation of complex physical structures or systems such as molecular machines, catalysts, sensors, or genes.

13. “Bioreactor” – This system uses cells or tissues in controlled, artificial environments fed with nutrients and growth factors. This kind of system can be used to produce pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, and other commercial products.

In addition to these alternatives, t he Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidelines for what would be considered a live animal in the context of biomedical research. They also make clear distinctions between laboratory object model organisms and mammals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we can deduct the following findings from all the above information:

Individuals should be made aware of the research being conducted by physicians at their hospital or clinic. This will help them make a better decision when it comes to undergoing surgery or receiving prescribed drugs.

Animals in laboratories should be segregated into their respective categories according to their species, age, and health status, as well as according to whether they are already diseased or not.

Animal s are not exempt from suffering, and hence, when it comes to medical research, they should be given the utmost care and respect due to all living beings.

Humans are a different species from animals. Hence, it can be concluded that the most important “R” of animal research is refinement since suffering is a crucial issue in human medical research.

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