If you have ever taken any antibiotic or had a vaccine, you have benefited from animal testing: Research with animals led to vaccinations against smallpox, measles, mumps, and tetanus. The world’s first vaccine was tested on a cow in 1796 during the observation of milkmaids who caught cowpox, which is now called smallpox, from infected cow utters.
This disease was eradicated in 1980 with the help of lab animals. Looking at the more frequent viruses in our everyday lives like bacterial infections, which are extremely common and affect most people many times throughout their lives, today most of them are readily treatable with antibiotics such as penicillin. The effectiveness of penicillin and other antibiotics as treatments for bacterial infections was established through research using mice and other rodents. Scientists continue to use animals to determine what antibiotics are effective against specific organisms, their toxicity, and their potential side effects.
Medical researchers need to understand health problems before they can develop ways to treat them. Another significant vaccine that was discovered with the service of animals in medical research was the polio vaccine. Polio is a highly infectious disease that mainly affects children under the age of 5. It invades the nervous system and can cause permanent paralysis in a matter of hours. The polio vaccine which was tested on chimpanzees, reduced the global occurrence of disease from 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 22 cases in 2017. Polio is now practically unknown in the USA and Europe and more than 16 million people have been saved from paralysis.
Animal Testing – ProCon.org. (2016, March 24). Another very important discovery was in the early 1920’s when Frederick Banting found the hormone insulin in the pancreatic extract of dogs. He instituted that it significantly lowered the dog’s blood glucose levels to normal. Banting and his medical student, Charles Best, continued working on their discovery and perfected it in 1922. They used it to successfully treat a young boy with severe diabetes and went on to win the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine. Roughly one million people in the world use insulin for their diabetes (Virginia, 2016). Thanks to lab animals, we now have important vaccines to treat everyday illnesses. (Rogers, K. 2014)
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