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Animal antibody concerns

Spanish and Dutch scientists, have highlighted the concerns of the biomedical research community over the EU Commission recommendations to replace animal-derived antibodies.

The recommendation, issued by the EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM), suggests that animal-derived antibodies are no longer fit for purpose and should be replaced with non-animal derived alternatives.

In a Nature Methods publication this month, members of the COSCE Spanish transparency agreement, with the support of EARA, refuted some of the claims in the ECVAM report about the availability and performance of non-animal derived antibodies, stating that the recommendation has “distorted perceptions of the current possibilities for antibodies of non-animal origin”.

Commenting on the NM article, EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “Animal-derived antibodies have brought huge benefits in fighting disease. The Spanish biomedical community and EARA has expressed very important concerns about the viability of a switch away from them that must be taken into consideration by Member States and the EU Commission.”

Also this month, the Netherlands National Committee for the Protection of Animals used for Scientific Purposes (NCad), a government agency which works to reduce the numbers of animals used in research, published a policy letter expressing its concerns about the ECVAM report.

NCad concluded that ‘a complete ban on the use of animals for antibody production, like the report recommends, therefore seems premature’.


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