I post stories such as this from time to time to counter the lies told by many within the animal rights movement that animal research offers no value. Scientists looking for a malaria vaccine have discovered an important problem by testing potential vaccines on mice and then infecting them. From the New Scientist story:
In 2004 Read tested this by passing mouse malaria repeatedly between mice made immune by natural infection. Those parasites indeed became more virulent, but it wasn’t clear how. Read has now repeated the experiment using an AMA-1 vaccine. His team passed blood-cell-stage malaria parasites 10 times between mice that had been given the AMA-1 vaccine. By the end, the parasites reached higher densities, and caused more anaemia, than those passed between unvaccinated mice. Parasites from vaccinated mice were more virulent in unvaccinated mice as well. “The real eye-opener was that there was no immune escape,” says Read. “Parasite AMA-1 was unchanged.”
This was very important information to discover and illustrates the crucial nature of animal research in obtaining basic biological knowledge. You couldn’t do that with cell lines or computer models. Scientists need to study them in living organisms.
Animal research is not done for frivolous reasons but to save lives. So, it’s either animal research or quit trying to find cures for diseases. I support the Three Rs–reduce, replace, refine. But the choice is a no brainer from my perspective.