An Assessment of the Use of Chimpanzees in Hepatitis C Research Past, Present and Future: 2. Alternative Replacement Methods
The use of chimpanzees in hepatitis C virus (HCV) research was examined in the report associated with this paper (1: Validity of the Chimpanzee Model), in which it was concluded that claims of past necessity of chimpanzee use were exaggerated, and that claims of current and future indispensability were unjustifiable. Furthermore, given the serious scientific and ethical issues surrounding chimpanzee experimentation, it was proposed that it must now be considered redundant — particularly in light of the demonstrable contribution of alternative methods to past and current scientific progress, and the future promise that these methods hold. This paper builds on this evidence, by examining the development of alternative approaches to the investigation of HCV, and by reviewing examples of how these methods have contributed, and are continuing to contribute substantially, to progress in this field. It augments the argument against chimpanzee use by demonstrating the comprehensive nature of these methods and the valuable data they deliver. The entire life-cycle of HCV can now be investigated in a human (and much more relevant) context, without recourse to chimpanzee use. This also includes the testing of new therapies and vaccines. Consequently, there is no sound argument against the changes in public policy that propose a move away from chimpanzee use in US laboratories.