The findings of a new study could reduce animal testing in the medical field.
Together, researchers from the US’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Inotiv Inc., and the Consumer Product Safety Commission produced a new method for screening skin allergens.
The researchers examined 92 chemicals. Seventy-seven percent of the results “agreed with those of a common animal test method.” According to NIST, the new effective method is not just more ethical than animal testing, but “potentially cheaper and faster” too.
Published in the journal Toxics, the researchers hope their method will become standardized. This will therefore reduce the number of animals used in science.
The need for animal testing alternatives
Research into animal-free testing methods in the medical field is vital. More than 50 million animals are used in experiments in the US, says the Humane Society. These include mice, monkeys, dogs, pigs, rats, sheep, cows, and frogs.
The nonprofit says: “There is no limit to the extent of pain and suffering that can be inflicted during experiments.”
“In some instances, animals are not given anything to relieve their pain or distress during or after the experiment on the basis that it could affect the experiment.”
But, as research into alternatives advances, change could be on the horizon. In 2020, University of Dundee researchers grew skin in a lab in a bid to reduce animal testing.
One of the researchers, Dr. Michael Coneely, told the Times that animal tests are often not even 100 percent reliable. He said that animals serve as “good analogs to study general principles.” But added that “they often fail when it comes to specific details due to animal/human species differences.”
He continued: “Upwards of 90 percent of drugs that are proven safe and effective in animals fail during clinical trials.”