The race is now on to develop a vaccine to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Developing a new vaccine is not without risk and so it is imperative that researchers use robust scientific methods in order to avoid some of the mistakes of the past. An important step in the right direction is to avoid using animal cells or animal viruses to manufacture human vaccines in the 21st century. A lack of technology is not the obstacle here. Rather, it is out dated manufacturing practices and a political culture that puts short term profits before public safety. This is particularly relevant in an era of personalized medicine : the opportunity to create vaccines that are more effective and with fewer side effects.
Dr Andre Menache BSc(Hons) BVSc MRCVS is a veterinarian who advises extensively on animal welfare matters. He is director of Antidote Europe, based in France, a patron of Quaker Concern for Animals and a patron of and scientific adviser to the Animal Interfaith Alliance. He has been president of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (UK) and general manager of The Federation of Animal Protection Societies in Israel. He currently provides scientific support to several grass roots organisations.