How Bio Testing Saves Human Lives

Illness is seldom an easy topic to bring up in conversation. Even more so when it touches on some of the more deadly or dangerous varieties. At the same time though, it’s something that people need to give a little thought to every now and then.

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In part, it’s important to simply take a moment to appreciate the current situation. It’s only in very recent times that people have had real methods to fight against illness. Through most of human history, people didn’t even have a firm grasp of germ theory, let alone the means to fight against infectious illness. Even such seemingly basic concepts as washing one’s hands are a relatively new concept.

What’s more, many of the pasts deadly diseases aren’t even an issue anymore. People seldom need to concern themselves over such issues as polio or smallpox. And formally deadly ailments like diabetes are now so easy to treat that children can manage it.

But all of those issues have one thing in common. The solution came to be through a method that most people wish hadn’t been necessary. The medicines were created through animal testing. Few people are happy with the necessity of animal testing. But it’s a simple fact that animal models have and continue to be an absolute necessity for curing humans.

Thankfully as well, most of the higher profile centers such as ensure testing is cruelty-free. Of course, a simple statement usually isn’t enough to address such a complex issue. To really get to the core of the issue one needs to ask why animal testing is used in the first place.

The how and why of animal testing

Anyone who’s provided home care to a loved one can attest to the fact that it’s not easy. Any combination of illness and the individual leads to a unique situation. Different people have different tastes in everything from comfort food to their most restful positions.

Now, one can try to imagine how hard it’d be to extrapolate much about the illness from that single example. Trying to determine much from uncontrolled conditions is nearly impossible. It’s what’s known as anecdotal evidence. This is, essentially, evidence that equates to pure anecdote. There are too many variables and too much subjectivity to accurately determine anything. One can certainly get clues and ideas for more controlled study from anecdotal evidence. But it’s not a means to any definitive treatment or cure.

But with animal testing, a research is able to create a truly controlled environment. Animals are usually selectively bred to ensure a certain level of genetic conformity. The conditions in which they’re kept are also standardized. And from here one can easily design studies and get objective measurements of the end result.

Moving further into the animal model

There’s also the issue of lifespan. Rodents can go from birth to old age in a matter of years. Meanwhile, a human will need anywhere from seventy to over a hundred years to complete that process. All of that time is needed to get even one single piece of lifelong data on a treatment’s effects.

And when people do go down that road it’s quite common for tragic side effects to become known only after decades. Birth defects with thalidomide being the most common example of this process. One needs to do tests over the course of an entire lifespan to determine slower acting side effect. It’s a simple matter with animal testing, but unethical and difficult with humans.

Rodents such as rats and mice have provided a perfect match for all of these needs. Their short lifespan and active nature have made them easy to breed and test. To the point where specific strains are genetically similar enough to act as perfect test subjects. And where some diseases which don’t even occur within them can still be modeled in order to find successful treatments.

Understanding the nature of illness

Additionally, there’s an issue of understanding the very nature of various ailments. There are some quite obvious ethical concerns with mass autopsies of people. But researchers can examine lab animals at any stage in an ailment’s progression. This, in turn, leads to a better understanding of the exact nature of an illness. Which, in turn, helps them create treatments.

The debates surrounding animal research have been going on for some time now. But it’s an inarguable fact that it’s saved hundreds of thousands of human lives. Not to mention,┬ásaved their loved ones from the suffering involved with watching people waste away.

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Jason Black

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