Anthrax vaccine project stopped over animal rights

Oklahoma State University has put a stop to a project meant to test anthrax vaccines and treatment on baboons.

Administrators at OSU decided not to let the project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, commence as the primates being used would be euthanized. An internal faculty committee spent more than a year preparing protocol for the care and use of the primates.

Veterinary scientists called the decision sudden and arbitrary and fear that other projects involving animal research will also be ended by OSU President Burns Hargis.

OSU administrators said in a statement that, "this research was not in the best interest of the university. The testing of lethal pathogens on primates would be a new area for OSU that is controversial and is outside our current research programs.

"OSU is focused on enhancing and expanding its existing research strengths including our ongoing programs in bioterrorism research. The proposed work would have distracted from those efforts.”

The researchers, however, justified the project as its could rpove integral to finding a cure or vaccine for anthrax that would benefit humankind.

Primates are considered the best animals for the testing of treatments because of their similar biology to humans. The primates must be destroyed after anthrax exposure, however, to ensure that they don't infect others.

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