How Fetal Cells From The 1970s Power Medical Innovation Today

(@FahadShabbir)

How fetal cells from the 1970s power medical innovation today

It is no secret that thousands of laboratories around the world use cells derived from a fetus that was aborted decades ago to develop vital medicines

Washington, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 20th Oct, 2020 ) :It is no secret that thousands of laboratories around the world use cells derived from a fetus that was aborted decades ago to develop vital medicines.

But it is a contentious topic in the US, where conservatives and anti-abortion activists have long deemed the practice unethical.

The matter is once more under the spotlight after President Donald Trump was treated for Covid-19 using Regeneron's antibody treatment. The company used aborted fetal cells as part of its testing process.

"It's becoming annoying," Andrea Gambotto, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said of the controversy.

Gambotto has used a cell line called HEK 293, the same used by Regeneron, as part of his research for 25 years.

"It'd be a crime to ban the use of these cells," he added. "It never harmed anybody -- it was a dead embryo so the cells back then (were used), instead of being discarded, they were used for research." The big advantage of these cells, which were developed in the early 1970s, is that they now represent a "gold standard" in the pharmaceutical industry.

If Gambotto -- who is leading a Covid-19 vaccine research project himself -- one day succeeds, his vaccine can be produced anywhere in the world, thanks to HEK293.

"You can go to India and make a vaccine for all the world," he said. To those who call for the development of alternatives, he says, "You don't need to go back 30 years and reinvent the wheel."