Fortunately, although many scientists do resort to animal experiments during this central phase of investigation, others focus on further clinical and epidemiological studies, tests with healthy volunteers and laboratory research with human cells and tissues. The proof that animal experiments are not "essential" comes not only from recorded contributions of clinical research but more obviously from those diseases for which medicine has been forced to rely on human-based research because there is no animal model. For instance, the inflammatory diseases of the intestine - Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis - have no animal counterparts and consequently the delineation of their clinical features, their diagnosis and their treatment have all been achieved by clinical investigation during the past half-century.(4)/p>
Another example is yellow fever.6 No animal was known to be susceptible when, in 1900, Dr Walter Reed, head of an American military team to Cuba, proved through experiments on human volunteers that mosquitoes did indeed transmit the disease. Reed's findings were put to good use in Havana where improved sanitation and quarantine not only wiped out yellow fever but almost completely rid the area of malaria, another mosquito-borne disease.
It is true that compared with the use of animals, which scientists regard as disposable, clinical research does require more skill, time and patience to avoid unnecessary risks to participants. However, there are important advantages. Not only are clinical studies directly relevant to human disease but the everyday practice of medicine, in which doctors make observations and evaluate treatment in millions of patients, carries with it a huge potential for deriving knowledge that cannot be developed in any other way.(4)/p>
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