Most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary, according to a report from the U. S. Institute of Medicine (IOM). And the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds research on chimpanzees, has swiftly followed with an announcement that it will move to implement the IOM findings as swiftly as possible and for now will not consider grant applications involving chimpanzees.
What’s the Big Idea?
The IOM committee said that the NIH should limit funding to studies for which there is no other suitable model available; that cannot be performed ethically in humans; and without which important advancements will be significantly slowed or prevented. The bulk of chimpanzee work currently being done is in the area of monoclonal antibodies and hepatitis C.