Numerous vaccines are in development to immunize humans from COVID-19, the rapidly spreading respiratory virus that's upended daily life across the globe.
Scientists at the National Institute of Health (NIH) are among them.
A new report from the Washington Post details the work of Kim Hasenkrug, an NIH immunologist in its Montana laboratories, has a plan for how to most efficiently create and test a viable vaccine that could significantly curb the spread of the virus.
There's just one obstacle: the administration of President Donald Trump.
In 2019, the Trump administration instituted a ban on scientists using donated human fetal tissue from abortions in tests for new drugs.
"Humanized mice" are ideal for medical testing because their immune systems are already similar to ours. Hasenkrug is looking to test coronavirus vaccines on mice with humanized lungs in order to speed up the availability of a vaccine, potentially saving countless lives.
The 2019 Health and Human Services directive that banned using fetal tissue for research, however, has prevented Hasenkrug from getting the mice needed to perform the tests.
People are confounded that the Republican administration seems indifferent to saving lives.
The anti-science right wing gets in the way of finding life-saving treatments. https://t.co/k5HokS9CWa— Your Social Distancing Expert (@Your Social Distancing Expert) 1584663296.0
The Trump administration must immediately lift the ban on fetal tissue research for a potential COVID19 vaccine.… https://t.co/lGssqGDf8u— Emily Schlichting (@Emily Schlichting) 1584571828.0
Leave the science to scientists not to Evangelicals. https://t.co/OksW9oRheu— D. Shane Brzezinski (@D. Shane Brzezinski) 1584566006.0
Thank this administrations’ ban on fetal tissue research for preventing important COVID-19 treatment research. Good… https://t.co/LJVFJ9s1WO— Chris Barry (@Chris Barry) 1584716735.0
The dissonance between being "pro-life" while preventing lives from being saved was lost on no one.
Being unable to develop a treatment for a global pandemic that could kill a million people because of how “pro-life… https://t.co/MHz2f1BIor— Eric (@Eric) 1584565256.0
They irony of pro lifers being responsible for potentially 100,000's of deaths. https://t.co/8XlPTVby97— Bob G 65 (@Bob G 65) 1584566829.0
Another example of how the behavior of the Trump-Pence administration gives lie to their putative support for life. https://t.co/jqzibnCD2y— WHARR (@WHARR) 1584651844.0
Officials have said that a viable vaccine is at least a year from distribution.