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Using Human Blood In Undergraduate Labs Teaches Valuable Lessons About Risks

Human blood and other body fluids have been used to teach undergraduate students about basic physiological principles for many years. These fluids were easy to obtain, they were always fresh, and they provided incentives for the students to learn because they were learning about themselves. The use of human body fluids in undergraduate laboratories is now being questioned. Some scientists in academia no longer condone the use of human blood in laboratories because of the risk of transmitting d

Allen Sanborn
Human blood and other body fluids have been used to teach undergraduate students about basic physiological principles for many years. These fluids were easy to obtain, they were always fresh, and they provided incentives for the students to learn because they were learning about themselves.

The use of human body fluids in undergraduate laboratories is now being questioned. Some scientists in academia no longer condone the use of human blood in laboratories because of the risk of transmitting diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). These people feel the benefits of using human body fluids are not worth the potential risks when weighed against the amount of information gained by the students. In fact, a reviewer of a recent grant proposal stated on a review sheet that he or she was shocked by our use of human blood in some laboratory exercises and could not...

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