In the Feb. 18, 1991, issue of The Scientist [page 12], there is a letter entitled "Animal Rights" by Melissa B. Goldman, raising questions about Albert M. Kligman's commentary on this subject [The Scientist, Oct. 29, 1990, page 16]. The examples she gives deserve a critical analysis.
For those diseases that occur essentially only in humans, like cardiovascular disease, only epidemiology could be used to show a relationship like that between cholesterol blood levels and coronary heart disease.
However, once the need to lower lipids became clear, it was essential to use animals to discover drugs that would lower cholesterol and other lipids. Animals were essential both for discovery of drugs and for screening out drugs that were unsafe.
Vaccines could not have been developed without animal models. Otherwise, proof of efficacy and safety must be established in people. We are faced with this prospect in AIDS, since the animal...