Donald Trump’s latest hate-move toward the LGBT+ community has caused huge concern for scientists, with his administration shutting down research into a cure for HIV.
Scientists often work with mice and human fetal tissue for testing, but one scientist claims that the Department of Health and Human Sciences “has directed me to discontinue” the tests with fetal tissue.
“This effectively stops all of our research to discover a cure for HIV,” he wrote in an email to researchers.
LGBTQ Nation writes:
A “pause” on research that uses aborted fetal tissue, something Christian conservatives strongly oppose, was announced by the Trump administration this past September. The move will affect numerous biomedical research programs.
Congressional Republicans have tried to ban all fetal tissue research for years to appease the religious right. 85 Republican House members wrote a letter to the head of the FDA asking for a ban on fetal tissue research shortly before the “pause” was announced.
Warner Greene, director of the Gladstone Center for HIV Cure Research, tells of how they were set to collaborate with the Montana lab on HIV research before Trump stepped in.
“The decision completely knocked our collaboration off the rails. We were devastated.”
The study relies on humanized mice – that as one of the few non-humans that can be injected with the virus, have been used as subjects for years – which requires unwanted, unneeded fetal tissue from women having legal abortions.
But while a ‘halt’ on proceedings may not seem serious until its confirmed permanence, Greene confirmed that some damage had already been done: “If we were given the green light right now, it would probably take us a year to get back in the position we were in when the ban was put in place.”
Another scientist, Jerome Zack, who has used humanized mice for the last 25 years, said: “Everything I am doing involves humanized mice. It would shut my lab down if we were not able to use fetal tissues.”