Trump Administration Shuts Down NIH Study That Uses Fetal Tissue Implanted In Mice In Search For HIV Cure

The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration has shut down at least one government-run study that uses fetal tissue implanted into mice even before federal health officials reach a decision on whether to continue such research, which is opposed by antiabortion groups.

A senior scientist at a National Institutes of Health laboratory in Montana told colleagues that the Health and Human Services Department “has directed me to discontinue procuring fetal tissue” from a firm that is the only available source, according to an email he sent to a collaborator in late September.

“This effectively stops all of our research to discover a cure for HIV,” the researcher wrote. The research disruptions might extend to a handful of other labs using fetal tissue, all of which are part of NIH, rather than outside research institutions operating on NIH grants, according to an individual familiar with the situation.

Science Magazine reports:

The HIV experiment disrupted by the suspension was being conducted at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana, which focus on infectious diseases. Researchers there use fetal tissue donated by women who have had legal abortions to create so-called humanized mice, which have immune systems that behave like a human’s. Humanized mice have played a key role in testing and developing treatments for many diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Such mice are particularly valuable for HIV drug testing in part because tissue from a single human fetus can readily generate a group of 40 to 50 genetically identical mice, and because the animals can, unlike monkeys, be infected with the human virus, HIV. Potential drugs can then be tested in such a group, with ample mice as controls, giving the studies robust statistical power.

Rather obviously, this is the work of the anti-abortion Christianists now running the show.