posted on Dec, 13 2004 @ 03:18 PM
Niven is excellent - Ringworld stuff rules - go Louis Wu....
Even in the 21st cen, we still have to do it and I'll cite some examples that are pretty relevant. HIV - yes we can test on specific tissues, but to
get a picture of what happens when treatments are applied you end up having to look at the entire body and all tissues and the effects. Sure, you
could have a drug that deals with the virus and receptor sites, but what if takes out the liver at the same time or kills off the bone marrow - not
good. Unfortunately only way to know is to cut a critter up a see.
Cancer research is far from over as well and the same needs arise - you have to test the effects across the whole body and in many cases, a critter is
going to do this before any human trials occur.
There is also continuing work on antibiotics, since each new drug invariably gets made less effective as bacteria mutate - so new ones come out and
they have to test - critters first then us. Yes they do it in a petri dish first but the effect has to be corroborated in a wholel system e.g. critter
and to have no ill side effects before it gets to a human study....
Even homeopathic remedies had to be tested at one point and yes critters and humans died to find out. Lot's of natural cures that can kill or poison
in the wrong dosage and much of our current stuff could be said to be homeopathic in origin, just produced in quantity in modern pharma plants but
their source was found in a plant or other species in the wild. Just easier to make it in a lab than to harvest it in the wild e.g. penicillin is a
good example and there are many others....