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5-Animals: 69% of Britons want freeze on GM animal to human transplants



----------------------------- GENET-news -----------------------------

TITLE:  69% of Britons want freeze on GM animal to human transplants
SOURCE: British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, BUAV
Christine Orr, christine.orr@buav.org
DATE:   March 15, 2000

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69% OF BRITONS WANT FREEZE ON GM ANIMAL TO HUMAN TRANSPLANTS

In the light of the Biotech industryŐs most recent claims (cloning of 
pigs by PPL as a solution to organ shortages), the BUAV (British 
Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) quotes a revealing opinion 
poll (1) showing that an overwhelming 69% of Britons surveyed want a 
freeze on the development of transplants of genetically-modified 
animal organs to humans (xenotransplantation) to allow for a full 
public debate.

The survey was conducted after fuller details of the implications of 
this GM technology were brought to light. These were alarming 
revelations that GM pig organ transplant patients will need to agree 
never to have children and have their current and future sexual 
partners registered and monitored by medical authorities.

These conditions form part of a regime of highly intrusive and 
impractical safe-guards that patients should agree to abide by for 
the rest of their lives to avoid the potentially devastating spread 
of highly infectious pig viruses to humans (2). They were published 
in a draft report by BritainŐs regulatory body on animal-human 
transplants, UKXIRA (UK Xenotransplantation Interim Regulatory 
Authority).

The first applications for xenotransplantation clinical human trials 
in this country have now been made. Full details have not been 
disclosed by the Department of Health. Britain already has a herd of 
GM pigs bred for organ transplants, owned by Imutran, Cambridge-based 
subsidiary of Swiss bio-tech giant Novartis. The pigs have been 
genetically modified with human DNA in a crude attempt to solve the 
major obstacle of organ rejection.

Michelle Thew, BUAV Chief Executive says:
"This opinion poll shows that over two thirds of the population want 
a freeze on pig to human organ transplants and a full public debate Đ 
this cannot be ignored. The BUAV is calling for a moratorium to 
enable full public consultation on this potentially dangerous 
technology. The BUAV believes that the Government should be 
implementing a donor opt-out system (presumed donor-consent unless 
otherwise stated) as a viable, safe and humane solution to donor 
shortage rather than going down the dubious path of using animals 
simply as spare-parts."

1 NOP solutions, Omnibus study of 1000 adults aged 15+ in Britain, 12-
14th November 1999.
2 From draft report of UKXIRAŐs Infection Surveillance Steering 
Group, July 1999.


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