Viruses Pose Problems for Xenotransplantaion

            Xenotransplantation has many impacts on society. One major concern within the biotechnology world is the transferring of diseases between animals and humans. Researchers know that animal viruses can occasionally cross the species barrier and cause human diseases, but they do not know yet how dangerous this risk can truly be. There certainly is danger in Xenotransplantation, depending on the specific case, and the danger of the transplant weights mostly on the benefit of the transplant all together. There may also be risks to people not involved with the transplant, people who do not benefit from it in any way. A chief fear of researchers is the concern about a transplant that introduces a deadly, unrecognized virus into the human population that spreads broadly before the danger is even discovered.

            Doctors though, can greatly reduced the risk of disease and other problems occurring. Doctors can screen animals for any viruses that could possibly contaminate the transplant. By screening the animals, doctors would take tissue samples from the donor animal and they would carefully screen these cells. Doctors would screen for known pathogens that could affect the transplant. But this procedure is not always effective and still has its risks since doctors cannot screen for what they do not know, meaning there could possibly be silently harbored infections or diseases that scientists do not know about that are inside of the donor animal. Error in testing accuracy must also be considered.

            The human body is very strong and every human is born with a great immune system, but the possibilities of a great danger occurring is truly unknown. The Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidelines to govern the screening of donor animals, donor patients, and the long term follow ups of xenotransplant recipients, to help this great concern of scientists. Moreover, scientists, doctors, and researchers are all doing their part in making sure that society and patients stay safe and that the world knows that Xenotransplantation is not a dangerous procedure.

 The Social, Political, and Econimc Impact of Xenotransplantation

            The various cultural and societal responses to xenotransplantation are hard to predict and the acceptability of xenotransplantation will differ between cultures and societies, while also changing over time. Xenotransplantation raises issues that affect all people. Cultural norms, attitudes, and belief systems shape the perceptions of societies and individuals. People's perception on scientific validity and true medical justification are the major issues that people judge the procedure on. Many people can provide a more vocal view on the procedure but truly it all depends on a person, what they feel about xenotransplantation. People who believe in the procedure are able to get others to believe in it as well, but this also means that people who do not like this procedure can have the same effect on others. Thus creating the social aspect of xenotransplantation and people's views on it.

            For the political aspect it all relates to the relationship between the procedure and the government, church, and scientists. All those different views and beliefs contribute to the views on the topic. Today, xenotransplantation is not spoken of much but is not really a primary focus of society. Since this procedure is still thriving and is still creating more discoveries, people do not know much about it. Therefore people do not really have many views on the matter. Politically animal rights activists obviously are against the procedure. But other people do believe in xenotransplantation and are willing to support the procedure now and in the near future as it grows to become a larger industry. Xenotransplantaion is a procedure that is still growing and being researched on and throughout time people and the worlds views socially and politically will change.

Economic Impacts in Developed and Developing Countries

            In various countries around the world there are many economic impacts that affect them when it comes to xenotransplantation. Developed and Developing countries have the same views on xenotransplantation, and the majority of all of them are still deciding viewpoints on the matter.

             In Canada, pre-clinical xenotransplantation research is now occurring. The basis for regulation of xenotransplantation is the Canadian Food and Drugs Act. Canada now views the standards for xenotransplantation as guidance for the planning and development of xenotransplantation for only trials. A National Forum for public and professional opinion development was held in November 2009, and results of this great meeting are still unknown. Canada knows one thing though, is that they have a group called the Standards Based Risk Management(SBRM) and this company is researching and in the process of developing rules for organ and tissue transplantation. This management organization are now developing specific standards for organ and tissue groups, including xenotransplantation, are still working today.

            The Etablissement fran├žais des Greffes in France has formed a committee on xenotransplantation for reviewing and analyzing developments in xenotransplantation. In eagerness of the potential implementation of xenotransplantation in France, this skilled committee is in the process of developing guidance documents on various aspects of safety information. The ethical aspects of xenotransplantation are presently under scrutiny by the National Advisory Ethics Committee.

            In Switzerland, the Swiss government has proposed a statement that will be the constitutional basis for a new law regulating the transplantation of organs, tissues, and cell of the human and animal origin. They are also formulating a law concerning transplantation medicine, which also covers xenotransplantation. 

      In the United Kingdom, the government commenced work on xenotransplantation when it established the Advisory Group on the Ethics of Xenotransplantation, under the Chairmanship of Professor Ian Kennedy in March 1996. In the UK officials are still debating the issues back and forth about xenotransplantation. In Britain there was one controversy that arose. Documents detailing pig organ transplant experiments on baboons and monkeys were leaked, and outraged animal welfare groups. The controversy was a major factor in the decision by Imutran, the company funding the experiments, to shut down its operations in the UK and move to North America. A baboon received a pigs heart and lived 39 days until it died. Documents about the monkeys days were leaked into press and begun major controversies about animal treatment and rights. This begun to raise concerns about animal transplantation with other animals and humans.

 Xenotransplantation: Pro or Anti?

            According to an article written by Ian Sample, "An unprecedented survey of public attitudes towards organ donation has revealed an overwhelming rejection of the use of animal organs for human transplants." In this article written in June 2004, Sample interviewed many people and asked them their opinion on the transplantation between animals and humans. The majority said they were against the procedure and proposed many other ways to work around this procedure. Politically most people are against xenotransplantation but a lot of those people do not realize the benefits that this procedure has to offer the world, as later said in this same article.

            The question "Do We Have the Right to Transplant Animal Parts?" always comes into consideration when it comes to the relationship between humans and animals. This is also a question that many people ask when hearing about xenotransplantation. People believe that this procedure is morally wrong, to use animal body parts, and cell tissue for human benefit, and that it is not human's right to hurt all the animals and test on them. Socially, many people believe that this type of procedure is not a proper use of animals, but animal research is essential to scientific progress against disease, and xenotransplantation is another way to cure diseases in the human population. If humans can eat animals, and test on animals, then why can't they also use animals to save and protect lives through transplantation? This argument is mainly ethical and unique to each individual and this question truly can never be answered and will always be an integral aspect when looking into xenotransplantation. So what is your opinion? Most people do not know much about this procedure, but with proper information and much learning many people would soon accept xenotransplantation and understand the necessity for it or not for it.


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