Virtual Humans – Conclusion: better results, better medication, NO suffering animals.

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Oxford University researchers demand: We should test heart medicines on “virtual humans” in the computer instead of tormenting animals for it. How far is research here now?

Computer simulations are a faster, cheaper and more effective alternative to animal testing and will soon play an important role in the early stages of drug development, “Elisa Passini, Senior Research Associate at the University of Oxford, said in a detailed article on the latest findings in the field.

Millions of animals have to suffer – but computers deliver the better results.

To develop new medicines that can save lives, we find ourselves in a moral conflict: how to determine the risk of a new substance for humans?

So science relies on animal experiments, with all its consequences. This could one day end, because fortunately, computer systems and software are developing so rapidly that they provide increasingly better results in virtual experiments – even better than the questionable animal experiments.

Studies on new drugs and their potential effects on the human heart are 75 to 85 percent accurate in animal studies – that’s good, but far from optimal.

The latest research by the University of Oxford with computer simulations of the “virtual man”, however, come to 89 to 96 percent accuracy.

Conclusion: better results, better medication, no suffering animals.


Computer instead of animal experiments: where is the “catch”?

Although computers are becoming more and more powerful, research on drugs is also pushing modern systems to their limits. While the simulation of a single (heart) cell requires a few minutes, in a 3D model of the entire heart it would be considerably more complicated. “The simulation of a heartbeat can take about three hours in a supercomputer with nearly 1,000 processors,” says Passini.

There will be limitations and hurdles in the future: The human body is complex and has evolved over millions of years – so hoping for a quick miracle in the form of the complete abolition of animal testing should not be expected. “The complicated interaction within the human organism can not be broken down so easily on a computer simulation or a chip,” said Gilbert Schönfelder of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recently compared to the “world”.

So we are still at the very beginning of a development, which, after all, has already been proven in small areas.

Sources: The Conversation, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), Welt.



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