US Department of Health and Human Services clarified on Wednesday about an anonymous report carried in the Washington Post, the previous day.
Washington Post had stated in their report about there being doubt on the continuance of funding to University of California, San Francisco for undertaking medical research in fetal tissue use. The report stated the likelihood of discontinuance before the expiry of the stipulated contracted seven year period. However, HHS’ National Institutes of Health clarified to the contrary and said that a decision in this regard would be taken by them after reviewing the contract following the audit process which was on.
HHS had made it clear in September that it aimed to evaluate afresh all research involving fetal tissue while at the same time making efforts to hunt for alternatives to use of human fetal tissue in all research funded by them.
The advancements made in bio-medical science by use of human fetal tissue got through voluntary abortions was immense and as per government data about $100 million was spent annually by NIH in research related to their use. Revolutionary breakthroughs were gained in the field of vaccination with the help of fetal cells. Vaccines for polio, rubella, chickenpox, rabies, shingles and hepatitis A virus vaccine are a few examples that have been developed from fetal cells.
In spite of enabling good work to be done in the field of medicine, a moratorium was placed by HHS in 1988 on federal funded research making use of human fetal tissue obtained through elective abortions. The moratorium was later removed by President Clinton in 1993 and funds were legally sanctioned for conducting research in fetal tissue that year.
Researchers in this field have time and again emphasized the importance of fetal tissue in all spheres of medical research as all other currently available options fail to effectively take their place.
HHS ended their September statement by stating that the scope for developing suitable alternatives to use of human fetal tissue in research will be explored intensively and funds set aside for the purpose.