The antibody cocktail used to treat President Donald Trump’s case of coronavirus uses cells originally derived from aborted fetuses.
The MIT Technology Review found that Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, the company responsible for crafting the antibody cocktail used by Trump, tested it using cells originally cultivated from aborted tissue.
*clears throat* OOOOOOOOOO, THEY IN TROUBLEEEEEE.
Just kidding, y’all. As if Republicans would ever face consequences for their blatant hypocrisies.
The Trump administration has been incredibly firm in its pro-life views, with Vice President and Venus flytrap Mike Pence emphasizing those views during Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). In 2019, the Trump Administration moved to prevent the National Institutes of Health from funding the exact kind of research that may have saved the president’s life.
While I would love to sit here and be like, “Oh, so you pro-choice when it comes to saving your life and/or marriage?” it’s quite likely that Trump wasn’t aware of the fact his treatment was originally tested with aborted tissue. The development process is incredibly complex and one would have to have a background in pharmaceuticals to really parse through it.
From the Technology Review:
According to Regeneron, laboratory tests used to assess the potency of its antibodies employed a standardized supply of cells called HEK 293T, whose origin was kidney tissue from an abortion in the Netherlands in the 1970s.
Since then, the 293T cells have been “immortalized,” meaning they keep dividing in the lab, somewhat like a cancer, and have undergone other genetic changes and additions.
According to Regeneron, it and many other labs employ 293T cells to manufacture virus “pseudoparticles,” which are virus-like structures that contain the “spike” protein of the deadly coronavirus. It needs those to test how well different antibodies will neutralize the virus.
The two antibodies Regeneron eventually put forward as an experimental treatment, which may have saved Trump’s life, would have been selected using exactly such tests. Because the 293T cells were acquired so long ago, and have lived so long in the laboratory, they are no longer thought of as involving abortion politics.
Basically, the treatment was tested on aborted tissue but due to the nature of the way these cells are cultivated over the years, it’s like, only technically abortion cells? If that makes sense?
Look, I read a lot of sci-fi, but I’m still that dude that got a C in Biology.
Still, it’s not a good look, considering the Trump administration has made moves to prevent research from going forward on aborted cells. The administration formed an ethics panel in the Department of Health and Human Services that, in August, rejected funding for 13 of the 14 proposals presented to it. The reason given was that they focused on cultivating cells from newer abortions as opposed to older ones, like the treatment Regeneron crafted.
Scientists have argued that cells cultivated from newer abortions would be beneficial as they could potentially create new and useful cell lines.