Vaccines that use human fetal cells draw fire

12 June 2020 Vol 368, Issue 6496


In Depth
Vaccines that use human fetal cells draw fire
By Meredith Wadman
Science12 Jun 2020 : 1170-1171 Full Access
Abortion opponents urge United States and Canada to avoid “ethically-tainted” cell lines.
Senior Catholic leaders in the United States and Canada, along with other antiabortion groups, are raising ethical objections to promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are manufactured using cells derived from human fetuses electively aborted decades ago. They have not sought to block government funding for the vaccines, which include two candidate vaccines that the Trump administration plans to support with an investment of up to $1.7 billion, as well as a third candidate made by a Chinese company in collaboration with Canada’s National Research Council. But in recent letters they implore the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ensure that alternatives that don’t rely on fetal cells are made available.