Human cells obtained years before embryos were used to develop the monoclonal antibody treatment given to Mr. Trump following his Kovid-19 diagnosis in October. And cells extracted from the tissues of several embryonic coronaviruses funded by Operation Tana Speed were also tested.
Some scientists cried out what they had seen as a double standard, stating that Mr. Trump should not have taken a cure that was based on research that he had banned.
“It was just so hypocritical,” said Lawrence Goldstein, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego, who has used fetal tissue in his research.
Dr. Goldstein said he hopes no future Republican administration will reinstate Mr. Trump’s ban. “It would be terrible for this research to be on yo-yo,” he said. “If it happens it will die.”
Some conservative and religious organizations have suggested that scientists use tissue from elective abortions rather than alternative. But spontaneous abortion often results in genetic and developmental abnormalities that would make fetal tissue unusable for research.
Scientists have used embryonic tissue for decades to create cell lines for life-long research into vaccines and treatments for many diseases. Since the 1980s, so-called human mice have embryonic human tissue or organs, which serve to develop treatments such as liverpins, and to study the immune response to pathogens such as coronaviruses.
Dr. Goldstein stated that many drugs that worked brilliantly in regular mice were unsuccessful in human clinical trials. “Mice are not just small humans, so mice with a humanized immune system are very valuable.”