SHANNON Alder said, “Some stories have to be written because no one would believe the absurdity of it all.”
In fact, some events can be as absurd and as unbelievable like how a giant pharmaceutical company pursued an ethical path of development and production policy that supports the defense of the unborn.
Yet, such an event occurred this year.
In June, Sanofi Pasteur, a giant pharmaceutical company based in Lyon, France, announced its abandonment of the MRC-5 fetal cell line in the development and production of its polio vaccine Poliovax (The company also produced the highly controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia).
MRC-5 is a fetal cell line developed in 1966 from the lung tissue of 14-week-old aborted male babies in the United Kingdom. Cell lines are used in vaccine development as the growing culture for polio viruses, weakening their virulence and harvesting them for inclusion in the vaccine solution. Historically, MRC-5 had been used, and perhaps, is still being used, in producing vaccines for chickenpox, hepatitis A, rabies, some rubella, shingles and smallpox.
With this announcement, Poliovax will also cease production. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already announced the discontinued marketing of Poliovax in the United States. Instead, the Sanofi Pasteur will pursue the production of its new lines of polio vaccines (Pentacel, Quadracel and Ipol), which use the Vero cell lines coming from monkeys. It is also developing a Covid-19 vaccine in partnership with Translate Bio without using any aborted fetal cell line.
An earlier announcement also reported the collaboration of Sanofi Pasteur and Glaxo-Smith-Klein in developing a Covid-19 vaccine using an insect-based culture medium.
This development is a cause for celebration among Catholics and pro-lifers around the world. It is also high time for Catholics and pro-lifers in the Philippines to thank Sanofi Pasteur for its new pro-life policy in pharmaceutical development. It is never too late to be grateful. And Sanofi Pasteur deserves that gratitude.
This celebration also comes with an invitation for other pharmaceutical companies to use only those cell lines that are not coming from aborted children either directly or as its developmental origin. It is one good news we should thank God for.
St. Gianna Molla, the pediatrician mother who refused aborting her baby even if she dies, once said, “The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends us day after day.”