It’s become common to see opponents of President Trump, who takes a pro-life stance, decry the use of “fetal stem cells” in the Regeneron treatment the President recently underwent in his Kung Flu case. As usual, the left gets it (mostly) wrong, surrounding a kernel of truth with a mountain of horseshit, because they couldn’t be arsed to take thirty seconds in a web search to find out how Regeneron is made and tested. Here’s the truth. Excerpts, with my comments:
Rumors are circulating claiming that President Donald Trump‘s monoclonal antibody treatment from Regeneron was made with human fetal or embryonic stem cells. Regeneron told Heavy that their antibody cocktail was not developed using human fetal or embryonic stem cells, but it did use “immortalized epithelial cells” that were originally derived from human embryonic kidney cells at Stanford in the 1980s. Regeneron told Heavy that these were “immortalized epithelial cells” and not stem cells. These cells weren’t used to create the antibody cocktail itself, but they were used to test its potency. Those HEK293T cells were originally derived from fetal tissue from “a healthy aborted fetus of unknown parenthood,” according to the HEK293 website.
So, the treatment is tested, not produced, with a cell tissue culture that was originally derived from a healthy aborted fetus. That’s the kernel of truth. But:
Alexandra Bowie of Regeneron told Heavy that Regeneron did not create its REGN-COV2 treatment using human embryonic stem cells.
She wrote: “This particular discovery program (REGN-COV2) did not involve human stem cells or ESCs.”
Another question circulating involves the use of HEK293T cells in the production of the REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail. Two publications in Science Magazine discussed the creation of antibody cocktails for SARS-CoV-2 and mentioned HEK293T cells.
Bowie clarified for Heavy how the HEK293T cells were used:
They are referring to use of the 293T cell line, which was made at Stanford in the ‘80s and was originally derived from human embryonic kidney cells. These are immortalized epithelial cells – not stem cells. These are very commonly used cells in research, and most published research involves use of 293s. In our case, these 293T cells were transfected and used in production of a ‘pseudoparticle’ that mimics the virus’ Spike protein and allowed us to test neutralization ability of our antibodies against the virus.
Regeneron told Technology Review that the HEK 293T cells weren’t used to create the antibody cocktail itself, but they were used to test the potency of the antibodies. The HEK 293T cells originated from kidney tissue from an abortion in the Netherlands in the 1970s. The cells have been dividing in a lab (thus “immortalized”) since the 1970s, Technology Review noted.
You can learn more about the HEK293 cell line here. The cells are commonly used in cancer research, for example.
So, whatever you think of the source of those cells, that source is decades removed from their current use in a variety of testing of vital medical treatments. These kinds of antibody treatments have wide-ranging possibilities and I suspect we will see them used more in Kung Flu treatment, now that it’s been established that they work.
But to the point: Commenters who deride President Trump for accepting this treatment have in fact taken the tiniest kernel of truth and surrounded it with a monstrous lie. Read the entire article linked here, and use it at every turn.