AWARD-WINNING RESEARCH: EMBRYOTOXIC TESTS HAVE NEVER BEEN EASIER
Stefan Weigt, a researcher of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has developed an improved test with fish embryos that detects interference in embryonic development resulting from drugs or chemicals and avoids animal testing. In recognition of this research, Weigt was presented with a prestigious award in Germany.
The thalidomide scandal was a radical turning point in the development of pharmaceutical products. Between 1958 and 1961, approximately 4,000 children were born with severe deformities in Germany alone, due to the teratogenic effects of the drug. Since then, pharmaceutical products have been rigorously tested for their embryotoxic effects. Until now, this has mostly been done using pregnant rats and rabbits.
However, for several years now, there has also been a test with zebrafish embryos, and Stefan Weigt has made some remarkable improvements to it. In recognition of his efforts, the German federal state of Hesse has presented Weigt with the Animal Welfare Research Award of the State of Hesse. The award honors people and institutions that have made a significant contribution to reducing animal testing or even being able to avoid it completely in some cases.