We recently did a post where it was suggested (not by us – we just reported it) that Bear saliva could be used instead of Bear bile as a use for the Coronavirus.
Here is a link to that original post:
Over the last few days we have been in direct contact with Jill Robinson – Founder and CEO at ‘Animals Asia’ regarding this issue. AA have investigated the information that we sent; and today (1/4/20) Jill has come back to us on the issue; with a formal AA statement from Shaun Thomson BVSc MRCVS, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at the AA Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre.
Here is a copy of the mail sent to us from Jill and Shaun.
I’m now posting a statement below from Shaun, our Senior Vet in Vietnam – and cc’ing Shaun too for any follow up you might have.
As an organisation we do not endorse this idea and suggest that reliance is placed on the herbal and synthetic alternatives to bear bile and saliva, healing without harm.
With best wishes, Jill
“As health-care and other industries work to replace, reduce and refine their use of animals in product testing and human health care, it is incredibly important that we critically consider the expected outcomes of any animal model or product used in an attempt to save human lives.
Currently, there is little evidence that any bear product provides a health benefit that can’t be obtained through other means. We know that the active component of bear bile has physiologic effects in certain circumstances, but its synthetic and other herbal counterparts have those effects also.
As for bear saliva providing antibodies to coronavirus, there is no good evidence to suggest that the claims made are supported. There are 7 different coronaviruses currently known to affect people and each of them is their own serotype. This means that each is neutralised by a different type of antibody and therefore resistance to one serotype does not confer immunity to another serotype. There is no evidence that bears can mount an immune response to human coronaviruses and therefore no evidence that we would expect to find antibodies to any human coronavirus in their saliva.
Bear saliva, like most animals, contains a lot of different microbes. The way microbes stop other microbes from attacking them is by making antimicrobials. A bacteria found in bear saliva has been found to make a chemical that works as an antibiotic against a bacteria that is a common human pathogen. This chemical is being evaluated for its potential use as an antibiotic, but this in no way supports that bear saliva is in anyway effective against coronavirus (or any other infections). Using bear saliva to treat a susceptible infection could be likened to using mouldy bread to treat an infection susceptible to penicillin.
The way to get antibodies for SARS-COV-2 to then treat people, in a way that makes mechanistic sense and has shown to work for other infections, is to take plasma from recovered people and give it to those that are suffering from COVID-19. This is already being done. This method provides a safer, more effective solution and requires the use of absolutely no animals. There is always the risk of blood borne infections, but with modern screening the chances of this are incredibly low. These risks are also likely significantly lower than problems that could be caused by the administration of bear saliva. Donating plasma allows those now immune to the disease to support their community to get healthier in a better way.”
Shaun Thomson BVSc MRCVS
Senior Veterinary Surgeon
Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre