Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a contemporary global plague, has confronted us with an ironic situation: while human beings constantly pursue great achievement of our goals, we are currently defeated by a tiny virus.
There are mainly four types of controversies that surround COVID-19. First, the source of contagion. Second, the naming of this virus. Third, the prevention strategies and fourth, the testing and release of available vaccinesall of which have turned into major political issues across the globe. These topics have become the focal point of dispute on social media and have distracts us from more important discussions about the pandemic.
In this thesis, I began the discussion with the source contagion with the analysis of ethical controversy regarding zoonosis, an infectious disease that has crossed the species barrier between animals and humans. There are three major
reasons for the transmission and spread of the virus:
1. The alteration of wild animal habitats and the ease of transportation of human beings and livestock.
2. The collective breeding of intensively farmed animals and the domestic breeding of wild animals.
3. Artificially synthesized viruses and transgene engineering across species.
Following that, this thesis will investigate the second and the fourth controversies. Then on the matter of vaccines, I would like to take a closer look at the animal and human experimentation that was involved in the research and development of UB-612, Taiwan’s domestic COVID vaccine, and offer my
humble opinion from the Buddhist perspective.
Furthermore, I hold a position that is strongly opposed to the default animal experimentation that is standard operating procedure (SOP) of vaccine research and development. I question the use of animals in western medical research－a methodology which seems to stem from human chauvinism. In comparison, I would discuss the fine tradition of Chinese medicine that tests new medicines on human beings in the initial stage. I hope that through this discussion, we can all look forward to a future without animal experimentation and high risk human experimentation that may also lack the process of informed consent.