Setting the Record Straight: A Letter to the Editor

South Carolina is blessed with over 1,000 life sciences organizations, engaged in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals to medical devices and health IT. Never was this more important than during the pandemic, when millions were hospitalized and too many lives lost.

As neighbors fell ill, our industry — including Charles River Laboratories professionals — stepped up. Over 100 organizations produced PPE, tested for COVID-19, conducted vaccine clinical trials, and expedited health solutions. Gov. McMaster expressed appreciation by declaring Life Sciences Week in South Carolina.

As our state’s voice of life sciences, SCBIO wishes your “Monkeys & Blood” article had highlighted Charles River’s globally celebrated work that helps save millions of lives and improves patient safety.

Carefully obtained from Atlantic horseshoe crabs by Charles River professionals, Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) is critical to saving lives of patients everywhere. The unique, natural substance is used to test every injectable pharmaceutical, implantable medical device, and approved COVID-19 vaccine against contamination. Without it, endotoxins could enter the body and produce life-threatening sepsis.

For decades, Charles River has protected and nurtured our crab population. Its microbial testing is considered best-in-class by scientists globally. And with synthetic LAL neither readily available nor FDA-licensed, industry experts decline its sole use because the safety of IVs, vaccines and more would not be assured as with natural LAL.

Charles River and our life sciences ecosystem make tremendous contributions to our state and the health of mankind. Their lifesaving medical innovations should be celebrated.

James Chappell, CEO of SCBIO

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