CNSNews.com has long fearmongered about the use of fetal cells or tissue derived from abortion in the devlopment of vaccines and other medicines. In 2016 it touted a House committee report claiming that "Fetal tissue has not been directly linked to a single medical cure in 90 years of fetal tissue research, followed by an op-ed from an anti-abortion activist discouraging the use of fetal cells to develop a Zika vaccine. Editor Terry Jeffrey heavily lobbied against the federal government funding research that made use of fetal cells from abortions, even if the research was developing vaccines. And earlier this year, another anti-abortion activist cheered the discontinuation of that funding, declaring that "None of the vaccines, treatments, or FDA-approved cellular and gene therapy products on the market use human fetal tissue from elective abortions that rely on ongoing abortions."
So when it was reported that the antibody drug cocktail given to Presient Trump was derived from fetal cells, CNS quickly went into spin mode. Lucy Collins did the first piece on Oct. 12, citing people from the anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute:
In a press call on Friday, biochemists David Prentice, Ph.D., and Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D., disputed claims that the treatment President Donald Trump received to combat his coronavirus infection was made from aborted fetal cells or tissues.
Prentice is the vice president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Lee is a senior fellow in Life Sciences at the Institute.
Lee described the recent news stories about Trump receiving an antibody cocktail that may have been made from an aborted cell line or aborted tissue as a “complete misunderstanding of Regeneron antibody cocktail.”
“The [fetal] cells were not used to create the antibody cocktail itself,” Prentice explained, “They were used, however, to test the potency of the antibody product, so these studies were separate from production of the antibody cocktail that's actually used to treat the Covid 19 patients, including President Trump. As Regeneron itself said, they were used in any other way.”
The biochemists conceded that the drug was tested, albeit not manufactured, by using a 50-year-old cell line originally derived from aborted fetal cells. Prentice and Lee said this specific practice is widespread and not the same ethical dilemma as using “fresh” aborted fetal tissue or cells.
“It was tested using fetal cells, but ones that are almost 50 years old, certainly not fresh aborted fetal tissue or any new cells,” said Prentice.
But Collins apparently still wasn't convinced that wasn't an "ethical dliemma":
CNS News sked Lee if the cocktail produced by Regeneron and tested with the fetal cells was the only one available for treatment for President Trump or if he could have chosen a drug that was not tested using a fetal cell line.
Lee said, “That company made the choice to use the fetal cell line, they could have chosen to use a different cell line that would not have created the controversy.”
“Our point about this is that those cells were not used in any way in terms of the production, that the ethical choice there then does not rest on the recipient of the particular treatment or vaccine,” said Prentice.
In an effort to further absolve Trump of violating whatever anti-abortion pledge he may have made by taking the cocktail, Melanie Arter wrote an article the same day featuring the CEO of Regeneron similarly insisting that "our drug is not manufactured using fetal cells" after CBS pointed out that the cell line from which the antibodies were derived "were harvested from the kidney tissue of an aborted fetus" and that "the Trump administration last year has suspended federal funding for research projects that involve fetal tissue from abortions."
CNS apparently considers the subject closed now, for it has done no more articles on the subject of fetal tissues in coronavirus treatements nor even published an op-ed on the subject. Its writers are not getting paid to make Trump look bad, after all.