Did surfactant therapy for premature infants depend on animal experiments as the March of Dimes claims?
No. Surfactant is a natural compound that allows the lungs to operate normally. It was discovered in experiments using animal and human lung specimens in the late 1950s. Although some animal lung specimens were used, human lung specimens could have been used alone. Three years after its discovery, researchers demonstrated that premature infants have no surfactant in their lungs, but that the substance is present in the lungs of more mature infants, children, and adults. Within a few years, trials had begun administering this substance to infants with lung problems. Human studies continue today to improve surfactant therapy for infants.