(UnitedVoice.com) – Most people know Billionaire Elon Musk for his electric cars, space rockets, and, most recently, his acquisition of Twitter. The businessman is also involved in the medical field. His company Neuralink is developing brain implants to help paralyzed people.
The venture is currently testing its invention on animals but hopes to move on to human trials soon. However, federal investigators have reportedly launched an investigation into allegations of botched animal experimentation.
Probe into Violations
The US Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General opened a probe into Neuralink Corp. in recent months, according to an exclusive by Reuters. An unnamed prosecutor recommended investigating whether the company violated the Animal Welfare Act with its experiments. Sources claim there’s a growing uproar among employees who think Musk’s venture is rushing the testing, leading to a number of animal deaths and alleged suffering.
The news agency reviewed Neuralink documents, including audio recordings, reports, and other material. Journalists also interviewed more than 20 former and current employees to figure out what exactly was happening in the company. Since 2018, roughly 1,500 animals died during Neuralink’s testing, including pigs, sheep, rats, mice, and monkeys.
The workers blamed Musk for the needless deaths of animals, the report stated. They believe his demands for faster testing increased the number of animals killed. Further, they expressed concerns that the significant number of deaths has hurt the studies’ credibility. Those allegations come at a critical time for the venture as it hopes to begin its human trials in 2023.
On Wednesday, November 30, The New York Times reported Musk held a presentation demonstrating what the Neuralink implants could do. They would connect the person’s brain to a computer and allow them to perform functions. During the presentation, two monkeys could move computer cursors using only their brains. The billionaire has said he hopes his device will one day help blind people see or restore movement in paralyzed people. Scientists just want patients to be able to perform basic functions like lifting a fork.
Musk told those who watched the demonstration that the company has submitted nearly all the paperwork it needs to move to human trials. He believes that could happen as soon as six months. With a federal investigation allegedly looming over the venture, it’s unclear whether human trials will move forward.
As for the reported probe, the government is staying quiet. The USDA has not commented.
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