We are encouraged to use phones for major communication from one person to another - it leaves no paper trail. There have been WAY too many lawsuits where email chains were used as evidence.
While interesting, this research is far too late to be remotely useful. There are multiple Phase III trials currently ongoing with new generations of HCV treatments - at least one of these will become the de facto standard of treatment for HCV cures in the future, with REAL human cure rates of > 90% if not 100%, depending on genotype and statues re: failed previous treatment courses of course. That puts them about 8 years ahead of these guys. Interesting science though, and I wish them luck.
Working in drug discovery, I'm still amazed at how often a small change of sometimes even a single atom of a molecule can take an pharmacologically active molecule and make it near-worthless - or even worse take a (relatively) safe molecule and turn it unacceptably toxic. I'd stay FAR away from any "analogue" being created with the sole purpose of rounding a ban without having any sort of safety and probably minimal efficacy testing.
I'd say this kind of story gives even stronger evidence for why illicit drugs (the less-toxic at least) should be legalized & controlled - if this article is not overly sensational and there really is an escalating war of chemistry we could get into some pretty nasty stuff being marketed to consumers who do not know any better.
Is this a good move for Netflix, or a sign of tough times ahead?"
Honestly, if a "revolution" in animal testing is going to occur, they watershed paper will not be out of this journal. The researchers appear to be microscopy specialists, not animal research specialists. Not to denigrate their work, but the literature is littered with people making grandiose claims about how their research can be applied with very little understanding about the other discipline where they suggest it could be useful.
This article has nothing to do with leeches, it's about willful tampering with a particular protocol for their entire user population, leech or otherwise.
And yes, you are the only one. I guess it's OK if you get to decide who is a "leech" and screw the other guy.
"...to improving chemotherapy drugs whose side effects arise from their solubility or insolubility in water."
This is absolutely not true. The side effect is inherent to the molecular structure of the molecule, not its solubility or lack thereof. (If it's insoluble it doesn't get into the body, and hence doesn't have a side effect... but then it has no effect at all.)