As NABR members well know, the ability of biomedical research institutions to obtain necessary NHP models has become increasingly more challenging due to pressure from animal rights groups, shifting political priorities, and a general lack of awareness of the problems. However today, The Atlantic shed significant light on these problems in the context of America’s quest for a solution for COVID-19. NABR President Matthew R. Bailey was quoted along with several research scientists who expressed genuine concern about the lack of available NHPs for research at a time when demand was already expected to increase even before the current outbreak.
Infectious-disease scientist, at California National Primate Research Center, Koen Van Rompay stated that“nationally, there is basically a big shortage”, which has limited various researchers from beginning their COVID-19 studies at any of the seven NIH-funded primate centers. Similarly, the CEO of Bioqual, Mark Lewis, also commented that Bioqual “can’t find any rhesus any longer. They’ve completely disappeared.”
The director of the Tulane National Primate Center, Jay Rappaport, mentioned that “there needs to be a real national investment to build the infrastructure [for a monkey reserve], not only for this pandemic, but also for the future with the next pandemic.”
Bailey stated he has “not [seen] any nonhuman primates moving out of China”, and that the "The reliance on primates from China... is a strategic problem. As primate research becomes harder to do in the U.S., that work may simply get shifted abroad. “Is the American public okay with that? Do we want treatments and cures to be developed here? Or are we okay with them being developed in other countries?”
NABR urges policy makers and the public to come together and discuss common sense solutions in the interest of the lives of our families and our pets.
Read more about this article by visiting: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/08/america-facing-monkey-shortage/615799/.