No Monkeying Around for Vaccine Testing

No Monkeying Around for Vaccine Testing

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of problems for the US. We’ve seen shortages of toilet paper, coins, and food in some cases. Now, the race for a COVID-19 vaccine rages on and the US is facing a shortage of a much-needed resource.

Monkeys are crucial to the testing of drugs and getting them approved. As scientists scramble to develop a vaccine, they’re dealing with a shortage of monkeys. Without them, the scientists can’t test their products. Koen Van Rompay, who works at the California National Primate Center as an infectious disease expert, told the Atlantic that “Nationally, there is basically a big shortage.”

Several factors have led to the monkey shortage:

  • Primates were already in short supply.
  • The coronavirus put an even higher demand on monkeys.
  • China dropped its supply to the US due to the pandemic and the current trade wars.

Scientists from every field of study are all competing to acquire the same small pool of animals. Additionally, on top of the shortage, monkeys infected with COVID-19 have to be kept in an Animal Biosafety Level 3 lab. The need for test subjects and lack of places to keep them prevents companies from testing possible treatments as well as conducting their research.

Due to the shortage, pharmaceutical companies are looking at the possibility of skipping the monkey stage and going straight to human trials when testing their drugs.

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