Monkey trouble

New report details rhesus macaque shortage, made worse by added biodefense demand

Harvey Black(hblack@chorus.net)
Jul 27, 2003

A report to be issued today (July 28) details an ongoing critical shortage of rhesus monkeys, biomedical scientists' major model for studying diseases and fundamental aspects of human biology. The 262-page volume, International Perspectives: The Future of Nonhuman Primate Resources, contains the proceedings of a workshop held last year under the auspices of the US National Research Council.

"The issue that gets emphasized the most is that rhesus macaques are needed for AIDS research. They're turning out to be the best model. There are not enough to go around," said Joanne Zurlo, director of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research in Washington, D.C., and a staff member for the April 2002 workshop on which the report is based.

"Conservatively, that area of research has drawn off between 20 and 50% of the rhesus monkeys that have been maintained at primate centers," said Joseph Kemnitz, director of the National...

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