July 28, 2021
FBR SmartBrief
Top Story
Driven in part by radical activism, public support for biomedical research involving nonhuman primates has declined in the US and Europe, and some researchers have packed up their labs and moved to China or Japan. Neuroscientists say monkeys are irreplaceable for brain research, and China's strategic decision to stop expand its research monkey colonies will only strengthen its position as the world's center for research on Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases, scientists say.
Full Story: The Economist (tiered subscription model) (7/24) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Monkeys help scientists get closer to AIDS cure
(Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
A combination immunotherapy that blocks two different HIV replication pathways protected monkeys exposed to simian immunodeficiency virus for up to 12 weeks, researchers reported at this year's International AIDS Society Conference. The study was designed to mimic real-world circumstances, and researcher Tim Schacker said the approach could be an integral part of a functional cure.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration) (7/21) 
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The next generation of COVID-19 vaccines showing promise include a subunit vaccine that stimulated production of neutralizing antibodies in rhesus macaques and another that proved highly effective in mice and guinea pigs. The vaccines would be easier to store than those that are currently available, writes scientist and longtime Harvard professor William Haseltine, potentially expanding access in lower-income countries.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (7/20) 
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Masitinib inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in mice
Masitinib blocked SARS-CoV-2 replication and led to reduced viral loads in mice and in human cell cultures, and it appears to be effective against other coronaviruses and picornaviruses, according to a study in Science. Coronaviruses are likely to continue to pose challenges for public health, and drugs that work in early stages of the disease are essential, says study co-author Savas Tay.
Full Story: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (7/22) 
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A live attenuated, recombinant COVID-19 vaccine candidate delivered as a single-dose intranasal vaccine significantly reduced viral load and shedding in nasal secretions of African green monkeys, according to a study posted on the preprint server bioRxiv. The vaccine, which is based on human respiratory syncytial virus, would be inexpensive to produce and administer and easy to store, the researchers noted.
Full Story: News Medical (7/20) 
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Researchers report in Current Biology that they have succeeded in manipulating the gray short-tailed opossums, marking the first time a marsupial genome has been edited, a breakthrough that is expected to advance research into human neurology, immunology and reproduction. The team developed a technique for overcoming difficulty with breeding and accessing the genome itself, and they were able to produce litters of albino pups, a finding that could pave the way for research into cancer, T-cell function and more.
Full Story: STAT (tiered subscription model) (7/21),  Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (7/23) 
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Animal Health
A 9-year-old male snow leopard at San Diego Zoo that developed a cough and nasal congestion is infected with SARS-CoV-2, zoo officials say. The leopard shares an enclosure with a female snow leopard and two Amur leopards, all of which are assumed to have been exposed to the virus.
Full Story: The Associated Press (7/24) 
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Policy News
NIH Director Francis Collins and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci are calling for a five-year, multibillion-dollar initiative to develop vaccine prototypes for about 20 families of viruses with the highest pandemic potential. Barney Graham, deputy director of the NIAID's Vaccine Research Center, first proposed the idea at an NIH meeting in 2017 then outlined it in a 2018 Nature Immunology paper, and some vaccines are already under development.
Full Story: The New York Times (7/25) 
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FBR News
Here's how Fifi beat cancer
Fifi's mom shared an amazing cancer survival story for this edition of FBR Real Pet Stories™. Fifi was handed a death sentence. Her mom took her home on palliative care to enjoy the time she had left, but that's not how the story ended! Read more.
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FBR launched an article series, "Animal Research: Unlocking Medical Miracles," on July 22 about how research with animals helps scientists better understand and find treatments for specific diseases. The first article is about deep brain stimulation for treating depression and anxiety. Read more on FBR's website.
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The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) is the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit dedicated to improving human and animal health by promoting public understanding and support for biomedical research. Our mission is to educate people about the essential role animal research plays in the quest for medical advancements, treatments and cures for both people and animals.

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