The Ebola virus threatens the last remaining great ape populations, and researchers may have developed an effective single-dose oral vaccine that would prevent the spread of Ebola not only within ape populations but also from ape to human communities. But legal and social restrictions on biomedical testing in nonhuman primates are creating obstacles to the vaccine's development.
Treatment with two anti-HIV antibodies soon after infection suppressed HIV in 10 of 13 macaque monkeys for up to six months in a study published in Nature. A new study is testing the antibodies' efficacy when administered two to six weeks after infection.
The Zika virus attacks the victim's central nervous system, muscles, joints, lymph nodes and reproductive and urinary tracts as it spreads from the bloodstream to other tissues, a study in rhesus macaque monkeys said. Moreover, the virus persists in affected tissue for at least five weeks, the researchers reported in PLOS Pathogens. "Many of the important elements that we're interested in seem to translate from rhesus macaques to humans," lead author Alec Hirsch said.
After Mahal, the Milwaukee County Zoo's 5-year-old orangutan, died suddenly, veterinarians and other scientists launched an investigation that would span past and present, several countries, multiple types of evidence and consideration of zoonotic diseases before answers were uncovered. In the end, scientists concluded Mahal died from a newly identified tapeworm species, but exactly where and how the animal contracted the parasite -- and whether the tapeworm species can infect humans -- remains unknown.
Pennsylvania State University researchers are exploring disease transmission in animals that often serve as reservoirs for zoonotic pathogens. The team hopes exploring the viromes of the white-footed mouse and the black-legged tick will improve forecasts for infectious disease outbreaks in humans.
There have been no real treatment advances in osteosarcoma in recent decades, but Tufts University veterinarian Cheryl London and Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer Center physician Katie Janeway hope to change that by studying osteosarcoma treatments in dogs that may also help children with the disease. Dr. London says pet dogs are a good model for studying cancer because they live in the same environment humans do, so their immune systems are more diverse than those of laboratory mice.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are comparing standard animal tests with other methods using human cells or computer models to determine how well animal toxicity results translate to humans. The study could result in fewer animals being used in research, but in the meantime, "there is no comprehensive substitute for animal testing and research," said Matt Bailey, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research. "There is no way to completely replace animal research because the pathway to fully replicating a complete living system does not yet exist," Bailey said.
Biomedical research involving animals benefits animals as well as humans, research animals are well cared for and are not kept in pain, and myriad federal rules govern animal research, Machine Design Senior Editor Stephen Mraz writes. Citing Foundation for Biomedical Research resources, Mraz debunks nine myths about animal testing and shows why animal testing remains indispensable in biomedical research.
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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.