BPRC protects monkeys against the coronavirus

23 Mar 2020 | Back to News, Publications and Annual Reports



Long-tailed macaques and rhesus macaques are sensitive to the new coronavirus, just like humans. That is why we took extensive precautions to prevent accidental infections.

No guided tours for a while

Chinese scientists have shown that rhesus monkeys are susceptible to the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. This offers the opportunity to study the virus, but also means that we must protect our animals. In addition to following the RIVM guidelines, we do more. For example, we unfortunately had to decide to temporarily adjust our open-door policy. For the time being, therefore, there are no guided tours. And maintenance by external technicians is postponed as much as possible. All with the aim of protecting the animals against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Research on coronavirus

"Keeping the virus away from our colonies is important," said our virologist Dr. Verschoor. Not only for the health of the animals, but also for the SARS-CoV-2 studies. It is not clear what the consequences are for the animals and the research, if they have already had a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

If you want to know whether a vaccine works, you must expose animals to the virus after vaccination. The animals that have already been exposed to the virus have already built up a certain level of immunity, so it is no longer possible to determine how protective the vaccine is. Although many people have been infected before and you can also study the effect of this in monkeys, the latter must be done under controlled conditions. Then you know exactly when and what an animal has been infected with. We do not have this control in the event of an uncontrolled infection in the colony. That is why we remain very careful with access to our animals.

Healthy animals are crucial for good research.

This article has been updated on March 1, 2022