African Green Monkey Helps Battle Against COVID-19

September 9, 2020 13:06:49

A global pandemic has been experienced at the beginning of the year in which millions have been infected, and thousands have lost their lives. Coronavirus, as it is commonly known by many, has been a thorn in the flesh for all the countries since it does not have a vaccine or a specific cure. However, virologists have been trying their very best to develop a remedy for the SARS-COV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.

Several animal models that may have the same symptoms of COVID-19 to those experienced in human beings have been used in several studies to carry out research that cannot be done in human beings. One of the animals that has been subjected to this task is the African green monkey. It has been noted that it possesses similar traits of human COVID-19. It will be very beneficial in helping the virologists and other researchers make a breakthrough in their daily research.

Using Animals in Developing COVID-19 Models

Practically, it is not safe and ethical to test the hundreds of vaccines that are being developed to fight COVID-19 in humans. This is why animal models have to be used to determine the efficacy and safety of those vaccines before they are allowed to be used by human beings. Some small animals, such as ferrets and hamsters, are used as the coronavirus’ immunocompetent models and other non-human primates (“NHP”).

Non-human primates have been used severally as models, and the results have always been promising. For COVID-19, the African green monkey has been identified as the best non-human primate in the search for a coronavirus vaccine as it has some dominant features of human COVID-19. The coronavirus research has exposed the NHP to the virus in various ways, such as through the nose, trachea, eyes, mouth, and via a combination of all those gateways.

To properly determine how the virus is transmitted into human beings, the atomized particles of sizes between 30µm-100µm containing SARS-COV-2 were delivered into the respiratory tract of the African green monkey. The atomized particles are consistent in droplets’ size and are exhaled from human beings when they cough or sneeze, propagating its transmission.

The African Green Monkey and COVID-19

When human beings are exposed to COVID-19 several outcomes will be experienced, from being asymptomatic to critical illness. However, the coronavirus research conducted on the African green monkey has shown that the fatality rate is very low as it is the fatality rate being experienced globally. The primate also demonstrated a wide range of clinical signs. In human beings, the signs and symptoms will depend on various factors such as genetics, age, and other underlying medical conditions.

In animal models, it was noted that most of these signs could be easily experimentally controlled. High dosages of the SARS-COV-2 were used in the African green monkey to trigger severe coagulopathy and pneumonia. The results showed that green monkeys could be used to study human respiratory diseases. The research was also able to examine the tissues of the monkey, especially at the peak levels of the virus, which could not be conducted in human beings.

The Final Verdict

It was noted that the African green monkey provided a good model that could be used to evaluate whether the vaccine could shorten or eliminate the shedding period. Furthermore, the African green monkey can give a good model to assess the vaccine’s efficiency and other treatments, while also studying other respiratory infections. Though it is a challenge to keep the NHP for long in laboratories, future research is essential to examine the functioning of the lungs after the monkeys recover.

Experts believe that biomedical companies like Predictive Oncology (NASDAQ: POAI) will be following closely the progress of studies done using African green monkeys as test subjects.

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