COVID-19 Vaccine Development

The COVID Vaccine Is Almost Here — And We Have Monkeys to Thank 

by Michael Majchrowicz, Miami New Times, December 11, 2020

Two pharmaceutical companies have requested emergency authorization for what scientists are hailing as highly effective COVID-19 vaccines — and we almost certainly have monkeys to thank for that.

Last night, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) COVID vaccine panel recommended that the agency authorize the Pfizer vaccine to be distributed in the U.S., which could begin as early as next week.

Monkeys and other nonhuman test subjects have been an extremely valuable research component in helping the medical community better understand COVID, which has so far killed 290,000 people in the U.S. and more than 19,000 in Florida. In two peer-reviewed studies published this spring in Science magazine, researchers who infected groups of rhesus macaque monkeys with the coronavirus found that primates were capable of developing protective immunity against the disease. That development helped pave the way for the vaccines that could start to put an end to the pandemic. Continue reading…