Research

Research

Bioterrorism Agents

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S., there has been an increasing focus on using animals to study potential agents for bioterrorism. Chimpanzees have not escaped such research.

As with most current infectious disease research, chimpanzees are used mostly as a means to grow the virus and antigens rather than studying the actual course of disease.

However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

Although chimpanzees in the wild are susceptible to human pathogens such as Ebola, problems such as lack of appropriate containment facilities would make use of chimpanzees in most biodefense efforts very problematic. (1)

While their concerns hold promise of limiting the use of chimpanzees, it has not prevented it. In a current grant described below, Robert Purcell at the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases conducts research on a range of viral agents which could conceivably be utilized as bioterror agents. This is in addition to his long-standing and extensive research on hepatitis using chimpanzees.

Researcher:

Robert Purcell

Grant No.

1Z01AI000823-07

Project:

New Approaches to Passive and Active Immunoprophylaxis

Institution:

Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID

Project runs:

2004

Funding:

Unavailable

From the abstract:

We have now extended these studies to other viruses and bacteria of interest that can be experimentally administered to chimpanzees. For example, in response to new concerns about bioterrorism, we are preparing neutralizing monoclonal antibodies to vaccinia virus for use as an immunoprophylactic/immunotherapeutic agent in those who require immunization with vaccinia but who are susceptible to the side-effects of such immunization. Similarly, we have immunized chimpanzees with anthrax toxin in an attempt to make monoclonal antibodies that could immediately neutralize anthrax in vivo and have isolated a highly potent monoclonal antibody that can neutralize the toxin. We are also preparing chimpanzee monoclonal antibodies to the three serotypes of poliovirus, to rabies virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, to West Nile virus and to the tick-borne encephalitis virus complex. Most recently we have added the seven toxins of Clostridium botulinum. Some of these will have potential utility in efforts to counteract bioterrorism and all will have immunoprophylactic and immunotherapeutic potential in the battle against emerging and re-emerging pathogens.

Researcher:

Hildegund Ertl

Grant No.

1R01AI055018-01A1

Project:

Oral Vaccine to Inhalation Rabies

Institution:

Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA

Project runs:

July 15, 2004 - December 31, 2006

Funding:

$228,001 for 2004

This study uses a virus isolated from chimpanzees to develop a vaccine which is tested in mice.

From the abstract:

We have developed an El-deleted adenoviral recombinant derived from a chimpanzee isolate. This adenoviruses (Ad) of the C68 serotype (AdC68) does not circulate in the human population and virus neutralizing antibodies (VNAs) to common human serotypes of Ad fail to cross-react with AdC68 virus. Vaccines based on AdC68 virus, such as the one expressing the rabies virus glycoprotein (AdC68rab.gp) are thus not impaired by natural exposure of a human population to most common human serotypes of Ad. In aim 1, the biodistribution of the AdC68rab.gp vaccine upon oral and intranasal application into mice will be tested. …Efficacy of the mucosal vaccine will be assessed in immunologically challenged animals such as infant or aged mice and mice lacking CD4+ T cells. In aim 2, the AdC68rab.gp vaccine will be tested in a non-human primate rabies virus challenge model.


Sources

(1) NIH National Center for Research Resources, Report of the Chimpanzee Management Plan Working Group to the National Advisory Research Resources Council; Web retrieved at http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/compmed/ChimP05-18-2005.asp

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