Studies on macaques suggest that infection with the coronavirus grants some immunity to catching it again--and that vaccines also seem to offer some protection. The questions: Does getting infected by the coronavirus make you immune? And can a vaccine do the same job? In two studies published today in Science, a group led by researchers at Harvard University's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is answering those questions using monkeys called macaques. Becoming immune: First, the team infected nine monkeys with the coronavirus; they developed pneumonia, just as people do.
A new vaccine against Zika virus gives mice and monkeys immunity in tests. The vaccine is based on the inactivated virus, and just one low dose is needed. "The critical difference between ours and everybody else's is that it's not a live virus. That makes it much safer and much easier to produce," says Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania, a member of the team that developed it. One year after being declared an international health emergency, the Zika virus is still a threat, with the World Health Organization reporting cases in 70 countries and territories in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Western Pacific so far.
Scientists believe they are a step closer to developing a vaccine to protect people from Zika. Research on mice has shown that two vaccines provided complete protection against the virus, prompting human trials to start by the end of the year. Experts found that mice given either jab did not pick up the Zika virus when they were exposed to it four or eight weeks later. One of them is a DNA vaccine developed at Harvard based on a Zika virus strain isolated in Brazil. The other is a purified, inactivated virus vaccine developed at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) based on a Zika virus strain isolated in Puerto Rico.
Apparently, everyone's favorite adorable "selfie monkey" is cute enough to eat--literally, in Indonesia. The crested black macaque became legendary after one of them, Naruto, took a selfie of himself in 2011 and catapulted into internet stardom. Though approximately 2,000 of the macaques remain protected in one of the country's reserves, the primate is now critically endangered due to over-hunting, according to a new report from Seeker. SEE ALSO: You can now take selfies... with your feet? Activists on Sulawesi island have been trying to convince locals to stop consuming the crested black macaque.