A group of great apes at San Diego Zoo are the first non-humans to get a COVID-19 vaccine. This was also reported on ABC 10 News, as seen on the media company's YouTube video below.
According to San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance chief conservation and wildlife health officer Nadine Lamberski, four orangutans and five bonobos at the said zoo have been injected with two doses of an investigational COVID-19 vaccine for animals.
Now, with this latest development, an IFL Science! article said that it is not just humans lining up to get their vaccine as protection from COVID-19. Human's closest evolutionary relatives are receiving their shot too and producing the antibodies needed.
This bunch of primates includes Karen, a Sumatran orangutan earlier reported on The Washington Post, who created a history in the early 1990s after becoming the pioneering orangutan to undergo open-heart surgery.
World's First Great Apes Test Positive for COVID-19
In January this year, eight western lowland gorillas at San Diego Safari Park were reported as being the first great apes in the world to test positive for COVID-19.
Some of these gorillas exhibited symptoms that included mild coughs, nasal discharge and intermittent lethargy, among others. But only one of the older apes identified as Winston fell severely ill and needed a treatment through heart medications, antibiotic and monoclonal antibody treatment.
The small outbreak caused too much worry and the Zoo began investigating whether giving the vulnerable animals a vaccine could be a plausible option for the prevention of further infection.
Winston and the group are reportedly still recovering from the illness although by spring, the Zoo is looking into having all of its great apes vaccinated. If all goes well, they are currently considering vaccinating their big cats, too.
In late January, San Diego Zoo reported that a network of collaborators had provided the veterinarians of San Diego Zoo Global with a limited supply of a recombinant purified spike protein vaccine developed for animals to protect them from COVID-19.
Doses of the said vaccine came from a supply strictly developed for nonhumans. Teams at the San Diego Zoo Global, according to the January report, had already started to identify their animal candidates for vaccination both at San Diego Zoo Safari Park and San Diego Zoo.
Veterinarians are regularly vaccinating wildlife, both in human care and native environs, as protection from a range of diseases.
This most recent report specified that the animal vaccine is different from the vaccines developed for COVID-19 infection in humans.
Developed by Zoetis
According to a National Geographic report, the vaccine was developed by Zoetis, a pharmaceutical company based in the United States and the world's biggest manufacturer of vaccines and medicines for livestock and pets.
This pharmaceutical firm said it is also currently working on a vaccine solution that can possibly be used in minks amidst the pandemic.
The danger of COVID-19 in animals seems hazy, although it is clear that there is potential for a lot of mammal species to get infected with the disease.
Along with these great apes, COVID-19 cases have been reported and recorded in several species such as dogs, tigers, cats, and minks.
Check out more news and information on COVID-19 on Science Times.