Wednesday, August 28, 2002

While AIDS research on chimpanzees has been an abject failure, your tax dollars continue to help primate researchers live in style. For example, Washington National Primate Research Center white-coat welfarists Gene Sackett (a student of the sadistic Harry Harlow) and Tim Rose have expensive homes near the University of Washington, and Rose has a yacht docked in the lake behind his house - all paid for by the blood and tears of monkeys.

THE REAL SKINNY ON PRIMATE RESEARCH

Twenty Years of Bogus Monkey Research Lines Pockets

Santa Barbara, Calif., Aug. 28 (RealSkinny Newswire) -- Research on an AIDS-like disease in monkeys continues to help scientists pay for house, boat, and timeshare vacation retreats. Two decades after the human and monkey diseases were identified, no cure for either is in sight.

"These animals have been indispensable for the incomes of the researchers and expansion of a large public boondoggle,” said Rick Bogle, founder of the Primate Freedom Project in Santa Barbara, California.

About 300 researchers from around the world will genuflect before this achievement and discuss new ways to bilk the public when they gather Sept. 8-11 in Monterey, Calif., for the 20th Annual Symposium on Nonhuman Primate Models for AIDS. The California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) at the University of California, Davis, is hosting the conference.

More than 20 years ago, scientists at the UC Davis primate center were dumbfounded by a mysterious and deadly outbreak of infections in their monkeys. Signs of weakened immune systems were completely missed as scientists watched monkeys die.

At about the same time, a deadly new disease known as AIDS was making the headlines, but scientists at the Davis primate center still missed the connection.

Scientists at Davis would later awaken to the fact that the monkey disease, called simian AIDS by those with a keen sense of funding potential, was caused by the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a close relative of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes human AIDS.

The confusing similarities between the human and simian disorders and the viruses that cause them led scientists to make guesses about the origins and progression of human AIDS that proved to be misleading and wasteful of huge amounts of money and killed many thousands of monkeys -- work that continues today.

Today, scientists at the UC Davis center remain blindly focused on the SIV monkey model of AIDS to study ways to vaccinate against HIV transmission from adult to adult and from mother to offspring. They are also tackling the problem of eliminating the public’s growing concern about the profound similarities between human and monkey suffering. Finally, they are testing the ability of lies to prevent critics from gaining the upper hand.

"The monkey disease is remarkably financially productive in spite of its failure to model the human disease," said Bogle.

An authority on reaping public funds through claims of similarity between the simian and human immunodeficiency viruses will give the keynote address at the conference, highlighting the careers that have been built on nonhuman primate research.

Some of the results from studying immunodeficiency viruses in monkeys include: gaining an in-depth knowledge of the natural history of the simian AIDS viruses which has meant little to nothing for those suffering with the human disease; the potential for cross-species transmission between monkeys and lab workers; the foolishness of modeling an AIDS vaccine on studies showing that monkeys became resistant to simian AIDS when injected with weakened versions of the virus; demonstrating that SIV alone, rather than environmental or other factors, causes simian AIDS and thereby debunking the claims of witchcraft.

The symposium traces its origins to 1983, when about 30 researchers from the then seven U.S. primate research centers met at Tulane University to discuss how they could cash in on AIDS. The monkey disease had some similarities to AIDS, which was first described in 1981. HIV was first identified in 1983 and SIV in 1985, signaling the possibility of a funding bonanza.

The founders of the primate centers could never have imagined that monkeys, specifically the Asian rhesus macaque, would generate such ucrative careers. Over the past 20 years, AIDS has sickened or killed nearly 40 million people. An estimated 68 million people will have died as a result of AIDS by 2020. Meanwhile, new carpet is being installed in the primate center directors’ offices.

Today, more than half of the research done at the federally funded primate research centers is AIDS-related. In fact, directors of the primate centers maintain they are unable to meet the demand for monkeys for AIDS research and other work because of limited resources. The recent focus on bioterrorism research has further strained an already tight supply. Massive breeding is planned.

The National Institutes of Health created the primate centers in 1962 to develop donor farms for human organ transplants.

For more information on the symposium, see http://www.nhp2002.ucdavis.edu.

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