Monkeys in Montana Leading a COVID-19 Vaccine
Raise your hand it you knew that Montana was home to a National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases research facility? Anyone? Me neither, and I've lived here most of my life. Built in 1928 and located in Hamilton, Rocky Mountain Labs is touted as a "state-of-the-art biomedical research facility." I tried to find a Google street view picture of the place, but it doesn't look like the Google camera car ever got close enough to snap a picture. So what exactly do they do? From their website:
RML is not a clinical facility in which researchers study the effects of experimental drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics on patients and healthy volunteers. Rather, you could say that the basic research conducted at RML makes clinical research possible. By focusing on the molecular traits of a given microbe—namely, what the microbe is composed of and how it behaves in its environment—scientists are able to ascertain the most effective target for fighting that microbe and, from there, develop chemicals that could detect, treat, and generate an immune response against it for further study.
Currently, the lab is on the forefront of finding a vaccine for the coronavirus. At the end of March they completed a study on 6 rhesus macaques monkeys, using the University of Oxford's experimental vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. The test results were quite promising. The monkeys remained COVID-19 free for 28 days after being exposed to the virus. You can read more about the study HERE.