Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC) is establishing a COVID-19 research program to develop a vaccine and test treatments against the virus. First, researchers will create a nonhuman primate model to study the disease’s clinical progression, how it is transmitted through the air and how it specifically affects aging populations. Investigators hope to answer many of the unknowns about the disease, including why older individuals are more susceptible to complications and death from it.
Earlier this year, TNPRC mobilized to become one of the first research facilities in the country to obtain approval from the Centers for Disease Control to receive samples of the novel coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2. TNPRC is the only National Primate Research Center with a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL) onsite that is capable of the high level of biocontainment required to study an emerging infectious disease like COVID-19. It also has the nation’s largest capacity for studying the transmission of infectious agents in nonhuman primates at this level of biocontainment, which is critical as public health responders rush to understand and thwart disease spread.
Epidemiologist and disease ecologist Dr. Lina Moses, at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is in Geneva coordinating research efforts for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network as they work to prevent the outbreak from spreading into a global epidemic.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on March 06