Major Medical Breakthroughs that Primate Research Has Provided to Humanity
Vaccines based on primate research have reduced the number of cases of polio in the United States from 58,000 to one or two per year.
The development of Rh immunoglobulin has reduced the number of cases of Rh disease in babies to fewer than 16 in every 10,000. Rh disease was once a very common problem.
Many of the drugs that are proving to be effective in combating AIDS were tested in nonhuman primates. Many other potential drugs were proven to be ineffective in primates, sparing humans from clinical trials with ineffective drugs.
Dietary supplements to treat homocystinuria, a condition that can lead to atherosclerosis, were developed in research with monkeys.
Research with monkeys established that a specific bacterium is associated with periodontal disease. This disease affects 75 percent of all adults and is responsible for 70 percent of adult tooth loss. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, flurbiprofen, was shown to be effective in halting the progression of periodontal disease in monkeys. This drug is now used in humans.
The use of immunoglobulin injections to protect against hepatitis A was developed in chimpanzees. Recently, a safe, effective vaccine for hepatitis A was developed through research with chimpanzees and tamarins.
The identification, isolation and cloning of hepatitis C virus was dependent upon research with chimpanzees.
Air Quality Standards
Safe air quality standards have been established through research on lung disease in monkeys experimentally exposed to air pollution.
Research with rhesus monkeys established the importance of a dietary amino acid, taurine, in the development of the retina of the eye. As a result of these findings, taurine is added to human infant formulas, resulting in the prevention of blindness.