Check out the Texas Biomed baboon enclosures

After amputating some 159 frozen toes, toes and toes from its baboons last February, a San Antonio-based research institute is implementing the lessons learned from the Winter Storm Uri in a new primate breeding facility.

The National Primate Research Center of the Southwest of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute suffered several infrastructure failures during the winter freezing, which caused approximately 15% of the center’s baboons to freeze, say Dr. Diana Scorpio, associate director of veterinary resources and research support at Texas Biomed. .

Following the amputations, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals demands that the U.S. Department of Agriculture investigate the institute and take “appropriate action against” Texas Biomed.

Founded in 1941, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute is a nonprofit organization specializing in research in genetics, virology, and immunology. It houses the Southwest National Primate Research Center, one of seven national primate facilities in the United States. Texas Biomed currently cares for about 2,500 primates, Scorpio said.

Baboons, macaques and marmosets, as well as other animals such as mice and guinea pigs, which remain in the center, are used to test the effectiveness and effects of the vaccine and treatment. Over the past 18 months, the center has played an important role in the study of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, including the creation of animal models that can help bring the vaccine closer to the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval. of the USA.

Now, as the institute plans its first new primate facility in 20 years, it is taking into account information obtained by the freeze, said Texas Biomed president and president Larry Schlesinger. The new facility, which will take about a year to build and will be called the Non-Human Primate Alpha Building, will be able to house up to 800 primates of various species and will cost about $ 13.5 million, Schlesinger said.