import plans, monitors arriving shipments, assesses disease control measures, reviews animal health records, and investigates illness reports.
The data on NHP importation from 1994 to 2007 show a continual increase. In 2005 to 2007, the last three years for which data are available, the number rose to over 25,000 or 26,000 primates per year being brought into this country. This suggests a greater use of nonhuman primates in the United States. If the data are broken down further one finds that over 93% of imported NHP are Macaca fascicularis, or cynomolgus; 5% are M. mulatta, or rhesus, probably from China. The rest are scattered among other species.
If one looks at the data by importer, each importer brought in from one to over 10,000 animals, with the number of shipments per importer ranging from one to 70 a year. A significant statistic is the percentage of dead-on-arrivals: zero to 0.2%, which is very low. This is a huge improvement from many years ago when a 10% to 15% mortality rate was considered good. Reportable illnesses are very low now as well.
Looking at the importation data further, 60% of these animals are coming from China, followed by Vietnam and Mauritius. Over 85% of the animals are coming from three countries.
NIH (through NCRR) supports eight national primate research centers, which collectively contain almost 28,000 nonhuman primates, with the majority being rhesus monkeys. It becomes clear that it is the rhesus monkey that is used in research, not M. fascicularis (cynomolgus). Cynomolgus monkeys are used by commercial industries, pharmaceutical industries, or CROs for toxicology, efficacy, safety, and pharmacodynamics.
NCRR is moving toward the development of so-called specific pathogen–free colonies, which consist primarily of rhesus colonies, M. mulatta. Those colonies are primarily SPF-4, meaning they are free of SIV, STLB, SRV, and herpes B. There are other colonies called “superclean” that have even more viruses eliminated, such as cytomegalovirus, foamy virus, and perhaps others. At this point, roughly 5,000 rhesus monkeys in SPF-4 colonies are being produced for research by investigators throughout the country. There are plans in the national primate research centers program to create even more SPF colonies in the years to come.
The major types of research conducted at the primate centers are AIDS and other infectious diseases: these account for over 40% of research activity. Neurobiology research is also prevalent, at almost 20% of activity, and various other areas make up the rest.
Many specialized resources emerge from primate center programs. Perhaps one of the more important ones is the NHP tissue program, from which over 42,000 primate tissue samples, organs, genetic samples, cells, fluids, and more are supplied to investigators throughout the nation and internationally.
USDA annual reports provided information about how many primates were in use in registered facilities throughout the United States. There are roughly 46,000 or so NHP listed in these reports, either in column B (used for breeding) or columns C and D (used in research, in situations where there is no