Karen the orangutan makes medical history as she receives Covid vaccine

The first orangutan to get open-heart surgery in the world has been given a Covid jab following an outbreak at a zoo in California, US.

Karen was among four orangutans and five bonobos who were inoculated after eight coughing gorillas tested positive for the virus.

Zookeepers distracted the simians with treats as they administered veterinary pharmaceutical firm Zoetis's jab last month.

The experimental animal vaccine had only been tested on cats and dogs and could be used on the zoo's lions and tigers next.

San Diego Zoo's chief conservation and wildlife health officer, Nadine Lamberski said that there have been no adverse reactions to the jabs and the apes are doing well.

She told National Geographic: "We commonly use vaccines designed with dogs and cats for lions and tigers.

"It's not like we randomly grab a vaccine and give it to a novel species.

"A lot of thought and research goes into it: what's the risk of doing it and what's the risk of not doing it? Our motto is, above all, to do no harm."

Animal vaccines are commonly used across species as they are designed to target specific germs rather than specific creatures.

But the risk of adverse effects was still as worry as Ms Lamberski added the process had happened exceptionally quickly.

She said: "This isn't the norm.

"In my career, I haven't had access to an experimental vaccine this early in the process and haven't had such an overwhelming desire to want to use one."

Like what you see? Then fill your boots…

Want to bring a little glamour to your life every day with all the most exciting real-life stories, fashion and even sex tips HOT off the press?

Well, we've got you covered with our great new Hot Topics newsletter – it'll drop straight into your inbox around 7pm and you can unsubscribe whenever you like.

And signing up now means you'll get a front row seat for our great new series inside the lives of the next generation of Daily Star Page 3 girls.

You can sign up here – you won't regret it…

Blood taken from Karen and one of the bonobos should soon show whether they are developing antibodies, indicating that the vaccine is working.

In January eight gorillas at the zoo started coughing and tested positive for coronavirus.

The group's 49-year-old silverback Winston suffered heart disease and pneumonia.

He is said to be recovery following antibody treatment, along with the others.

  • Eight gorillas at zoo 'contract Covid from human handler' and keep coughing

It is believed an asymptomatic zookeeper infected the gorillas in the world's first cases among captive primates.

Karen made medical history when she became the first orangutan in the world to have open-heart surgery in 1994.

She and the other apes received two doses each of the veterinary pharmaceutical company's experimental vaccine.

Zoetis began developing a COVID-19 vaccine for dogs and cats after the first dog tested positive for the virus in Hong Kong last February.

Source: Read Full Article