Nine great apes become first non-human primates vaccinated for COVID-19

Nine great apes at the San Diego Zoo – four orangutans and five bonobos – made veterinary history in recent weeks as the world’s first non-human primates known to be vaccinated against COVID-19, zoo officials said on Thursday.

One of the recipients was a 28-year-old female Sumatran orangutan named Karen, who had garnered headlines at the zoo when she became the first ape to undergo open-heart surgery in 1994.

Each of the nine animals received two doses of an experimental vaccine originally designed for dogs and cats, with the apes exhibiting no adverse reactions. They are all doing well, zoo spokeswoman Darla Davis said in an email to Reuters.

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