Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Immunity gene evolution just can't keep up! Many of the great ape populations (chimpanzees, gorillas) are currently at risk for extinction due to infectious disease transmission. Ecologists are now considering vaccination as a possible route to prevent a catastrophic outbreak (like Ebola) that could decimate ape populations. The other alternative is enforcing hygienic standards in areas of ape tourism and research, but this is extremely difficult to do. Major vaccination priorities are measles, mumps, and influenza. Other possibilities may be an Ebola vaccine (currently under trial in group of captive chimps).