China’s New Policy To Stop Export Of Monkeys Threatens U.S. COVID-19 Research

The crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis), also known as the long-tailed macaque, is a cercopithecine primate native to Southeast Asia. It is referred to as the cynomolgus monkey in laboratories.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is impeding United States research into COVID-19 by recently adopting a policy to deny the exportation of monkeys used for research that are essential in the development of vaccines and treatments for the disease, has learned. China’s actions come on the heels of evidence from U.S. intelligence, which suggests the communist government is mounting a series of intense hacking efforts to steal U.S. advances in coronavirus therapies and research.

The cynomolgus macaques, also known as the crab-eating macaque monkey, are owned by the American pharmaceutical companies in China but the new CCP policy is prohibiting the ability to export the monkeys outside of the country.  Matthew Bailey, the president of the National Association for Biomedical Research, noted that the monkeys played a key role in new treatments for cancer, cancer drugs, research into hepatitis C, and rare diseases that affect the nervous system.

“Every day that goes by that a researcher goes without the resources that they need we go without a treatment or cure for COVID-19, more people are going to die,” Matthew Bailey, NABR

This new CCP policy has directly threatened necessary biomedical research, said Bailey, who has pleaded directly to U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, as well as directly with President Donald Trump to address the matter. Moreover, last week, Bailey put in a request for a White House meeting on the critical matter and has asked Trump to speak directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said.

“Every day that goes by that a researcher goes without the resources that they need we go without a treatment or cure for COVID-19, more people are going to die,” Bailey told this reporter on Saturday. “It’s critically important that the researchers have access…We’re quickly facing a crisis if this doesn’t get fixed. When you’re in the middle of a research project you can’t switch horses midstream – this ‘cyno’ monkey has been used in many successful clinical trials for humans.”

“It’s entirely possible that this is administrative non-sense,” he said, referring to the Chinese government’s bureaucratic block on the monkeys. “But the fact that the U.S. Ambassador raised the issue with the Chinese government is concerning because nothing has changed. It raises the question whether this is administrative or stonewalling? The bigger question is why?”

The answer may be in China’s motivation to take the lead in obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine, prior to the U.S. or any other nation. On Monday, the New York Times reported F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security are going to issue a warning that China’s most skilled hackers and spies are working to steal American research on the coronavirus vaccine. A copy of the draft obtained by the New York Times says China is seeking “valuable intellectual property and public health data through illicit means related to vaccines, treatments and testing.”

K.T. McFarland, who spoke with this reporter on The Sara Carter Show last week, stated China has used the coronavirus as a bioweapon against the world and stated that the communist party’s actions with regard to stopping the export of the monkeys are calculated. Those actions are used only to advance China’s long-established plans to take the lead in the global economy, as well as their desire to garner the lead in obtaining a vaccine first, she noted.

Stopping the exportation of the monkeys is another way to undermine U.S. research on the deadly virus. The monkeys are bred and raised in their natural habitat in China because previous attempts to raise these monkeys domestically outside of their normal habitat and climate have failed, Bailey said. In February, however, the CCP stopped the shipments of the monkeys just as the United States began intensifying its COVID-19 research. Moreover, according to reports China cancelled multiple charter flights scheduled to bring the monkeys to the United States both in March, April and May.

Bailey stressed the urgency of the ban, saying that 60 percent of the cynomolgus macaques used for research come from China, even if owned by U.S. companies. He said several U.S. companies have already paid for Chinese monkey populations but “China isn’t budging.” If the situation is not resolved soon, he added, the U.S. companies could lose the window for testing on several key drugs and early FDA approval to ensure its safety for humans.

China is basically refusing to allow American companies access to monkeys that they already own and use for research, he said.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s just some bureaucratic glitch” he said, adding that the CCP is attempting to control where the research is taking place and inhibiting pharmaceutical research outside of China as it competes to take the lead in COVID-19 research. By withholding the monkeys, he said, China can do just that.

On April 26, Bailey sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador to China Branstad stating that “medical research companies have been working since April 6, 2020 with the White House, U.S. Ambassador to China, U.S. State Department, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to obtain a critical CITES export permits from China for nonhuman primates used for Vaccine and Therapeutic research. These animals are urgently needed for ongoing medical research to develop a vaccine and treatments for COVID-19. Given the urgent need to continue medical research that the President routinely discusses in his daily coronavirus briefings, I ask that you contact the Chinese government and demand their lifting of the ban on the transportation of research animals to the United States.”

A U.S. official, familiar with the band  said that the policy went into effect after the outbreak, so it appears very calculated. The official said that there has long been concern that “U.S. pharmaceutical companies were giving China too much power over research and control.”

White House officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

“Right now China has a stranglehold on the pipeline for developing treatments and vaccines,” said Bailey. “In a way, this dovetails with the concerns over personal protective equipment (PPE) and the trade issues with Beijing. It’s another example that China doesn’t have Americas best interest at heart here.”