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Communications and Media Manager with the European Animal Research Association (EARA)

Responsible to: Executive Director
Salary: Up to £40,000
Benefits: 25 days’ paid holiday per year, employer contribution to pension, plus international travel
Contract: Permanent, full-time (35 hours a week)
Located: Central London
This is a re-advertisement, previous applicants need not reapply

The European Animal Research Association (EARA)

EARA is a European organisation that communicates and advocates biomedical research using animals by providing accurate and evidence-based information. We aim at educating the public on its benefits, cooperating with research stakeholders, and promoting the creation and development of national networks.

Purpose of the Role:

  • Lead the implementation of the external communications strategy of the European Animal Research Association (EARA), agreed by the Board and managed by the Executive Director.
  • Oversee the writing, production and distribution of internal communications information on the work and output of EARA to our membership.
  • Liaise with the EARA Board of experts in the field of animal research, breeding, communications and advocacy.

Principal Duties:

  • Communicate with EARA’s members and other stakeholders effectively about our work
  • Create briefings, press releases, website copy, newsletters, leaflets, brochures and other written content for targeted audiences and broader communication purposes
  • Develop, produce and deliver effective content and campaigns for EARA’s digital channels, including its website, social media platforms and e-communications
  • Manage and expand EARA’s nationally based social media ambassadors
  • Develop and maintain good relationships with journalists
  • Deliver presentations to EARA’s current and potential stakholders
  • Measure the impact of the organisation’s traditional and social media presence and campaigns and provide analytical reports
  • Undertake other reasonable tasks required by EARA when needed

Person Specifications

  • Proven experience of science communications, media relations, social media and website management
  • An understanding of the scientific, ethical and moral justification for animal research
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal

Essential Qualities, skills and experience

  • Ability to adapt communications to reach different audiences
  • Experience of engaging with a variety of internal and external stakeholders
  • Ability to work under pressure, meet agreed deadlines, prioritise workload and maximise the use of time
  • Ability to work both as part of a small team and independently
  • A commitment to the aims and objectives of EARA

Additional Requirements

    • Written and/or oral competency in another European language is desirable
    • To be able to work occasional evenings and weekends
    • Willing to undertake occasional travel in the UK and Europe

Application Process:

Please email your CV and an accompanying cover letter explaining how you meet the person specification to kleech@eara.eu with the subject heading ‘Communications Manager’. Please also give an indication of when you would be available to start work, as we are keen to fill this post as soon as possible.

The application deadline is Friday 29th September, 17.00 BST. Interviews will take place in London on 5th and 9th October.

 

 

 

A trans-Atlantic transparency gap on animal experiments

This article was originally published in Science on 14 July 2017

The launch last month of a website called LabAnimalTour.org, which showcases animal experiments at several prominent institutions in the United Kingdom, is part of a trend toward increasing openness by researchers in a country that 2 decades ago was riven by sometimes-violent animal rights activism. Since 2014, 116 life sciences organizations in the United Kingdom have signed onto a Concordat on Openness on Animal Research that commits them to communicating frankly and in detail about their animal experiments. Ninety Spanish institutions adopted a similar pledge last year, and universities in Belgium, France, and Germany are talking about moving in the same direction. The new approach stands in stark contrast to many U.S. universities, where administrators are reluctant to display and defend their animal work. In an online compendium developed by the nonprofit group Speaking of Research, just 65 U.S. academic centers are listed as having a public-facing web page dedicated to explaining their animal experiments and why they are needed—and more than half of these receive low grades for lacking user-friendly material. In the face of a recent Gallup poll in which U.S. public acceptance of animal research has hit a new low, transparency advocates are pushing U.S. academic institutions to open up.

animal.research.openness.Europe.vs.US.July.14.2017

Recommendations on the report of the European Commission Scientific Conference ‘Non-Animal Approaches – The Way Forward’

The European Commission published in April 2017 the report of the conference ‘Non-Animal Approaches – The way forward’ that they organised in Brussels on 6 and 7 December 2016. The Conference’s presentations and video recordings can be viewed on DG Environment website.

The conference was announced in the Commission’s response to the Europeans Citizens Initiative ‘Stop Vivisection’ as one of four actions that should contribute towards the goal of, ultimately, phasing out animal testing.

The key recommendations outlined in the report are extracted here for simplicity:

Recommendations Session 1 – Animal Testing Today
There is a need for on-going investment in public and private funding in non-animal alternatives. However, consideration is required to ensure the proposed research is appropriate, addresses areas of need, and is of high quality with appropriate statistical design. To achieve these goals, the following are required:
1. A thorough gap analysis of where alternatives are still lacking and how to improve the current alternatives to be fit for purpose
2. The investigation of more “human” testing e.g. using human cell-based systems
3. Consideration of whether there should be a more stringent scientific peer review of methodology before starting any project using animals or developing alternatives
4. A need for systematic use of ARRIVE, and other relevant guidelines to stimulate a culture of scientific excellence.
5. Improvements in study design and data analysis for all animal experimentation as well as for non-animal studies.
6. More standardisation, e.g. in design, analyses, statistics and publication
7. The need to publish negative results systematically – start with all publicly funded studies using animals

Recommendations Session 2 – Biomedical Research: Strengths and Limitations of Non-Animal Alternatives
1. There is a need for a continued and organised research agenda within Europe to co-ordinate the short-term and longer-term uptake of alternatives based around in silico and in vitro approaches in the short term and human-on-chip and microphysiological approaches in the longer term. Some more strategic top-down or central steering of this research agenda might be beneficial.
2. Fundamental biological research, from sequencing of human genomes to tissue and organ level biology, should not be discontinued as this will support the better development of the next generation of alternatives to animal testing.
3. Effort is required to speed up and possibly simplify the process of validation (also covered in a later session) leading to acceptance of alternatives and therefore greater uptake.
4. Greater resources should be made available for data sharing, including consideration of greater access to confidential data – or knowledge being made available from it. Resources such as patient DNA databases should be created for research purposes.
5. Education and training of all researchers using animals is mandatory in the EU, enforcement of compliance is necessary to ensure respect for animals and their correct, ethical use.

Recommendations Session 3 – Regulatory Testing: Strengths and Limitations of Non-Animal Alternatives
1. New approaches for the validation of complex alternatives need to be developed now, i.e. moving away from the one-to-one replacement paradigm, to ensure acceptance and uptake.
2. Regulators should lead the way whilst working closely with industry and other stakeholders.
3. The process should start with a common problem definition.
4. Work is required on defining, understanding and agreement on acceptable risk to human safety on using non-animal data – as a result regulation may need to be adapted.
5. Progress in the area of acceptance of alternatives must be collaborative at a number of levels and will require resources to achieve this:
a. International collaboration e.g. EU, US, Japan etc.
b. Stakeholders e.g. regulators, industry, developers etc.
6. Dates and targets for the phasing out of animal tests, where possible, should be considered. Although not all panellists considered that helpful.
7. Additional barriers to the acceptance of alternatives, beyond those already known, should be identified and strategies to remove them be defined.
8. There should be support for internationally led case studies to evaluate and demonstrate the acceptance of new alternative approaches. In this context, it could be helpful to carefully map out uncertainties of current animals tests.
9. An in vitro Mode of Action-based classification system like today’s GHS will be required.

Recommendations Session 4 – Reporting on European Commission Actions 1 – 3
1. The European Commission should continue its role to monitor compliance with Directive 2010/63/EU and to increase the vision of using alternatives to animals wherever possible.
2. Consideration could be given as to how the Three Rs could further be promoted through Directive 2010/63/EU e.g. through the use of dedicated information officers.
3. Access to knowledge sources should be reviewed and improved, for instance by their quality assurance and the provision of an (internet) one-stop-shop to access all resources using an improved search engine.
4. Support should be provided for dissemination events, such as conferences and workshops, to increase outreach especially for non-scientists.
5. Consideration should be given to require publication of Three Rs methods where possible.
6. Assistance should be provided to compile and publish negative data where possible, interoperable databases of information are one approach that should be investigated.
7. A funding strategy to promote knowledge sources for the Three Rs and access to them should be developed, including commitments from the European Commission and private industry.

Recommendations Session 5 – Responsible Research
1. The European Commission should continue (and increase) funding of research in alternatives in specific areas that will stimulate their uptake and implementation.
2. All EU agencies such as ECHA, EMA and EFSA and initiatives such as EPAA and IMI should further encourage the uptake of alternatives and the implementation of the Three Rs principles.
3. Science must make efforts to understand and remove all elements of bias from the experimental design and reporting of results.
4. The use of tools such as the NC3Rs Experimental Design Assistant should be mandatory in the design of experiments and be required by grants funding agencies.
5. The implementation of the NC3Rs ARRIVE guidelines should be mandatory in grant proposals as well as publication of results, starting with all publicly funded research using animals.
6. Greater efforts should be made to ensure results are openly available e.g. using data repositories such as European Open Science Could, allowing access to all results including negative results, and enabling free and easy data reuse; especially results derived from publicly funded research using animals.
7. Journal editorial policies should more fully embrace the Three Rs principles ensuring the ARRIVE guidelines have been respected.
8. The peer-review process should be assessed as to whether it is fit for purpose with regard to transparency and implementation / review of the Three Rs.
9. The assessment of research impact should be revised to remove the emphasis from highly significant “headline” results to ensuring quality and relevance.
10. 2020 should be designated the “Year of Systematic Review”.
11. Each Member State should be encouraged to have a Science Media Centre, such as that in the UK, which helps the general press with the correct reporting of research outcomes.

Recommendations Session 6 – The Future: The Way Forward
1. Harmonisation of all new methodologies is required; there is good progress for metabolomics as one example which should be supported.
2. There is a need for a large-scale evaluation of metabolomics to demonstrate its utility to identify mechanisms of action relating to chemical safety for a number of species.
3. Support is required to complete the development of technologies such “human-on-a-chip”, in readiness for industry adoption and validation.
4. There is a need to widen the Adverse Outcomes Pathway type approach to areas outside regulatory toxicity e.g. in disease modelling.
5. Human tissue should be made more readily available and this should be addressed at EU level.
6. All new technologies require some form of validation to demonstrate their fitness of purpose. Further efforts in developing validation schemes and strategies may be required.
7. iPS and related technologies should be developed to address specific organ level effects and disease treatments.
8. Further understanding of the limitations of the new technologies is necessary, especially how to scale up cellular based techniques to in vivo.
9. Patient groups should be informed about the new technologies, their advantages and risks.
10. Efforts to show how to combine all new technologies e.g. for drug safety are required which may need a new way of thinking both about the technology itself and the means of combining information.
11. There is a continued need for education and training in all aspects of animal-free science and the Three Rs; this is required at all levels from school and university students to established researchers in academic, industrial and contract laboratories. Proper and full dissemination of knowledge will be key to this. This will require the promotion of the new techniques and approaches and raising awareness of resources through well-designed internet resources and, preferably, a single search engine from which all information can be accessed. There is also a need to inform and educate the public more effectively including through Scientific Conferences and to maintain an open and constructive dialogue between stakeholders.

The European Animal Research Association (EARA)
June 2017

Research with dogs develops an artificial pancreas to treat diabetes

This post was originally published in Speaking or Research website

White Coat Waste is a conservative animal rights organization devoted to the elimination of animal research. Its first target is biomedical research conducted using dogs at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Unfortunately, this campaign is gaining traction. While White Coat Waste is supported mainly by Republicans, some Democrat representatives like Dina Titus (Nevada) and Ted Lieu (California) have expressed their support. In view of that, it is important to highlight the remarkable achievements of dog research at the VA and the tremendous loss that its cancellation would be for Veterans and the general public.

Continue reading

Max Planck Society publishes White Paper on animal research

On Thursday 12 January the Max Planck Society (MPS) in Germany published a White Paper in which it outlines key ethical issues surrounding the use of animals in basic research. The Senate of the MPS has adopted the white paper as a declaration of principle.

White Paper: Animal Research in the Max Planck Society

The White Paper states why animal research is still a vital part of life sciences research, and explains the legal and ethical framework that regulates animal research at the Max Planck Society. Together with the 3Rs, these issues shape the approach to animal research throughout the Society. Practically, the Max Planck Society has translated the ethical stance on animal research outlined in the White Paper into a number of commitments, including measures to increase animal welfare, encouraging and financing alternatives to the use of animals, and proactive engagement in professionalizing the public discourse on animal ethics.

In an important step the MPS has committed itself to open and proactive communications on the use of animals in research by explaining the research goals, the rationale for the application of certain methods and the outcome of the research projects to the public at large. In this way, the MPS intends to foster an informed dialogue between science and society on the use of animals in biomedical research.

A Presidential Commission on Animal Research in basic science at the Max Planck Society produced the White paper as part of an extensive and rigorous discussion process. In this process, the MPS consulted a group of renowned researchers from various areas of the life sciences, behavioural researchers, ethicists, communication specialists and senior individuals from the field of research policy.

Image: Max Planck Society

The Presidential Commission was convened by Professor Dr. Martin Stratmann (President, Max Planck Society) and chaired by Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolf Singer (Founding Director, Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in cooperation with Max Planck Society). Experts who fed into the White Paper include Professor Sir Colin Blakemore (Neuroscience and Philosophy), Professor Dr. Stefan Treue (Director, German Primate Center), Professor Sir Mark Walport (Chief Scientific Adviser, UK Government) and Kirk Leech (Executive Director, European Animal Research Association).

Read the full White Paper: “Position statement of the Max Planck Society concerning the use of animals in experiments for basic research” (in German; English version starts on page 32)

Read more: Animal research at the Max Planck Society

We are not sadists, but we do animal research

A group of young, ambitious Belgian scientists have had enough of standing by doing nothing while animal research is criticised in the media. This article by Liesbeth Aerts and Jeroen Aerts was translated from the original Dutch version published in De Standaard on 26 December 2016.

‘Sadists’, ‘bastards, ‘a gang of psychopaths’, ‘worse than Dutroux [serial killer and child molester]’ … a selection of the insults directed at animal researchers that appear each time the debate about animal research surfaces in the media. One day we are awarded with prizes for our research, the other day we are cursed, insulted or threatened.

As young ambitious researchers, we care deeply about our work and also about this controversial subject. The mixed feelings of the general public indicate there is still a lot of mystery about what really goes on behind the doors of a scientific laboratory. Spokespersons and policy makers don’t seem to understand it very well either, and the people heading our research institutes are silent as usual. Since we are doing the actual animal experiments, we are the ones at the receiving end of all of these insults. We are told to keep our head down, for fear of reprisal; but we don’t want to stand by and do nothing while we are put on trial in the press and on social media.

We are not all that different from you. With your support for ‘Kom op tegen kanker’ [cancer fundraiser] and your efforts to make sure dementia is not forgotten you are going for the same goals as we are. Just like you, we ‘move for Parkinson’s’ and we take up the ice-bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS. We believe that in time, we can live in a world where these diseases can be treated or even prevented; but if this means we need lab animals, you hesitate.

Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) is an organism with a lower level of consciousness, used in genetic research

There are many ways in which we can minimise animal suffering. A lot of genetic research is done in yeast or fruit flies, organisms with a lower level of consciousness. We often perform experiments on cultured cells, for example cells taken as a tumour- or skin biopsy from patients. But even cell cultures still require animal serum to grow, and the development of antibodies (essential in biochemical research) is currently only possible in animals.
Moreover, it is only possible to study complex processes, such as memory function or the effect of a medication on the immune system, in laboratory animals.

But animals aren’t humans, you say. So what’s the use of this research?
Almost all medical breakthroughs of the past 100 years have used laboratory animals: from the development of the polio vaccine to blood transfusion techniques, kidney transplants, HIV and breast cancer medicine and brain implants for Parkinson’s. Humans and mice may indeed seem very different, but we share 99% of our DNA and most biological processes are almost identical. Unfortunately, not everything can be translated between species, but even these differences provide information about the disease process.

Let us be very clear: there is strict European legislation about the use, care and housing of animals in research and transgressions are inexcusable. Everyone who works with lab animals receives mandatory training and for each experiment involving lab animals we need to get permission from an ethical commission. This commission, which includes experts in animal welfare, also assesses whether there are really no alternatives. People who don’t follow the rules should be punished, but there is a clear difference between animal abuse and following legal procedures that may look cruel when taken out of context.

Unfortunately, incorrect and sensational messages are circulated regularly, which prevents any type of rational debate. These communications insinuate that we can ‘do whatever we want’, and worse they presume that ‘what we want’ would be to kill animals for fun. In addition, the new bill of the Green party concerning a “laboratory animal tax” assumes we only need a small nudge in the right direction to stop using lab animals. Taxing research that is often (in)directly subsidised by the government puts the blame again with the researchers. If the government wants to invest in new alternatives, this could be done without a tax.

We feel these gratuitous accusations are very unfair. We do our research with the sincere hope to make this world a better place. To contribute a small piece of knowledge to find solutions for, in this case, medical problems. We did not become researchers because we are sadists; quite the opposite. We feel for the parents who lost their kids to cystic fibrosis, for the man who no longer recognises his wife of fifty years, or for the son who hopes his mother with breast cancer will enjoy another Christmas. For many of us, this is not an abstract hope. Just like you, we have been confronted with heartbreaking situations in which current treatments fall short.

Everyone wants medical progress, but apparently not everyone is willing to pay the price. Yet we would be nowhere without laboratory animals. Portraying us as animal abusers does not change that reality. You are completely right to demand that we perform animal research with respect for the legislation and animal welfare. But can we also receive your respect and trust in return?

Scientists’ engagement in animal research policy-making – Lab Animal Europe column

The November issue of Lab Animal Europe magazine features an Outreach article written by Emma Martinez, EARA’s Communications and Policy Officer. In this article, also published in Lab Animal (US), Emma discusses how the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Stop vivisection’ and the review of Directive 2010/63/EU converge on the European Commission scientific conference ‘Non-Animal Approaches – The Way Forward’ and the need for scientific engagement.

Read the full size version here.

LAE-Nov16-Op-ed-scientists-engagement-policy-making

This article has been reposted with permission from Lab Animal Europe.

Transparency Agreement on Animal Research launched in Spain

A Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Spain was launched yesterday in Madrid. The Acuerdo de transparencia sobre el uso de animales en experimentación científica en España (lit. ‘Transparency agreement on the use of animals in scientific experimentation in Spain’), has been developed by Spain’s Confederation of Scientific Societies (COSCE) in collaboration with EARA’s Emma Martinez-Sanchez. The Spanish document has been developed based on the UK Concordat on Openness on Animal Research. Similar to the UK Concordat, the Agreement outlines four commitments for research centres in Spain to provide more information about animal research at their institutions.

Animal rights groups in Spain have been challenging research centres in Spain requesting to participate in the public debate. These challenges follow similar initiatives that have been happening in other European countries such as Italy and Germany. The European Commission acknowledged these calls for participatory debates in its response to last year’s European Citizens Initiative ‘Stop Vivisection’, where they called for more transparency and information.

The Spanish Transparency Agreement was featured in the November 2016 issue of Lab Animal Europe.

Logos of the 90 institutions that signed up at the time of the launch

Kirk Leech, Executive Director of EARA, said:

“I congratulate the Spanish scientific community with the successful launch of the Spanish Transparency Agreement on Animal Research. The Spanish Transparency Agreement is the latest in a series of initiatives across Europe to encourage transparency on animal research.

“It’s fantastic to see such a large number of research institutions signed up to the Transparency Agreement. This provides great strength in numbers in improving communication to the public about animal research. The next challenge will be to put the commitments into action – EARA will be helping COSCE to follow up on this and ensure that Spain keeps moving forward in openness on animal research.”

The Spanish Transparency Agreement was already mentioned in press in the context of the launch of Tierversuche Verstehen (‘Understanding Animal Testing’), the animal research website of the Allianz of German Research organisations.

Yesterday’s launch of the Spanish Transparency Agreement has been featured in many Spanish national papers and on some radio stations. Below are some examples:

El País: Los laboratorios que experimentan con animales abrirán sus puertas
RTVE: Presentan un acuerdo de transparencia en el uso de animales para experimentación
Noticias de Gipuzkoa: Presentan un acuerdo de transparencia en uso de animales en experimentación
Europa Press: Más de 80 instituciones públicas y privadas se comprometen a hacer más transparente la experimentación con animales
Te Interesa: Un centenar de instituciones firman un acuerdo de transparencia sobre la experimentación animal porque “No hay nada que ocultar”
Comunica Biotec: Transparencia también en experimentación animal

Hundreds of scientists sign letter supporting primates in neuroscience

Over 400 primate and neuroscience researchers signed a letter supporting the use of non-human primates in neuroscience, which was published in the Guardian today. Coordinated by Understanding Animal Research (UAR), the letter emphasises the key role that primate research has played and continues to play in vital neuroscience research. EARA signed the letter alongside 20 other institutions, as well as reaching out to our networks in Europe to gain further support. The letter can still be signed via this link.

The letter is a timely response to mounting pressure by animal rights groups against the use of non-human primates in biomedical research. Last week, the Independent published a letter coordinated by Cruelty Free International denouncing primate research, and earlier this year, the Australian Senate rejected a proposed ban on importing non-human primates for scientific research. The UAR letter is the latest in a series of efforts from the scientific community to underline the importance of this type of research, including the Foundation of Biomedical Research’s White Paper on primate research and the National Institutes of Health workshop held last week.

Kirk Leech, EARA’s Executive Director, said:

“NHP research continues to underpin our understanding of brain processes and debilitating brain conditions and allows assessing the efficiency and safety of a candidate drug. Animal research, in particular with regard to primates, is highly regulated on legal and ethical grounds as enshrined in European Directive 2010/63.

“Out of the 4.14 million procedures completed in the UK in 2015, only 0.16% were performed on primates, which accounts for 3,600 procedures. This number does not even represent the real number of primates used in procedures, since some animals undergo several procedures to reduce the use of animals. Out of this small proportion, only 0.8% were classified as severe. 

“Accurate and contrasted information is necessary to ensure a balanced dialogue that considers all risks and opportunities involved, especially in such a contentious issue as using primates in neuroscience research. We encourage and support the scientific community in the quest to provide timely and truthful information to promote scientific research.”

Full text of the letter:

Nonhuman primates have long played a key role in life-changing medical advances. A recent white paper by nine scientific societies in the US produced a list of 50 medical advances from the last 50 years made possible through studies on nonhuman primates. These included: treatments for leprosy, HIV and Parkinson’s; the MMR and hepatitis B vaccines; and earlier diagnosis and better treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome and breast cancer.

The biological similarities between humans and other primates mean that they are sometimes the only effective model for complex neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. More than 10 million people suffer from Parkinson’s worldwide, and a recent study estimated that one in three people born in 2015 will develop dementia in their lifetime. Primate research offers treatments, and hope for future treatments, to patients and their families. Already over 200,000 Parkinson’s patients have had their life dramatically improved thanks to deep brain stimulation surgery, which reduces the tremors of sufferers. This treatment was developed from research carried out in a few hundred monkeys in the 1980s and 1990s.

Given that primates are intelligent and sensitive animals, such research requires a higher level of ethical justification. The scientific community continues to work together to minimise the suffering of primates wherever possible. We welcome the worldwide effort to replace, refine and reduce the use of primates in research.

We, the undersigned, believe that if we are to effectively combat the scourge of neurodegenerative and other crippling diseases, we will require the careful and considered use of nonhuman primates. Stringent regulations across the developed world exist to ensure that primates are only used where there is no other available model – be that the use of a mouse or a non-animal alternative – and to protect the wellbeing of those animals still required. The use of primates is not undertaken lightly. However, while not all primate research results in a new treatment, it nonetheless plays a role in developing both the basic and applied knowledge that is crucial for medical advances.

For an up-to-date list of the signatories to the letter, see the website of Understanding Animal Research.

Studying the Zika virus in rhesus macaques

The 2016 Olympic Games are due to begin in Rio de Janeiro this weekend. In the lead-up to this year’s Games, the Zika virus has never been far from the headlines. A number of top golfers and basketball players have decided to pull out and other athletes have also expressed their concerns, despite the risk to anyone who is not pregnant being minimal. As it is not currently mosquito season in Brazil, experts say the Olympics will not accelerate the spread of the virus.

It is thought the epidemic has reached its peak in Latin America and will slowly burn out over the next few years. Still, there have been over 60,000 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Brazil since the outbreak began in early 2015 and the virus has reached Europe, with the first baby with Zika-related microcephaly born in Spain. Mosquitoes in Florida have now also been seen to transmit the virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US have issued a travel warning for Florida.

Dr Koen Van Rompay, D.V.M. Ph.D., virologist at the California National Primate Research Center

Dr Koen Van Rompay, virologist at the California National Primate Research Center, studies the Zika virus in monkeys

The Zika virus remains a prominent public health concern and a priority for the biosciences. In March, EARA spoke to Dr Koen van Rompay, who helped to develop and test the anti-viral drug tenofovir, which is currently the most frequently used HIV drug in the world. We interviewed him on the day before he and his team at the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) infected two female rhesus macaques with Zika virus to understand how the disease progresses. We asked him about his current study on the Zika virus, why he uses primate models in his work and how he responds to critics of animal research. Continue reading