OHSU's primate center (also called the Oregon National Primate Research Center) is a candidate for the Biosafety Level 4 lab because of their abundance of research monkeys. They currently have approximately 3,200 monkeys as well as other species of research animals and are in the process of expanding. An increasing number of doctors and scientists are questioning whether studying other animals is a valid way to investigate human disease. The history of vaccine research is full of examples of people dying from vaccines that had been found to be safe in animals. According to Dr. Ray Greek of Americans for Medical Advancement, during the anthrax attacks of October 2001, people were mistakenly told they were safe after exposure to the disease based on misleading monkey data. The amount of anthrax needed to kill monkeys is much higher than the amount needed to kill humans. OHSU's primate center has been around since 1962, sucking up hundreds of millions of dollars without curing any diseases. |
OHSU's community relations plan to sell the lab to us states they will "provide full disclosure" and also "An open line of communication is necessary to establish public trust and value of the center... Both achievements and problems will be communicated to the public to ensure continued confidence ... ". This claim is ridiculous considering OHSU's history of avoiding public accountability and transparency. After years of requests, they still refuse to publicly debate questions about the validity of their animal based research. Citizens have had to sue OHSU to receive public information about the research we pay for. In general our legislators are too deferential to OHSU's financial power to criticize them, but State Senator Kurt Schrader was brave enough to speak the truth stating, " [OHSU President] Peter Kohler is a liar... a poor steward of the medical community." Yet we are to believe him when he promises full disclosure.
According to Matt Rossell, former OHSU Primate Center employee, OHSU has ignored safety protocols in their existing Biosafety Level 3 HIV lab. During his time there he witnessed monkeys moved from the Level 3 lab and returned to the main monkey population. (Safety protocols require that animals never leave the level 3 labs alive). He also saw calves infected with cryptosporidia, a deadly waterborne bacteria, secreted out and given to a technician to take home. Monkeys have repeatedly escaped from the center. Can we trust these people with even more dangerous viruses?
The Portland area's silence on the proposed biodefense lab makes us very good candidates for it. The NIH is taking into consideration public response in their granting decision, which should be made this September. The University of California, Davis, is one of the institutions that applied for these grants. Because of overwhelming public outcry, Davis Mayor Susie Boyd reversed her original position and will oppose the project. Boyd drafted a letter to the NIH stating the lab would be unwelcome. The opposition to the lab was fueled by the recent unexplained disappearance of a monkey from their facility, fears that the lab could become a terrorism target or that a deadly virus could be smuggled out.
Contact the following and tell them that we will not accept this dangerous, wasteful project.
Grants Management - NIH
Rona Hirschberg, Ph.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
6610 Rockledge Drive
Room 5007, MSC 6603
Bethesda, MD 20892-7630
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, Oregon 97301-4047
Governor¹s Citizens¹ Representative Message Line
For email go to this link:
Office of Mayor Vera Katz
1221 SW 4th Ave., Suite 340
Portland, Oregon 97204-1995
Office of Mayor Tom Hughes
123 W Main Street
Hillsboro, OR 97123
"Far too frequently animal models have been used to develop vaccines that are effective in animals but are ineffective or worse, harmful in humans... Using an archaic methodology like animal models to combat a 21st century disease is more than foolish, it is immoral". -Dr. Ray Greek.