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Max Planck Institute. Vaccinating Wild Apes Against Ebola.  Thomas Breuer WCS\MPI. Ebola Zaire Outbreak Zone is “Gorilla Homeland”. Ebola outbreak sites. Also Chimpanzee Stronghold. “Robust” or “Common” Chimpanzee Pan troglodytes. Western Gorilla - Gorilla gorilla.

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Vaccinating wild apes against ebola l.jpg

Max Planck


Vaccinating Wild Apes Against Ebola

 Thomas Breuer WCS\MPI

Ebola zaire outbreak zone is gorilla homeland l.jpg
Ebola Zaire Outbreak Zone is “Gorilla Homeland”

Ebola outbreak sites

Also Chimpanzee Stronghold

“Robust” or “Common” Chimpanzee

Pan troglodytes

Western Gorilla - Gorilla gorilla

Bonobo - Pan paniscus

Eastern Gorilla - Gorilla beringei

Ebola spreads in outbreak wave l.jpg
Ebola Spreads In Outbreak Wave

Wave has

already hit

half of major

ape parks.



ape parks

at risk.

Moving through reservoir host – probably bats

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Catastrophic Decline

  • Ebola has killed tens of thousands of gorillas and chimpanzees

    • 95% Mortality in Outbreak Areas

    • 50% of habitat affected

    • 32% decline in world population

    • May rise to 50% in Next 5-10 years

  • But there is hope….

  • Western Gorilla “Critically Endangered”

    • - Walsh et al, World Conservation Union 2007

 Martin Harvey / WWF

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Vaccinating Apes Against Ebola is Feasible

  • At least six vaccines protect lab monkeys against Ebola

  • Should work on gorillas and chimpanzees

Labs Engaged

LaboratoryVaccine Platform

Private Sector

AlphaVax: Alpha Virus Replicon


Integrated Biotherapeutics: Virus-Like Particles


Health Canada: VSV


 Martin Harvey / WWF

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Targeted Vaccination Program

We can…

  • Monitor movement of wave

  • Vaccinate ahead of wave

  • Vaccinate only once at each site

 Michel Gunther/ WWF

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Develop Detailed “Business Plan”


$1 Million

might lead to one or both of the following options

Save Key

Research & Tourism Groups

Protect Entire Populations

Darted Vaccine

Oral Vaccine

Vaccinate 100’s of Apes

Vaccinate 1,000’s of Apes

Vaccine Development & Testing

$2-3 Million

Vaccine Development & Testing

$3-6 Million

Field Vaccination Program

$1.5 Million

Field Vaccination Program

$2-3 Million

* Project costing is approximate.

Firm cost estimates to be developed in Phase 1.

 Michel Gunther/ WWF

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Core Team

  • Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI)Funded by the German Federal Government, world leader on ape infectious diseases.

  • The Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center UPMC)Independent nonprofit organization, which works to affect policy and practice in ways that lessen the illness, death, and civil disruption that would follow large-scale epidemics.

  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)The largest multinational conservation organization in the world, WWF has worked for more than 30 years in the Congo Basin, engaging conservation partners and protecting great apes for future generations.

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Current Partners

  • Private Sector

    • Biologics Consulting Group: USA

    • Four Seasons Ventures: USA

    • IDT Biologika, Dessau: Germany

    • Arnold and Porter: USA

  • Foundations

    • Wallace Global Fund

    • Arcus Foundation

  • Universities

    • Alabama-Birmingham,

    • California-Berkeley, Edinburgh,

    • Glasgow, Harvard, Montpelier, Mexico, Princeton, Stanford, Texas-Austin

  • Governmental

    • Department of Health & Human Services: USA

    • National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis: USA

    • Robert Koch Institute: Germany

    • US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease: USA

    • Wolfgang Koehler Primate Research Center, Zoo Leipzig: Germany

 Michel Gunther/ WWF

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Change photo:

Not western gorillas

be a part of our work

 Timothy Geer / WWF