With the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic still under dispute, a Chinese-based biotech firm seeks to bring a primate research facility to rural North Central Florida.
Two months ago, JOINN Laboratories bought a 1,400-acre parcel in Levy County, according to the Citrus County Chronicle. The company seeks to convert the site into a “primate quarantine and breeding facility,” the paper noted.
And JOINN wanted this site badly.
The Chronicle reported the company paid $5.5 million for the land – eight times what the sellers, a pair of longtime cattle ranchers, paid for it just two years ago.
The deal coincided with media reports that the global pharmaceutical industry faces a severe shortage of research monkeys.
For example, in mid-June, the Global Times reported that the cost of monkeys in China has spiked since 2017.
In the news: Florida Gov. DeSantis’ Office Rebukes Claims Migrants Sent To Martha’s Vineyard Were Misled
Five years ago a single research primate cost about $2,050. Today, that same monkey runs $17,400. Although some industry observers say the price in China may be even higher.
JOINN has had to look elsewhere to develop its inventory of monkeys for a couple of reasons.
For one thing, according to the Times, China has executed a major push to become the dominant force in the pharmaceutical industry. Thus, it has needed more monkeys for research, making the animals more valuable, especially since they were critical in the research of COVID-19 vaccines.
But at the beginning of the pandemic, China also banned international trade of wild animals, and at the same time the Chinese government implemented significant hurdles to the use of domestic monkeys in medical research, the Toronto Globe & Mail reported in April 2020.
As the Global Times noted in June, “current market supply is failing to keep up with booming demand,” particularly since the monkeys have a long breeding cycle and a low “output” rate.
The decision to locate such a facility in the U.S. may raise some concerns, as suspicion lingers over the animal research in Wuhan.
While many on the left want to dismiss claims that the virus that has killed more than 1 million Americans originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the World Health Organization in June called for additional research into the lab-leak theory.
Yet the Levy County primate facility faces some challenges.
The proposal does not fit in with the county’s long-range growth plan, which has the area zoned for sparsely populated rural residential use or for forestry.
The county’s planning director told the Chronicle that JOINN’s pitch “would not be looked upon favorably” by county officials because the project doesn’t mesh with the future use of property in the area.
And given the size of the initiative, it will require a state review. Yet the project likely could go forward if the state gives it a favorable review.
In the news: Florida Man Beats Female CVS Employee While Screaming “F*** Joe Biden”
It’s unclear when this process might begin to play out.
Visit Tampafp.com for Politics, Sports, and National Headlines. Support journalism by clicking here to our GiveSendGo or sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here.
Android Users, Click Here To Download The Free Press App And Never Miss A Story. Follow Us On Facebook Here Or Twitter Here.
Copyright 2022 The Free Press, LLC, tampafp.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Login To Facebook From Your Browser To Leave A Comment