C0VID-19: A Gorilla From the San Diego Zoo Cured With Similar Drug Used to Treat Donald Trump

While a group of gorillas at the San Diego Zoo in California was infected with Covid-19 on Jan. 11, one of them has just been treated with an experimental antibody treatment. The zoo association made the announcement Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.



The first case of natural transmission of Covid-19 from humans to great apes

On January 11, the San Diego Zoo announced that several of its gorillas caught the coronavirus. Among them, a 49-year-old gorilla named Winston which was also the first case of natural transmission of Covid-19 from humans to great apes. He was reportedly infected by an asymptomatic San Diego zoo worker even though he was wearing gloves. Indeed, because great apes have DNA that is very similar to that of humans (the chimpanzee, for example, shares 98% of its DNA with humans), they have a reputation for being sensitive to human viruses such as influenza or chickenpox.

Read Also: Monoclonal Antibodies Could Be Used to Prevent COVID-19 Infections in Unvaccinated Individuals

A press release from San Diego Zoo Global, the zoo’s management company, reported that the group of gorillas has been infected with a new highly contagious variant of coronavirus (B.1.429) recently identified in California. Several gorillas showed symptoms of mild cough, stuffy or runny noses, and episodes of lethargy.

A monoclonal antibody cocktail

On Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, the San Diego Zoo announced that Winston the gorilla was cured through an experimental treatment with synthetic monoclonal antibodies. Suffering from pneumonia and heart disease, he was treated with a cocktail of heart medication, antibiotics, and monoclonal antibodies. These are synthetic antibodies injected intravenously to mimic the natural function of the immune system. The antibodies may have helped the gorilla overcome the disease, says the animal health team caring for the old gorilla.

Read Also: COVID-19: Germany Orders 200,000 Doses of Drug Used to Treat Donald Trump

For your information, treatments based on monoclonal antibodies were already approved in the United States, where the Regeneron brand was used experimentally to treat former President Donald Trump in October 2020. However, the antibody treatment the gorilla received is a treatment that cannot be used in humans, according to the zoo. San Diego Zoo Global is now looking into the possibility of using this treatment on other animals.


San Diego Zoo Safari Park Gorillas Recovering After SARS-CoV-2 Diagnosis



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