In an effort to fight COVID-19, the U.S. government has rented $1.24 million worth of monkeys from a research products business in West Cocalico Township.
Yes, you read that right. Monkeys.
The National Institutes of Health has committed $1.24 million to "live animal" rentals from a research corporation called Envigo, which is located in Denver, according to ProPublica's coronavirus contracts tracker.
The tracker collects federal contracts tagged with the procurement code for COVID-19 or started in 2020 and include "COVID-19" in the description, ProPublica said.
The rented monkeys include the crab-eating macaque, otherwise known as the cynomolgus monkey in laboratories, and the rhesus macaque, the contract tracker said. Both species are native to mainland Asia, the National Primate Research Center said.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the United States Department of Health and Human Services also committed $674,535 to Envigo for "live animals rental," but further details were not provided.
Envigo's Denver site breeds dogs, rabbits and non-human primates, its website said, and used to be called Covance Research Products until it was bought by Envigo in June of 2019.
An Envigo spokesperson said he was unable to verify the contract but added that the company is "very proud of the work we do to support medical research, especially with regards to developing treatments of vaccines for COVID-19."