Save Our Monkeys counters claims made for using Mauritius macaques in Hepatitis B research


The BUAV Save Our Monkeys campaign aims to raise awareness of the plight of the long-tailed macaque in Mauritius and urges the people of Mauritius to support the BUAV’s efforts to stop the cruel trade and export of monkeys around the world for use in experiments. There are strong ethical and scientific arguments against their use in research.

A recent paper by Dupinay et al. (1)describes the first identification of naturally occurring chronic hepatitis B virus infection in an old world monkey, in this case long-tailed macaques living in Mauritius. The authors propose that these macaques could be used for the study of hepatitis B infection and related disease in humans.

The BUAV disagrees with this approach for the following reasons:

Save Our Monkeys argues that alternative methods that do not involve the use of animals should be used instead and points to those that have been published within the last few months alone:


1.        Dupinay, T., Gheit, T., Roques, P., Cova, L., Chevallier-Queyron, P., Tasahsu, S.I., Le Grand, R., Simon, F., Cordier, G., Wakrim, L., Benjelloun, S., Trepo, C. & Chemin, I. (2013). Discovery of naturally occurring transmissible chronic hepatitis B virus infection among Macaca fascicularis from Mauritius Island. Hepatology 58, 1610-1620.

2.        Zhou, M., Zhao, F., Li, J., Cheng, Z., Tian, X., Zhi, X., Huang, Y. & Hu, K. (2014). Long-term maintenance of human fetal hepatocytes and prolonged susceptibility to HBV infection by co-culture with non-parenchymal cells. J Virol Methods 195, 185-193.

3.        Tan, A.T., Sodsai, P., Chia, A., Moreau, E., Chng, M.H., Tham, C.Y., Ho, Z.Z., Banu, N., Hirankarn, N. & Bertoletti, A. (2014). Immunoprevalence and immunodominance of HLA-Cw*0801-restricted T cell response targeting the hepatitis B virus envelope transmembrane region. J Virol 88, 1332-1341.

4.        Huang, Y.C., Jiang, C.M., Chen, Y.J. & Chen, Y.Y. (2013). Pectinesterase Inhibitor from Jelly Fig (Ficus awkeotsang Makino) Achene Inhibits Surface Antigen Expression by Human Hepatitis B Virus. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013, 434823.

5.        Cho, M.H., Jeong, H., Kim, Y.S., Kim, J.W. & Jung, G. (2013). 2-Amino-N-(2,6-dichloropyridin-3-yl)acetamide derivatives as a novel class of HBV capsid assembly inhibitor. J Viral Hepat

6.        Iwamoto, M., Watashi, K., Tsukuda, S., Aly, H.H., Fukasawa, M., Fujimoto, A., Suzuki, R., Aizaki, H., Ito, T., Koiwai, O., Kusuhara, H. & Wakita, T. (2014). Evaluation and identification of hepatitis B virus entry inhibitors using HepG2 cells overexpressing a membrane transporter NTCP. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 443, 808-813.

7.        Ahn, S., Tamai, M., Nakashima, K., Ito, M., Suzuki, T. & Tagawa, Y.I. (2014). An in vitro liver model consisting of endothelial vascular networks surrounded by human hepatoma cell lines allows for improved hepatitis B virus replication. J Biosci Bioeng

8.        Yang, D., Zuo, C., Wang, X., Meng, X., Xue, B., Liu, N., Yu, R., Qin, Y., Gao, Y., Wang, Q., Hu, J., Wang, L., Zhou, Z., Liu, B., Tan, D., Guan, Y. & Zhu, H. (2014). Complete replication of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus in a newly developed hepatoma cell line. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111, E1264-E1273.