Crab-eating macaques being used to test coronavirus vaccines escaped from a truck for laboratory research after a traffic accident. Some of the fugitives were caught, and the rest are being searched with a helicopter. In a normal time, in a normal world, an incident with a truck somewhere in Pennsylvania would be the subject of an article in some state paper. However, now all global media have suddenly written about it. This is rather strange.
The box truck was transporting 100 cynomolgus monkeys, worth about $10,000 each, to be delivered to a laboratory in Florida. On Highway 54 near Interstate 80 in Montour County, about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia and near Denville, the car collided with a dump truck, causing the cages to fall onto the road. Four individuals managed to break out and hide in the nearby forest.
Trooper State Police spokeswoman Lauren Lesher said local authorities managed to catch two fugitives a few hours later, but two more remain at large. Law enforcers are bringing in animal trapping specialists who, if necessary, can safely capture the monkeys or put them to sleep with tranquilizers. According to the local WNEP website, the police raised a helicopter to search for animals from the air.
“A small number of monkeys may have fled the scene of the collision in the neighborhood. If anyone spots them in public areas, please keep your distance and call 911 immediately. The health and safety of residents and guests is our top priority,” Trooper Lesher said on Twitter.
An eyewitness managed to photograph one of the escaped monkeys, which climbed a tree. It is unknown if it was caught after that.
Crab-eating macaques have proven to be so in-demand for COVID-19 vaccine trials that some scientists have proposed creating a special strategic emergency reserve for them, similar to government grain and oil storage facilities.
These particular animals were taken to some laboratory, and laboratories are a different category altogether. For example, those where the Ebola virus is tested on animals. We don’t know if animals were given injections or not, or whether this is an accidental incident arranging a zombie apocalypse, but pandemic movies always begin like this: