An Oregon company says it can immediately supply the federal government with 3,000 monkeys for medical research and polio vaccine testing jeopardized by India's export ban.
Dr. Matthew B. Mayberry, head of Mol Enterprises of Portland, told the National Institutes of Health he has an agreement with Bangladesh to export rhesus monkeys.
Mayberry said Bangladesh is allowing his company to export them in return, for establishment of breeding farms in the tiny country and the training of local people for the trade.
Bangladesh is the only source of supply while the Indian ban is in effect.
Robert A. Whitney, chief of veterinary services for NIH, confirmed that negotiations will begin this week with Mol Enterprises.
"We want the monkeys, from wherever we can get them," he said.
Whitney said 3,000 rhesus monkeys are urgently needed for this year's polio vaccine program. Domestic breeding colonies cannot meet the demand, he said, even if all other research programs are suspended. A total of 6,000 monkeys will be needed for polio testing by early 1979.
India announced last month it will not allow shipments of the monkeys after April 1 because of reports of inhumane treatment and profitcering. Exporters are being allowed to fill their quotas through March 31, the end of India's fiscal year.
Of the 20,000 rheus monkeys exported in 1977-78, 12,000 came to the United States.
Mayberry said he can supply the monkeys at less cost to the NIH, which now pays between $135 and $400 apiece for the monkeys, depending on size and sex.
Mayberry, a nationally known researcher, is an assistant professor with the University of Oregon Medical School and a former assistant surgeon general for public health.
His first shipment from Bangladesh was sent this month to the University of California in Los Angeles.