Episode 43: Pandemic Primates — A look at the critical role the Tulane National Primate Research Center is playing in the fight against COVID-19

To test COVID-19 vaccines and treatments you need primates, and the United States had a shortage even before the pandemic. Jay Rappaport, principal investigator and director of the Tulane National Primate Research Center talks about the national partnership the center is leading to coordinate primate centers like never before in order to move new vaccines and treatments forward as efficiently as possible. He also shares a bit about the surprising scope of COVID-19 research the center is doing right here in Covington, including on the virus’s long-term effects and emerging variants. Plus, are you or someone you know apprehensive about the current vaccines? Rappaport addresses the concerns many have about the speed of their development and their safety and shares his thoughts on what we can expect in the next few months and years.

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More about Dr. Jay Rappaport: 

In addition to his role as the director and chief academic officer of the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, Louisiana, he is also a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane University School of Medicine.

Rappaport provides vision and leadership for the 40 faculty members and 200 employees at the primate center who support its mission to improve human and animal health through basic and applied biomedical research. Currently, he is deeply involved in COVID-19 research and serves as a member of the NIH public-private partnership, ACTIV, Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines.

Prior to serving as director of the primate center, Rappaport was professor and associate chair for education in the neuroscience department at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine. His research focused on HIV infection, HIV/AIDS related disorders of the nervous system, and the development of therapies for treating AIDS.

Rappaport previously held positions at Medical College of Pennsylvania-Hahnemann University, Mount Sinai Medical Center, University of California San Diego and the National Institutes of Health. A native of Philadelphia, Rappaport earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and his doctorate degree in microbiology from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2020, he was awarded The Herman and Gertrude Silver Lectureship Award by the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.



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