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Monument for SARS Lab Animals

The Chinese Academy of Medical Science has erected a monument in Beijing to commemorate the laboratory animals that died in testing a potential vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Yin Weiping, chief of the SARS vaccine development program, said animal testing was vital to prove whether or not the vaccine was safe and effective. The animals honored include mice, guinea pigs, rabbits and rhesus monkeys.

Wuhan University in central China's Hubei Province erected a similar monument in September in honor of the 38 rhesus monkeys that died in a major research program on SARS.

China researchers completed the first round of human trials on the vaccine and declared it safe on December 5.

SARS, which emerged in south China's Guangdong Province in late 2002, killed 349 people in China and claimed thousands of lives worldwide before subsiding in July 2003. It killed another person in April this year during a brief outbreak traced to a Beijing laboratory, which was working with the virus. 

A memorial to the human victims of SARS was unveiled at the foot of the Badaling section of the Great Wall near Beijing in July 2003, and Hong Kong authorities announced in June this year that it is also planning a memorial.

(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2004)

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