Heroes have their moments -the courageous firefighter who is praised in the media after rushing in to a collapsing burning building to save a child, the scientist who found the cure to a vicious disease. But today’s moment belongs to the recognition of a little known life saver the Green Monkey. On March 27 th, 1962, in a lab in Japan,a kidney was removed from a male adult African Green Monkey ( Cercopithecus aethiops ) The lineage of cells that was discovered , was  dubbed “Vero cells” from “Verda Reno” (green kidney in Esperanto).Used in diagnostic virology and for the manufacture of viral vaccines, the Vero cells have become a major aid in battling devastating viral diseases of man- Poliovirus (which in severe cases causes damage to the Central Nervous System and paralysis ) and rabies(if you don’t know what rabies is- slap yourselves and google it.)

Vero Cells extracted from the kidney of an African Green Monkey:

Aneuploid (abnormal number of chromosomes) and continuous, the incredible function of these cells lies in their capability to be replicated through numerous cycles of division without becoming senescent(which is a fancy medical term for old – think  the term senile.) Talk about valuable material. But people tend to forget (or be completely oblivious too) of the who behind the what. So lets take this moment and  acknowledge a hero of millions today-the donor:

The Green Monkey 

Author: Anna Artsibasheva


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