Lies and More Lies: PETA Exposes Manuel Elkin Patarroyo’s Many Falsehoods

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Manuel Elkin Patarroyo, the founder and director of the Fundación Instituto de Inmunología de Colombia in Leticia, has built and operates his facility on a foundation of lies. PETA can prove it.

Manuel Elkin Patarroyo’s Facility Is Under Investigation

For 40 years, Patarroyo’s facility has captured and imprisoned monkeys to use in misguided experiments in order to produce a malaria vaccine for humans—attempts that have failed for four decades running. Thanks to pressure from us, Colombian authorities have opened an investigation into this decrepit laboratory. Now we’re calling on the Colombian government to prevent additional monkeys from being abducted for useless biomedical experiments.

Manuel Elkin Patarroyo can’t seem to tell the truth. That’s what PETA is here to do.

LIE: In experiments described in two published papers, Patarroyo passed the tests off as legally permitted research.

TRUTH: He never bothered to get the required permits for the monkeys he tormented and killed.

LIE: Patarroyo said the monkeys were “looked after by expert primate veterinarians and workers and supervised weekly by expert biologists and veterinarians from the local environmental authorities and ethics committees.”

Five monkeys huddle together in a broken down box in the cornet of a barren room with a few tree branches

TRUTH: The facility had no veterinarian for seven months. Animals were kept in deplorable conditions, and 47 monkeys died in just 14 months, some horrifically. The ethics committee mentioned by Patarroyo didn’t exist at the time of the papers’ publication.  

LIE: At least since 2017, Patarroyo promised members of Indigenous communities—who capture monkeys for him—“0.5% of the net profit from the sale of the [malaria] vaccine.” He said this money would “come to the Amazonas to build schools, clinics for the communities’ benefit.” His staff made similar promises to leaders of Indigenous communities as recently as February 2023.

A dirty hallway stored with mobile cages

TRUTH: Patarroyo applied for a permit to capture monkeys that specifically forbids him from selling any products obtained using these animals, according to the regional environmental agency.

LIE: Over the years, Patarroyo has told Indigenous communities that the malaria vaccine he’s supposedly working on is almost ready. In mid-2017, he said that by the end 2018, “[T]here will be a vaccine with 100% effectivity.”

TRUTH: Everyone is still waiting. There’s no vaccine.

LIE: According to an Indigenous leader, Patarroyo made similar promises in 2014 when he said the malaria vaccine would be available the following year. And in February 2023, he said the vaccine was “in the final phase of creation.”

Two men restrain a monkey with a rusty fence between them

TRUTH: There’s still no vaccine.

What You Can Do

Please TAKE ACTION by urging the Colombian government to end the abduction of monkeys from their forest homes for use in biomedical experiments and put some teeth into the enforcement of its own regulations.

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