The Beacon Volume 5, Issue 3


July 2020 Newsletter

Contents

2020 IACUC Deadlines and Meeting Dates

Investigators are encouraged to submit protocols that are due for 3-year renewal, early, to allow time for pre-review of the protocol by the research liaisons and the veterinarians. This will expedite the review and approval of the protocol in the MAPS environment. Should you have any questions, please contact your protocol liaison

Update on IACUC and OARS “Business as Usual”

As the University’s response to the spread of COVID-19 continues to evolve, so does how the IACUC and OARS manage all of the institution’s regulatory responsibilities.

The IACUC approved that through August, facility managers (or designees) and PIs with satellite housing, or lab managers, may conduct self-assessments of their own facilities and laboratories.

OARS RSS Specialists will notify PIs and lab managers at the beginning of each month that a lab audit is due. Please use the Yale Laboratory Self-Evaluation Checklist for guidance or the fillable version Yale Laboratory Self-Evaluation Checklist Fillable Form. We are relying on the honor code, so please send all findings with plan for correction to iacucinspects@yale.edu.

This initiative will be limited to rodents, aquatics, etc. Inspections of USDA-covered species will continue to be conducted by the IACUC.

Additionally, as a reminder, if you are conducting experiments during this time, be sure that you continue to follow practices that the IACUC has approved in your protocols, especially monitoring plans and treatment after procedures. If you are unable to fulfill this responsibility, then you may contract Rodent Services (rodent.services@yale.edu) or VCS (vcsstaff@yale.edu) to monitor your animals for you (on a fee-for-service basis), or you should cease the experiment until you are better able to meet this expectation.

Update on Training

Currently OARS is not scheduling our regular hands on training classes due to Covid-19 restrictions and University guidelines for social distancing.

We can offer one-on-one training if your needs are essential; otherwise please be patient until we return to a normal on-campus schedule.

Another option is the Distance Learning Program we offer that incorporates a step-by-step procedure document and Zoom meeting to assess training. Please contact Layne Ochman, OARS Training Manager (layne.ochman@yale.edu) for further information regarding Distance Learning.

We will update this information concerning regularly scheduled training classes as restrictions change. Thank you all for your patience.

NIH Grants and Euthanasia

As mentioned in a previous message from early this year, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) updated its Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. The main change in the 2020 guidelines, compared to the 2013 edition, is that the range of carbon dioxide used for euthanizing rodents must now be between 30-70% fill rate.

After October 1, 2020, grant applications and contract proposals must be consistent with the 2020 Guidelines (NOT-OD-20-143). We are currently working on updating the IACUC euthanasia policy, which will distill the 121-page document into an easy-to-use format of topics that Yale animal researchers really need to know.  Please keep this in mind as you are writing NIH grant applications now and in the future.

Policy Updates May – July

Satellite Housing Policy REVISED

  • Previously titled “Lab Housing and Non-YARC Managed Housing Facilities”
  • Satellite Housing definitions were updated:
    • Satellite Facilities, formerly known as “PI-managed housing” or “lab housing,” are areas where live vertebrate animals are used outside of central YARC-managed facilities for greater than 12 hours (USDA-covered species) or 24 hours (non-USDA-covered species).  
    • Satellite Housing Facilities are where individual animals are housed long-term, outside of YARC facilities. Both the micro- (e.g. caging/tanks, cleaning/sanitation thereof) and macroenvironments e.g. temperature, lighting, etc.) must meet Guide housing criteria.
    • Satellite Holding Facilities are where individual animals are “tested” for ≤ 8 days and are euthanized or sent to the YARC quarantine facility at completion of the “test” and prior to return to the originating facility.  Satellite holding facilities are required to meet some, but not all of Guide housing criteria.
  • Prior to applying for Satellite Housing, YARC will first determine suitability for Centralized Housing.
  • If there is no suitable YARC-managed facility, an assessment of the proposed satellite housing facility will be made to determine if the space has the appropriate infrastructure to maintain animals for the length of time anticipated.
  • A satellite housing facility must meet the same standards as YARC-managed facilities. A satellite holding facility must meet some, but not all, of these standards.
  • All satellite housing and holding locations must be approved by the IACUC prior to maintaining animals in that location.
  • Access to animals in these locations will be granted to all authorized individuals, including IACUC/OARS, Veterinarians, YARC and VCS personnel, regardless of the type of facility.

Surgery: Rodent Survival and Non-Survival REVISED

The following revisions were made to this policy:

  • Stereotaxic Surgery:
    • Blunt tipped ear bars are required for survival stereotaxic surgical procedures.
    • Pointed tip ear bars are allowed only for use during non-survival stereotaxic surgical procedures.
  • Cardiac Perfusions - Due to the certainty of severe pain during this brief terminal surgical procedure, anesthesia is required for terminal trans-cardiac perfusion of rodents to prevent any perception of pain by the rodent or observer.  Below are suggested, prescriptive regimens:
    • Mice
      - 200 mg/kg Ketamine + 20 mg/kg Xylazine IP - Isoflurane 3-5% delivered by precision vaporizer and mask or endotracheal tube
    • Rats
      - 150 mg/kg Ketamine + 10 mg/kg Xylazine IP
      - Isoflurane 3-5% delivered by precision vaporizer and mask or endotracheal tube

Standard Operating Procedure Updates

Rodent Satellite Housing Operations NEW

  • These requirements are considered the minimum standards for maintaining rodents outside of a YARC-managed for greater than 8 days or permanently. This information is consistent with YARC SOPs. Unless a deviation to these requirements is specifically approved by the IACUC, compliance with these standards is expected.
    • General Guidelines
    • Daily Requirements
    • Weekly Requirements
    • Security and Emergency Procedures
    • Transportation

Rodent Satellite Holding Operations NEW

  • These requirements are considered the minimum standards for holding rodents outside of a YARC-managed facility for greater than 24 hours and less than 8 days. This information is consistent with YARC SOPs. Unless a deviation to these requirements is specifically approved by the IACUC, compliance with these standards is expected.
    • General Guidelines
    • Daily Requirements
    • Weekly Requirements
    • Security and Emergency Procedures
    • Transportation

Satellite Facility Emergency Response Plan NEW

  •  In the face of an unforeseen event that may endanger personnel, preservation of human safety is the priority; every effort must be made to ensure that staff and students are not placed at risk.
  • Principal investigators and/or research staff should make all reasonable accommodations to continue daily care of animals in their satellite housing facilities (e.g. hotel stay during forecasted inclement weather).
    • If research staff are unable to fulfill these daily requirements (e.g. health checks, providing food and water, administering necessary treatments, etc.) during an emergency, then other accommodations must be made.
  • The following sections and associated steps are described:
    •  Immediate Threat or Criminal Activity
    • Complications with Maintaining Appropri#Standard Procedure Updatesate Environmental Conditions
    • Severe Weather Forecast or Significant Public Health Concern

Standard Procedure Updates

These are pre-approved documents that will eventually become implemented into MAPS so that investigators may select from a library and attach it to the protocol. Being that they are pre-approved, there won’t be a need for investigators to re-write that procedure nor for the IACUC to re-review that procedure.

High-Density Mouse Housing for Microbiome Studies NEW

It is widely recognized that the intestinal microbiota plays an essential role in health and disease and the standardization of the gut microbiome (GM) in research animals is important to study that role. It has been suggested that co-housing more than one litter and dams in a primary enclosure may offer some degree of gut microbiome standardization among offspring, and provide a larger number of animals from which to establish experimental and control groups with similar GM.

This document describes the instructions and requirements for housing two female mice and two litters may be housed in a standard mouse primary enclosure.

Compliance Corner

What would you do?

Dr. Smith is eager to get started on a critical experiment.  However, the PQF for inclusion on the PI’s protocol has not yet been approved.  Dr. Smith has also not completed a facility tour (YARC Part II), and consequently, does not have access to the vivarium.  Which of the following is an acceptable next step?

A. Have a lab member on the protocol transport animals from the vivarium to the lab, and then take part in hands-on training for a survival procedure with the animals as outlined in the submitted PQF.

B. Borrow a lab member’s ID badge to gain access to the vivarium, transport animals to the lab, and perform an experiment.

C. Attend YARC Part II, obtain access for the facility where the lab’s animals are housed, and wait for the PQF to be approved, prior to accessing the vivarium and working with animals on the protocol.

D. Move forward with the experiment since Dr. Smith is already approved on another PI’s protocol.

Correct Answer: C

C is correct since you must have an approved PQF, for a specific protocol, before working directly with animals on that protocol.  Also, prior to entering a facility on your own, you must attend YARC Part II (facility tour) and be granted vivarium access.

Compliance Corner - Additional Information

The Office of Animal Research Support periodically receives reports regarding unauthorized individuals entering the vivarium or performing procedures prior to being added to a protocol.  We wanted to take the opportunity here, to emphasize the importance of following the proper procedures.  Please see the links below to the training section of our website and the training policy.

Animal Research Training

Animal Care and Use Training Program

OARS Team