Animal Research

Please direct all questions to DLARCOVID19@duke.edu. This page will be updated regularly as new information is received.

Related FAQs

DLAR & DLC Animal Care

What is the recommended method of transitioning from wearing of a face mask to donning personal protective equipment (PPE) within animal facilities?

Remember that the SOM principles for resuming lab work (refer to https://medschool.duke.edu/research/reopening-research-laboratories/general-principles) include wearing a face mask at all times and maintaining physical distancing. When working in in DLAR facilities, keep personal masks separate from those worn in the animal rooms. Once leaving the facility, remove all PPE including the facemask.  Wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer before redonning your personal facemask.  Hand sanitizer is located in the animal facility where a sink is not readily available.

What new processes has the DLAR developed to support physical distancing?

DLAR has created shared room resource calendars managed through Outlook, and determined maximum occupancy in rooms (see posted signs and calendar). Laboratory members, along with the DLAR staff, can reserve time in animal or procedure rooms for up to one-hour increments. For rooms where the maximum occupancy is only 1 person, calendar reservations will be auto-accepted if there is no conflict with a previously scheduled reservation, but please be aware that it may take up to 30-minutes for your room reservation to appear on the calendar. For rooms where the maximum occupancy is more than 1 person, you may schedule conflicting reservations. Please make one reservation per individual and do not exceed the maximum number of individuals / reservations noted at the top of the calendar.

Please contact the DLAR Operations Managers if there is a need to adjust reservations to accommodate research or husbandry activities for a specific room. For technical assistance using the calendars and making reservations, please email DLARCOVID19@duke.edu.

Is the DLAR able to assist labs with breeding of mice and rats?

The DLAR Breeding Core (DBC) manages breeding of over 180 mouse and rat lines for numerous Investigators, as well as the DCI production colonies of nude and NSG/SCID-beige mice.  Although the majority of these colonies are maintained at an Ultra-barrier status (strict exclusion list of rodent adventitious pathogens including Helicobacter sp., Norovirus and Pasteurella pneumotropica (also Rodentibacter pneumotropicus)) and require rederivation for entry, the DBC has space and resources to accommodate breeding colonies of normal barrier status of most mouse and rat strains at Duke.  If an Investigator wishes to discuss use of the DBC, information may be obtained at rodentbreedingcore@dm.duke.edu, or by contacting a DLAR veterinarian or Operations Manager.

Is the DLAR able to assist labs with scientific services for animal work?

The DLAR maintains a full range of veterinary, technical, surgical and diagnostic services analogous to those prior to the COVID-19 research curtailment to assist labs with their research programs. All services should be scheduled. Similarly, the DLAR maintains training programs, both didactic and hands-on, to assist laboratories with information and techniques pertinent to use of animal models.  If an Investigator wishes to use DLAR scientific services or wishes training, information may be obtained at dlarsurgerytechsrvs@dm.duke.edu and dlar_training@dm.duke.edu, or by contacting a DLAR veterinarian or Operations Manager.

How will DLAR assist labs in providing supplies for animal work?

To facilitate continued physical distancing, the DLAR has implemented an ordering system to provide needed supplies to animal anterooms/vestibules, procedural areas, and housing rooms. An order form has been placed on the DLAR website (https://dacup.duke.edu/husdandry-request-form) that can be downloaded, or requested from an Assistant Manager/Operations Manager, and completed by research labs.  The completed form should be submitted to the Assistant Manager/Operation Manager of the respective vivarium area by 2 business days prior to intended use of the supplies. Items available for ordering include: additional cages, special bedding, enrichment devices, food treats, water bottles, deprivation caps and tags, and other needs.

Note: DLAR pharmacy items may continue to be ordered by regular methods and information is available at dlarpharmacy@dm.duke.edu.  Controlled substances require scheduling for pickup, while other pharmacy items will be available by the front desk of the Central Vivarium.

What are the hours that I can speak to someone concerning the care or use of my animals?

The DLAR operational hours for animal care during this time are from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM (Monday-Friday).  For administrative and non-emergency questions, email DLARCOVID19@dm.duke.edu. We will be happy to work with you by email, phone, or arrange an in-person/video appointment. An additional avenue for communication is your usual DLAR contact. For animal emergencies, please call the veterinary emergency pager (919-970-9410) at any time (24/7).

IACUC and OAWA

Does approval to return to the workplace mean I can perform my animal use activities?

You should only perform on-site animal activities if all of the following apply:

  • You have been approved to return to work. Only individuals who have received specific approval and have been notified by their manager, Chair, or senior administration that they can return to on-site work at a Duke Campus location may re-initiate work with animals. Everyone else should continue to work remotely. Please reference the SOM guidelines for return to research laboratories https://medschool.duke.edu/research/reopening-research-laboratories
  • Re-initiation of your animal work is part of your Vice Dean’s Office approved research plan and the research building is open.
     
  • You have an IACUC approved protocol to perform the animal activity. This includes IACUC approval for any animal use location, animal transport, and personnel performing the animal activity. If you have questions on what is approved on your IACUC protocol or needs to be approved prior to initiation please email IACUC@Duke.edu.
     
  • You can meet all return to work place requirements that have been established by the State, County, University, SOM, and/or department/unit. Reference: Guide for Returning to the Workplace

What are the changes related to animal care, management, handling, housing, movement, etc.?

Additional requirements and expectations may apply based on the animal use category and/or location of use:

  • DLAR: If you house animals in the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) and/or perform animal activities in a DLAR location and have questions about their expectations and processes please contact: DLARCOVID19@dm.duke.edu.
     
  • Laboratory:
    • If animals will be transported to a laboratory space for an animal activity (not housing).
       

      • Ensure you follow all social distancing and personal protection requirements that have been established by the State, County, University, SOM, and/or department/unit. Reference: Guide for Returning to the Workplace.
         
      • Ensure you follow all current and/or previously established entry/exit requirements established by DLAR.
         
      • Ensure animals are transported in accordance with the IACUC approved protocol. If you need to alter the path and must go through any patient care areas you will need to get additional approval by the IACUC and Transport Subcommittee prior to initiation of this modification.
         
    • If you have IACUC approved PI-managed housing.
       

      • Ensure you follow all social distancing and personal protection requirements that have been established by the State, County, University, SOM, and/or department/unit. Reference: Guide for Returning to the Workplace.
         
      • There have been no changes to the expectations for animal care during this pandemic response. You are expected to continue the care and support of animals under your care in this location. If you cannot provide care as outlined in your SOP on care of animals in your PI‐managed housing area, notify DLAR immediately to determine how they may be able to assist in a disaster response (919‐970‐7272).
         
      • If you paused PI-managed housing during the pandemic response; however, plan to re-establish this type of housing for research needs and some/all of your PI-managed housing animal support materials (e.g., food, caging, sanitation, sentinel monitoring, etc.) were provided by DLAR, please ensure DLAR can meet any increased need prior to re-establishing PI-managed housing by contacting DLARCOVID19@dm.duke.edu.    
         
  • Duke Lemur Center: If you perform research at the Duke Lemur Center: Contact Erin Ehmke (erin.ehmke@duke.edu) if you have questions.
     
  • Non-Duke location: If you perform research at a field location and/or Duke funded/supported research at a collaborating institution: Contact OAWA at IACUC@Duke.edu or 919-668-6720 if you have questions.

Am I still required to submit all of my IACUC documents during the COVID-19 response? Will the IACUC still be reviewing and approving documents?

Yes. We plan to utilize all flexibilities afforded by the regulations and guidelines that govern animal use in research teaching and testing. Some will be implemented as part of our pandemic response plan and some can be granted upon request. However, we still need to ensure that we maintain those processes that are essential in meeting our regulatory obligations. If you have a critical need or will be delayed in an IACUC action due to the COVID-19 response please let us know and we will explore if there is an alternative available.

Is the IACUC still requiring completion of IACUC required training and occupational health items during the COVID-19 response?

All of the required IACUC training for protocol personnel can be performed remotely. We will still require completion of this training if OAWA processes require a validation (e.g., new protocol, personnel amendment, etc.). Most of the Duke Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW) actives can be performed remotely and EOHW is still available to complete any in-person clearances (e.g., annual PPD). Waivers will no longer be provided for annual PPD requirements, if you have a special circumstance that may require a waiver please contact OAWA. 

Is the IACUC still conducting Semiannual IACUC Facility Inspections?

All pending semiannual animal facility inspections for the spring cycle have been temporarily paused and will resume once it is deemed safe and appropriate. The IACUC may begin to perform virtual inspections and you may be contacted to schedule a virtual semiannual facility inspection. If a facility inspection has already been performed in your animal use location, you may receive communications related to the findings. If a response or action is required and you cannot perform the activity due to the COVID-19 response please let us know. This includes delaying correction of deficiencies because you cannot go on-site. In other words, do not go on-site to correct a facility inspection deficiency unless it is essential to the animals’ well-being.

Is IACUC approval required for animal activities that are directly related to the research wind-down, return-to-work, or any other modifications related to the COVID-19 response?

If you have been provided guidance from a clinical veterinarian about an animal procedure that may differ from your IACUC approved protocol, you can follow the guidance without IACUC approval. This is part of established veterinary consultation and authority practices. Please ensure that the guidance came from a clinical veterinarian and/or a designee of the Attending Veterinarian. Any protocol deviations and/or modifications that were not approved under veterinary authority must be approved by the Duke IACUC via a protocol amendment prior to implementation of the change, regardless of the reason for the proposed change. If you have an urgent need please contact OAWA.