Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care

Audience: The program is tailored to IACUC staff, IACUC members, IOs, veterinarians, investigators, compliance personnel, animal care staff and others involved in animal programs.

Speakers: Pat Brown, VMD, NIH, Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) and Robert Gibbens, DVM, USDA, APHIS, Animal Care

Topic: All PHS-assured institutions are required to develop disaster plans that account for both the well-being of animals and consideration of personnel during unexpected events that may compromise ongoing animal care. This includes contingency planning for pandemics such as the current outbreak of COVID-19. In this webinar, NIH OLAW and USDA, APHIS, Animal Care discuss how your institution can prepare for a pandemic that may impact your animal care and use program. This includes flexibilities provided by the PHS Policy which facilitate social distancing, the importance of cross-training to minimize the number of animal care staff at work, and options your institution may wish to consider that it does not use in the normal operation of its animal care and use program. 


  • Frequency of IACUC Meetings: The Guide states that "The committee must meet as often as necessary to fulfill its responsibiities..." However, OLAW strongly recommends that IACUCs meet at least once every six months in order to effectively carry out their functions and ensure compliance with the PHS Policy.

  • USDA Updates: (March 2024) USDA has provided updates to semiannual inspection requirements for USDA-covered species. Updates can be found in NOT-OD-24-075 and NOT-OD-24-076, which are available on the OLAW website at


  • NOT-OD-20-088: Flexibilities for Assured Institutions for Activities of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) Due to COVID-19.
  • NOT-OD-06-052: Guidance on Use of Telecommunications for IACUC Meetings under the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
  • OLAW FAQ G9: How can institutions and their IACUCs best prepare for a pandemic?

Note: COVID-19 specific text no longer represents current NIH policy. Pandemic information in place prior to the end of the public health emergency is for historical purposes only. Please refer to current guidance and FAQs on disaster preparedness and emergencies.

While this information was accurate at the time presented, policies and procedures change over time. Past webinars may not contain the most current guidance. Please note, do not rely on webinars and associated materials as definitive compliance guidance for your specific situation. For compliance questions, please contact OLAW directly.

Supporting Materials

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This page last updated on: Apr 22, 2024
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