OLAW News

Public comments, the AVMA’s associated responses, and a webinar regarding the 2020 AVMA Euthanasia Guidelines are now available on the OLAW website

The PHS Policy requires that methods of euthanasia of animals be consistent with the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Panel on Euthanasia unless a deviation is justified for scientific reasons in writing by the investigator.

The AVMA released Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition on January 17, 2020. In response, OLAW invited the public to share their concerns with the updated Euthanasia Guidelines through a Request for Information (NOT-OD-20-069).

OLAW received eight comments which were shared with the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. The AVMA responded in writing to the public’s concerns. Both documents can now be found on:

OLAW’s guidance regarding the 2020 Euthanasia Guidelines update can be found in NOT-OD-20-132 and NOT-OD-20-143. OLAW expects institutions to fully implement the new AVMA euthanasia guidelines after October 1, 2020.

If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at olaw@mail.nih.gov.



Request for Information (RFI) on Encouraging AAALAC International-Accredited Institutions to Use Sections of the AAALAC International Program Description in the OLAW Animal Welfare Assurance

The 21st Century Cures Act final report published by the NIH, USDA, and FDA, identified encouraging AAALAC International-accredited institutions to use sections of the AAALAC Program Description (PD) to complete the OLAW Animal Welfare Assurance as an area to reduce administrative burden. To that end, a new Request for Information (RFI), NOT-OD-20-169 is now available. In this RFI, we are seeking input on how completing your Animal Welfare Assurance using information developed for the AAALAC PD would affect your institution’s administrative burden.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an extended comment period of 90 days. All comments must be submitted on or before November 28, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST, and must be submitted electronically on the RFI webpage.

The NIH will develop guidance to establish and clarify flexibilities of using sections of the AAALAC PD in Assurances while fulfilling the purposes of the 21st Century Cures Act.



New sessions available for ICARE Dialogues
Due to high demand, the ICARE Project has developed and invites you to join us for additional sessions of the ICARE Dialogues: Optimizing Animal Care and Use Program Success in a Changing Environment (ICARE Dialogues).

ICARE Dialogues is offered at no charge. Each session addresses specific topics, as described below. Participants may register for one, two, or all three sessions. Although free, attendance is required of registered participants (see the registration page for details). The program format is dialogue between and among participants and ICARE faculty, including federal partners. The program will provide institutional animal care and use program personnel the opportunity to discuss:

Date and Time ICARE Dialogues Topic
Wednesday
September 2, 2020
1 - 4 PM EDT
  • Using Flexibility Provided in the PHS Policy and AWAR
  • Integrating COVID Restrictions into Existing Policies and Programs
Thursday
September 10, 2020
1 - 3:30 PM EDT
  • Impact of Diversity, Inclusivity, and Race Relations on Animal Care and Use Programs and Personnel
Wednesday
September 16, 2020
1 - 4 PM EDT
  • Optimizing Performance During a Pandemic Crisis: Animal Welfare
  • Optimizing Performance During a Pandemic Crisis: Managing Teams Across Multiple Locations

 

Registration: IACUC members and institutional personnel involved in animal care and use programs (veterinarians, compliance, PAM, trainers, investigators, administrators) may register to participate in ICARE Dialogues here. Registration is free and limited to 30 participants per session. If more than 30 people register, ICARE will maintain a waitlist.

The animal care and use community is encouraged to submit questions, challenges, solutions, and ideas to ICARE.SERO@gmail.com to influence the topics addressed in ICARE Dialogues. If warranted by community interest, repeat of the initial topics and/or presentation of additional topics will be offered. 

The ICARE Project is an interagency initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).



Visit the Guidance section on OLAW’s website for updated Commentary on Lab Animal Protocol Review columns. In the September 2020 issue, OLAW responds to the topic: Does a problem involving a pet cat require a report to regulators? Download the column here: Lab Animal 2020; Vol 49(9) (PDF).

To further explore this and other topics, browse the OLAW Topic Index. For additional information, visit OLAW.



Request for Information (RFI) on Clarification of Institutional Responsibilities Regarding Grant to Protocol Congruency
The 21st Century Cures Act final report published by NIH, USDA, and FDA, identified grant to protocol congruency as an area to reduce administrative burden. To that end, a new Request for Information (RFI) on Clarification of Institutional Responsibilities Regarding Grant to Protocol Congruency (NOT-OD-20-153) is now available. In this RFI, we are seeking input on how to clarify the NIH expectations and flexibilities of grant to protocol congruency.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an extended comment period of 90 days. All comments must be submitted on or before October 29, 2020 at 11:59 PM EDT, and must be submitted electronically on the RFI webpage.

The NIH will develop guidance to clarify requirements and flexibilities of grant to protocol congruency while fulfilling the purposes of the Act.



Visit our COVID-19 page to see new and updated FAQs, including:

  • During the pandemic, how may the IACUC expedite the three-year complete review of a currently approved protocol that is due to expire and still meet the PHS Policy requirements?
  • May email responses from each IACUC member be used instead of digital or scanned signatures for the semiannual report to the Institutional Official?
  • What flexibilities may IACUCS use to streamline approval of requests for an increase in previously approved animal numbers because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Also, note that that many of the flexibilities provided in NOT-OD-20-086 have now expired. Recipients may rebudget funds to accommodate unanticipated costs without prior approval when rebudgeting does not constitute a change in scope and is not restricted by the terms and conditions of award (see NIH GPS 8.1).



What happens with your research animals after your research is completed? Does your institution have a policy on adoption? We’ve updated FAQ F.11 and support institutions considering adoption where safe and appropriate. Visit the FAQ for all the details.

Pictures of common laboratory animals in residential settings.

If your institution doesn’t currently have a policy, but you’re interested in exploring this option, watch our webinar, The 4th R: Rehoming, Retirement and Release. It provides information to assist you when exploring whether to implement a program, including considerations to include in study designs, how to identify criteria for suitable animals, and some challenges and lessons learned.

 



Visit the Guidance section on OLAW’s website for updated Commentary on Lab Animal Protocol Review columns. In the August 2020 issue, OLAW responds to the topic: Algae in abundance: au natural, or a violation of Xenopus husbandry standards? Download the column here: Lab Animal 2020; Vol 49(8) (PDF).

To further explore this and other topics, browse the OLAW Topic Index. For additional information, visit OLAW.



New Vertebrate Animals Section (VAS) Online Training Module
We are pleased to announce the development and availability of an online training module on the Vertebrate Animals Section (VAS) in grant applications.

Definition of the VAS and a picture of a sea turtle

A completed VAS is required for PHS-supported research using live vertebrate animals. In 2016, the VAS was simplified from five to three required criteria. Do you, as an investigator or a reviewer, know what’s currently required and what’s no longer required?

We want to assist investigators and reviewers in recognizing both the required components of the VAS and the components that are no longer required, with the goals of:

  • increasing the number of applications deemed acceptable
  • reducing time spent submitting and reviewing extraneous information

 This interactive module can be completed in 20 – 30 minutes and includes:

  • an overview of the requirements
  • a checklist for applicants and reviewers
  • detailed instructions

For more information, visit the OLAW website on the VAS.



Request for Information (RFI) on Flexibilities Available for Conducting Semiannual Facility Inspections

The 21st Century Cures Act final report published by NIH, USDA, and FDA, identified semiannual facility inspections as an area to reduce administrative burden. To that end, a new Request for Information (RFI) on Flexibilities for Conducting Semiannual Animal Facility Inspections (NOT-OD-20-145) is now available. In this RFI, 10 existing flexibilities that may reduce the administrative burden associated with semiannual facility inspections have been highlighted and clarified. The USDA has reviewed and agrees with these flexibilities. OLAW is seeking public input on how these flexibilities may affect the administrative burden on animal care and use programs.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an extended comment period of 90 days. All comments must be submitted on or before October 22, 2020 at 11:59 PM EDT, and must be submitted electronically on the RFI webpage.

The NIH will develop guidance to address existing flexibilities while fulfilling the purposes of the Act.



The OLAW quarterly webinar on September 10, 2020, will be prerecorded and no registration is required.

Due to software licensing restrictions for the number of registrants allowed to attend live webinar events, OLAW’s quarterly webinar titled “Update on the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition, featuring Drs. Samuel Cartner and Axel Wolff, will be prerecorded and released on September 10, 2020. Therefore, no registration is required.

In this webinar, we’ll review updates to the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer . This webinar will include a brief background of the Guidelines and will focus on changes in the recommendations for the methods unique to the laboratory animal research environment.

If you have any questions for Drs. Cartner or Wolff, please submit them to olawdpe@mail.nih.gov before August 25, 2020.  



New, free, online program offered by the ICARE Project
The ICARE (Interagency Collaborative Animal Research Education) Project invites you to join us in ICARE Dialogues: Optimizing Animal Care and Use Program Success in a Changing Environment (ICARE Dialogues).

ICARE Dialogues will be offered at no charge. Each session of the three-part pilot will address specific topics, as described below. Participants may register for one, two, or all three 2-hour sessions. Although free, attendance is required of registered participants (see the registration page Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer for details). The program format is dialogue between and among participants and ICARE faculty, including federal partners. The program will provide institutional animal care and use program personnel the opportunity to discuss:

Time: 1 – 3 PM Eastern (12 – 2 PM Central; 11 AM – 1 PM Mountain; 10 AM – 12 PM Pacific)

Date

ICARE Dialogues Topics

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

  • Using Flexibility Provided in the PHS Policy and AWAR
  • Optimizing Animal Welfare During the Pandemic Crisis

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

  • Impact of Diversity, Inclusivity, and Race Relations on ACUPs and Personnel

Thursday, August 20, 2020

  • Integrating Covid-19 Restrictions into Existing Policies and Programs
  • Managing Teams Across Multiple Locations

 

Registration: IACUC members and institutional personnel involved in animal care and use programs (veterinarians, compliance, PAM, trainers, investigators, administrators) may register to participate in ICARE Dialogues here Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer. Registration is free and limited to 25 participants per session. If more than 25 people register, ICARE will maintain a waitlist. More session(s) will be offered if demand is sufficient.

The animal care and use community is encouraged to submit questions, challenges, solutions, and ideas to ICARE.SERO@gmail.com to influence the topics addressed in ICARE Dialogues. If warranted by community interest, repeat of the initial topics and/or presentation of additional topics will be offered. 

The ICARE Project is an interagency initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).



Grants and contract submission requirements regarding animal euthanasia
A new Guide Notice, Grant and Contract Submission Requirements Regarding the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition (NOT-OD-20-143) was published on July 13, 2020. After October 1, 2020, grant applications and contract proposals must be consistent with the 2020 GuidelinesLink to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer Grant applicants must continue to follow application form instructions in the  How to Apply – Application Guide.



Visit the Guidance section on OLAW’s website for updated Commentary on Lab Animal Protocol Review columns. In the July 2020 issue, OLAW and APHIS respond to the topic: Confidentiality & conflict: can one member serve two IACUCs? Download the column here: Lab Animal 2020; Vol 49(7) (PDF).

To further explore this and other topics, browse the OLAW Topic Index. For additional information, visit OLAW.



Public comments on 2020 AVMA euthanasia Guidelines
A new NIH Guide Notice, Public Comments on Implementation of the Updated AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition (NOT-OD-20-132) was published on June 30, 2020. The NIH received eight comments from the public on their concerns regarding the updated Guidelines during the open comment period. These comments have been shared with the AVMA.

OLAW encourages Assured institutions to begin using the 2020 Guidelines Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer when reviewing research projects as soon as possible and expects full implementation after October 1, 2020. Previously approved projects undergoing continuing review according to PHS Policy IV.C.5., which requires a complete review at least once every three years, must be reviewed using the 2020 Guidelines after October 1, 2020.

 



NEW OLAW Webinar now available: Update to the Reporting Period of the Annual Report to OLAW
As we begin to implement 21st Century Cures Act action items, we’re committed to communicating with you, helping you transition to new processes or dates, and answering your questions. In this webinar, we discuss a change in the annual reporting period of the Annual Report to OLAW. This reporting period update was a recommendation of the 21st Century Cures Act Working Group and harmonizes the annual reporting period with that of USDA as an effort to reduce the administrative burden on institutions.

In this webinar, we discuss important dates, what to report, and what not to report. We also answer commonly asked questions regarding the update like what to do if your institution has just one semiannual inspection to report, and should you change your semiannual inspection dates to be able to report two inspections by September 30, 2020.

We also discuss 2020-specific reporting criteria, like what to do if you have temporary or permanent program changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, if you were approved for a semiannual inspection waiver, and if your institution receives NASA funding.

All these answers and more can be found in this 28-minute webinar. As always, if you have additional questions regarding the 2020 Annual Report to OLAW, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at olawdoa@mail.nih.gov.



NEW OLAW Webinar now available
Check out our newest OLAW Webinar for an engaging discussion with 11-time Emmy-nominated director, producer, and author, Paul McKellips. Paul is currently the Strategic Communications Director for the US Army. In this webinar, Paul presents some of the strategic challenges we face and solutions we can implement when discussing animals in biomedical research. He examines the importance of local messaging, engaging with audiences and stakeholders, and micro-messaging, and with each topic, presents relevant and engaging examples. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about effectively communicating the roles that animals play in biomedical research. 



June’s Lab Animal Commentary on whistleblowers is now available.
Visit the Guidance section on the OLAW website for updated Commentary on Lab Animal Protocol Review columns. In the June 2020 issue, OLAW responds to the topic: What’s in store for a whistleblower? Download the column here: Lab Animal 2020; Vol 49. (PDF)

To further explore this and other topics, browse the OLAW Topic Index. For additional information, visit OLAW.



The OLAW quarterly webinar on June 11, 2020, will be prerecorded and no registration is required.
Due to software licensing restrictions for the number of registrants allowed to attend live webinar events, OLAW’s quarterly webinar titled “Animal Research and Public Support: A 2020 Vision for Strategic Communications and Micro-Messaging” featuring Paul McKellips, will be prerecorded and released on June 11th, 2020. Therefore, no registration is required.

In this webinar, Paul McKellips discusses the importance of targeting communications efforts, identifying local users, and effectively using micro-messaging to discuss the importance of animals in biomedical research.



Earn 9 RACE credits by attending the 3Rs Symposium!
Are you a veterinary medical professional struggling to find RACE credits during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The 7th Annual 3Rs Symposium: Practical Solutions and Success Stories, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternative to Animal Testing (JHU CAAT), NIH OLAW, and USDA AWIC has been approved to offer 9 American Association of Veterinary State Boards RACE credits for the event! The virtual symposium takes place next week, June 4 – 5, so learn more and register here Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer soon!  



OLAW is pleased to announce the implementation of a 21st Century Cures Act action item, harmonization of the annual reporting period for OLAW and USDA. The 21st Century Cures Act directed the NIH, USDA, and FDA to review and revise regulations and policies related to laboratory animals to reduce administrative burden on investigators. Harmonizing the reporting period for the Annual Reports to OLAW and USDA was recommended as an action item by the Working Group in the final report based on stakeholder input. NOT-OD-20-109 announces that OLAW is changing their reporting period to harmonize with USDA. In 2020, the reporting period for the Annual Report to OLAW will be January 1 to September 30 (a partial year), and the report will be due to OLAW on or before December 1, 2020. In 2021 and beyond, the reporting period will coincide with the federal fiscal year, October 1 – September 30, and the report will be due by December 1. For more information, check out our new Annual Reporting webpage, complete with new resources.



Responsible Science and Research Animal Use
ILAR Journal, Volume 60, Issue 1, 2019

This issue Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer of the ILAR Journal focuses on the topic of responsible science as it relates to animal research. It starts with the concept of the scientist as a responsible citizen and then moves through multiple phases of research including careful experimental planning, reporting, and incorporation of laboratory animal science. The work of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or animal ethical/oversight body in reviewing both animal use and contributing to scientific excellence is explored. Additional topics include the protection of animal handlers from multiple experimental hazards, the use of agricultural animals and wildlife studies, regulatory ambiguities, and harmonization of animal research. Rounding out the issue is a discussion of how animal care and use programs can enhance animal welfare while mitigating regulatory burden, and our responsibility to clearly communicate the ethical use of animals in advancing biomedical research. A deeper understanding of these topics can assist scientists in simultaneously advancing their research and animal welfare.

 



New MOU between NIH and NASA

NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-095 announces a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NIH and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Both agencies share a mutual concern and interest in animal welfare and are committed to maintaining standards of care for animals used in research and testing. This agreement provides for coordination and harmonization of agency efforts to ensure appropriate laboratory animal care and welfare. The new MOU is available at NIH-NASA MOU.



7th Annual Symposium: 3Rs: Practical Solutions and Success Stories
Presented by NIH OLAW, Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and USDA AWIC
June 4-5, 2020

Like so many of you, we are changing and adapting to our current situation, and are excited to announce that we will now offer the 3Rs Symposium, Practical Solutions and Success Stories, virtually! Learn more and register hereLink to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer 

The 3Rs Symposium is a collaborative event hosted by NIH OLAW, Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) that will be held virtually June 4 – 5, 2020. Now 60 years after the release of Russell and Burch’s 1959 book, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique, which reframed and revolutionized the way we use animals in research, we have come together to offer a lineup of internationally recognized experts in the 3Rs.

For two full days, we’ll discuss the importance of scientific research for human and animal health, recent success stories in the 3Rs, hot topics from experimental design to publishing, and ground-breaking refinements to traditional animal use in research. Participants are encouraged to share challenges they are facing at their institutions, and virtual break-out sessions will allow participants to interact directly with speakers. We’ll provide hands-on training in the new Experimental Design Assistant, developed to help you design robust and reproducible experiments, leading to fewer numbers of animals needed in your research.

Registration has been reduced to $50, with further reduced registration for federal workers, postdocs, and students. We hope to offer RACE credits for online participation as we have in the past (check back for confirmation). Register, see the agenda, and view a full list of speakers, bios, and abstracts hereLink to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer 

Come learn about how MiniBrain organoids, animal behavioral training, and hydrophobic sand, among many other topics, are changing the way we use animals in research!



NEW OLAW Webinar Now Available
COVID-19 Pandemic Response Resources and FAQs for Animal Care and Use Programs

On April 8, 2020, OLAW prerecorded a webinar titled “COVID-19 Pandemic Response Resources and FAQs for Animal Care and Use Programs” featuring Drs. Patricia Brown (OLAW) and Robert Gibbens (USDA).

In this webinar, OLAW and USDA discuss important agency updates since our last webinar (March 19, 2020), including:

  • NIH Guidance on allowable costs for moving animals to holding protocols
  • NIH Guidance on donating personal protective equipment to support COVID-19 relief efforts
  • USDA facility status and inspections
  • USDA contact information
  • USDA statement on Essential Employees

We also have detailed discussions of:

  • What does and does not require an OLAW waiver
  • OLAW and USDA flexibilities to continue conducting semiannual inspections and IACUC business
  • Similarities and differences in OLAW and USDA flexibilities and regulations
  • Timing of future semiannual inspections
  • How to extend protocols due to expire

And much more. Many of these topics clarify and extend beyond the information available in our FAQs, and benefit from the valuable input of our USDA colleague.

As always, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation carefully, but you can always reach us at olaw@od.nih.gov with additional questions.



New OLAW COVID-19 Pandemic Contingency Planning Webpage

We know you’re looking for answers on how to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining personnel and animal health and well-being, and remaining compliant with the PHS Policy, the Guide, and your OLAW Assurance. And we know you need answers now, all in one place.

We have just released our new OLAW COVID-19 Pandemic Contingency Planning webpage. Here you can find answers to commonly asked questions relating to animal care and use programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, including how to conduct semiannual inspections, program reviews, and IACUC business while maintaining social distancing, and what new charges to your grant are acceptable to ensure animal well-being during the pandemic. We’ve also listed relevant websites, example disaster plans, OLAW guidance, and webinars.

This page is dedicated specifically to COVID-19. We have another, more general page on Disaster Planning and Response Resources, but you’ll find only information specific to pandemics and COVID-19 on the new website. As the COVID-19 situation develops, we’ll post new information and guidance here.

In the meantime, you can always contact us at OLAW@od.nih.gov with questions. You can also subscribe to get the latest updates and guidance delivered directly to your email box by subscribing to our Listserv or follow us on Twitter. The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly developing situation but rest assured that we are monitoring the situation very carefully and will be updating guidance as the situation changes.



FASEB Webinar: Animal Research Regulations – Understanding Federal Oversight Mechanisms
March 26, 2020 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT

Register HereLink to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer 

Biomedical research with animals is guided by a complex set of federal laws and guidelines and understanding how this research is regulated is critical for ensuring proper care and use of laboratory animals. During this webinar, OLAW will join representatives from USDA APHIS Animal Care and the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide an overview of the federal laws that protect laboratory animals, including the Animal Welfare Act and Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Participants will also discuss the mechanisms by which federal agencies implement and enforce these regulations. Together, these oversight mechanisms enable researchers to continue expanding scientific knowledge while upholding quality animal care.



NOW POSTED: OLAW Webinar on Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care

OLAW’s webinar, Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care, is now available online at:

https://olaw.nih.gov/education/educational-resources/webinar-2020-03-19.htm.

You’ll also find Resources and Supporting Materials including:

  • NIH Division of Veterinary Resources Continuity of Services Plans
  • Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Phased Contingency Plan
  • Michigan State University’s Sample Policy for Conducting IACUC Business in the Event of a Pandemic
  • NIH 2008 Pandemic Flu Readiness Plan
  • Slide Handouts
  • Slides, with helpful links

We received many questions prior to the webinar and were unable to address them all within the webinar. We are working diligently to develop answers and will amend them to the end of the transcript. We will post the transcript online as soon as possible.

During these uncharted times, OLAW remains committed to working with our community to maintain human and animal health and well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly developing situation. Rest assured that OLAW is monitoring the situation closely. We will continue to issue updated guidance if the situation becomes sufficiently severe and long-lasting that additional guidance is needed.



Flexibilities for Assured Institutions for Activities of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) due to COVID-19

The NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) is deeply concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability of Assured institutions to support the well-being of animals and personnel during this public health emergency. In Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-088, we provide information on flexibilities in the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Policy) that are applicable to implementing a pandemic plan for animal care and use programs. In this Notice, you will find measures that institutions may implement for conducting semiannual animal facility inspections and IACUC business, plus how to request a waiver for requirements of the PHS Policy.

Additional guidance for preparing for a pandemic can be found on the OLAW website in the Frequently Asked Questions section, under Institutional Responsibilities, FAQ G9. If OLAW determines that additional measures must be implemented to meet the needs of the research community and funding components, additional guidance will be announced.

For more information, see the NIH Extramural COVID-19 Response webpage.



UPDATE: OLAW Webinar on Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care

Speaker and Enrollment Update
March 19, 2020 | 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

OLAW is providing the following update to its previous News Flash which announced a special webinar, Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care, to be held March 19, 2020, from 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST. In addition to Drs. Patricia Brown and Brent Morse (OLAW), Dr. Robert M. Gibbens, Acting Associate Deputy Director of USDA, APHIS, Animal Care will now be joining our conversation.

Please remember to submit questions in advance to olawdpe@mail.nih.gov. We will accept questions for both NIH and USDA panelists.

In addition, to accommodate social distancing measures, we are removing the restriction of one connection per location per institution. Those already enrolled in the OLAW Online Seminar series should have received the registration information. Program enrollees may share the link to register with key personnel as appropriate. Our broadcast capacity is limited to 1,000 registrants and we encourage registering early to save a seat.

We are recording the webinar for those not able to attend the live broadcast. It will be posted here as soon as possible after the webinar. 



Special OLAW Webinar: Pandemic Contingency Planning and Its Impact on Animal Care
March 19, 2020 | 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

Speakers

  • Dr. Patricia Brown, Director, NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW)
  • Dr. Brent Morse, Director, Division of Compliance Oversight, OLAW

Are you testing or implementing your institution’s pandemic response plan for the first time? Do you have questions about flexibilities provided by the PHS Policy that may be helpful during a pandemic?

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. Join us for this special webinar to learn about how your institution can prepare for a pandemic that may impact your animal care and use program. We’ll discuss 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. We will also accept questions on the particular challenges your institution is facing during these uncertain times.

If you’re able, please submit your questions in advance to olawdpe@od.nih.gov

How to Enroll
A one-time enrollment is required to participate in the program. Enrollees receive registration information prior to each event. Find out how to enroll at https://olaw.nih.gov/education/online-seminars.htm.

About OLAW Webinars
The OLAW Online Seminars program is a free webinar series to help IACUCs and IOs explore their responsibilities in the oversight of PHS-funded research that involves the use of live vertebrate animals.

For recordings of past webinars, visit the Webinars and Podcasts webpage.



Preparing for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak

OLAW reminds grantee institutions that the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals requires PHS Assured institutions to have “a disaster plan that takes into account both personnel and animals.” Guidance for preparing for a pandemic can be found on the OLAW website in the Frequently Asked Questions section, under Institutional Responsibilities, FAQ G9.

See also OLAW’s Disaster Planning and Response Resources webpage to find resources for developing plans to prepare for and respond to disasters and public health emergencies that may impact animal care and use programs.

For specific information about COVID-19 and situation updates, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus.



ICARE Academy: Refining IACUC Function (IA Refining)
Training for U.S. IACUC members and animal program personnel
April 28-30, 2020 | Denver, CO

Register Early & Save! Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer

What is ICARE
The Interagency Collaborative Animal Research Education (ICARE) Project is an initiative of NIH OLAW, USDA APHIS, FDA, BARDA, NSF, and VA that aims to help institutions reduce administrative burden, increase IACUC function, and increase compliance with federal regulations related to animal use in research.

IA Refining is a fast-paced 3-day workshop that provides participants with an understanding of animal welfare oversight concepts, enables them to correct misunderstandings of federal standards, and learn methods for more efficient and effective animal programs and IACUC functioning. Click here Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer  to see the full agenda (subject to change).

Workshop Format
Expanding beyond typical lectures, ICARE uses active learning and scientific teaching by facilitating discussions, solving scenarios, and helping attendees brainstorm solutions to take back to their institutions. Each workshop is capped at 36 people, ensuring an ideal group size that fosters cooperative learning, interaction, and discussion. You will be trained by, and interact directly with, federal, academic, and private-sector faculty who are subject matter experts.

Who Should Attend
IA Refining is recommended for those IACUC and animal program personnel who are already familiar with federal animal welfare oversight standards. If you are new to the IACUC, check out the IA Intro 
Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer  workshop in St. Louis, MO, this September.

To learn more, view other training opportunities in this progressive series, and meet our ICARE Faculty, visit ICARE Project.
 



OLAW Webinar
Building A Research Occupational Health Program
March 12, 2020 | 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

Speakers

  • Ted Myatt, Sc.D., University of Rhode Island
  • Eileen Morgan, NIH, Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare

Topic
The requirement of a robust research-focused occupational health program can be a challenge for institutions of all sizes. In this webinar, Ted Myatt will talk about strategies to gain support of senior leadership, build a team, develop a sustainable program, and implement continual improvement processes to ensure that your program complies with the requirements described in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acids, and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standards. Eileen Morgan will give OLAW’s perspective on essential components of an effective occupational health and safety program.

How to Enroll
A one-time enrollment is required to participate in the program. Enrollees receive registration information prior to each event. Find out how to enroll at https://olaw.nih.gov/education/online-seminars.htm.

About OLAW Webinars
The OLAW Online Seminars program is a free webinar series to help IACUCs and IOs explore their responsibilities in the oversight of PHS-funded research that involves the use of live vertebrate animals.

For recordings of past webinars, visit the Webinars and Podcasts webpage.



Request for Information (RFI) on Implementation of the Updated AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition

NIH announced a Request for Information (RFI) in NOT-OD-20-069 to solicit input from the public on any concerns they may have with the updated American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition ("Guidelines") and provide guidance to Public Health Service (PHS) and National Science Foundation funded institutions on implementation of the updated Guidelines.

Additional information can be found at AVMA Guidelines 2020 

All comments must be submitted electronically by April 29, 2020, at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=105.



7th Annual Symposium: 3Rs: Practical Solutions and Success Stories
Presented by NIH OLAW, Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and USDA AWIC
June 4-5, 2020 | Beltsville, MD

NIH OLAW, Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center announce that registration is open Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer for the 7th Annual Symposium, 3Rs: Practical Solutions and Success Stories, being held June 4-5, 2020, in Beltsville, MD. Now 60 years after the release of Russell and Burch’s 1959 book, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique, which reframed and revolutionized the way we use animals in research, we have come together to offer a lineup of internationally recognized experts in the 3Rs. See the full list of speakers hereLink to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer 

For two full days, we’ll discuss the importance of scientific research for human and animal health, recent success stories in the 3Rs, hot topics from experimental design to publishing, and ground-breaking refinements to traditional animal use in research. Participants are encouraged to share challenges they are facing at their institutions, and break-out sessions will allow participants to interact directly with speakers. We’ll provide hands-on training in the new Experimental Design Assistant, developed to help you design robust and reproducible experiments, leading to fewer numbers of animals needed in your research.

This workshop has applied for RACE credits and offers reduced registration for federal workers, postdocs, and students. Come learn how MiniBrain organoids, animal behavioral training, and hydrophobic sand, among many other topics, are changing the way we use animals in research!

Register Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer early to participate in a special pre-symposium activity on June 3rd –a half-day tour of labs and research centers at the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research CenterLink to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer 



Commentary on Lab Animal Protocol Review Column: February Issue

Visit the Guidance section on the OLAW website for updated Commentary on Lab Animal Protocol Review columns. In the February 2020 issue, OLAW and APHIS respond to the topic: Is reproducibility an IACUC’s concern? Download the column here: Lab Animal 2020; Vol 49. (PDF)

To further explore this and other topics, browse the OLAW Topic Index. For additional information, visit OLAW.



The NIH is hosting two Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration in 2020. Meet and hear from NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) staff, along with approximately 75 other NIH & HHS experts at the seminar as they discuss over 45 different topics relative to the NIH grants process! We’ll be available to meet with you during the “1:1 Meet the Experts” sessions, so bring your questions and come see us.

Registration is already open for the spring Regional Seminar being held in Baltimore, MD, on April 20-22.

Can’t make it to Baltimore? Join us this fall in Nashville, TN, on October 28-30. Registration opening soon.

To find out more, check out the NIH Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration home page. We hope to see you at the Regional Seminars in 2020!



ICARE Academy: Introduction to IACUC Function (IA Intro)
Introductory Training for IACUC Members and Animal Program Personnel
March 2-3, 2020 | Durham, NC

Register Now and Save! Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer

What is ICARE
The Interagency Collaborative Animal Research Education (ICARE) Project is an initiative of NIH OLAW, USDA APHIS, FDA, BARDA, NSF, and VA that aims to help institutions reduce administrative burden, increase IACUC function, and increase compliance with federal regulations related to animal use in research.

About IA Intro
Join us at our upcoming workshop ICARE Academy: Introduction to IACUC Function (IA Intro) March 2-3, 2020 in Durham, NC.
Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer IA Intro is ideal for personnel who are new to the program, newly promoted, or who seek a review of the federal animal welfare oversight standards.

Workshop Format
Expanding beyond typical lectures, ICARE uses active learning and scientific teaching by facilitating discussions, solving scenarios, and helping attendees brainstorm solutions to take back to their institutions. Each workshop is capped at 36 people, ensuring an ideal group size that fosters cooperative learning, interaction, and discussion. You will be trained by, and interact directly with, federal, academic, and private sector faculty who are subject matter experts.

Learning Objectives
IA Intro is a comprehensive 2-day workshop that introduces participants to the regulations and guidelines of the U.S. federal agencies that oversee animal welfare at research institutions. A wide range of topics will be covered, from what to report, to veterinary verification and consultation (VVC), to site visits and inspections! Click here
Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer to see the full agenda (subject to change).

To learn more, view other training opportunities in this progressive series, and meet our ICARE Faculty, visit ICARE Project.



AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition
Notice of Intent to Seek Public Comments on Updated AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has issued and posted an update to the 2013 Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer. OLAW encourages PHS-Assured institutions to begin using the 2020 Guidelines when reviewing research projects as soon as possible. An announcement from OLAW seeking public comments on implementation of the updated Guidelines is coming soon.

 



NWABR IACUC Conference
Embracing the Future: IACUC Excellence in the Northwest
February 27, 2020 | Seattle, WA

The Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR) will hold its 2020 IACUC Conference on February 27, 2020, in Seattle, WA. This one-day conference for IACUC members, veterinarians, animal care staff, and researchers covers hot topics related to animal care and use, led by facilitators from around the U.S.

In conjunction with the University of Washington, NWABR will again host the Bridging the Gap tour of local animal care facilities and programs on February 28, 2020.

Learn more at the
NWABR IACUC Conference
Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer



Commentary on Lab Animal Protocol Review Column: January Issue

Visit the Guidance section on the OLAW website for updated Commentary on Lab Animal Protocol Review columns. In the January 2020 issue, OLAW and APHIS respond to the topic: If a researcher disagrees with a veterinarian’s recommendations, whose say goes? Download the column here: Lab Animal 2020; Vol 49. (PDF)

To further explore this and other topics, browse the OLAW Topic Index. For additional information, visit OLAW.



ICARE Academy: Refining IACUC Function (IA Refining)
Advanced Training for IACUC Members and Animal Program Personnel
January 14-16, 2020 | Tampa, FL

It’s not too late. Register today! Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer

There is still time to join us in sunny Tampa, FL, for the IA Refining workshop. Register now Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer and kick off the new year with advanced training for IACUC members and animal program personnel.

You will learn about IACUC and institutional responsibilities to optimize animal welfare, increase compliance, and minimize regulatory burden. A wide range of topics will be covered, from what to report, to veterinary verification and consultation (VVC), to site visits and inspections! 

Learn more and this and other ICARE workshops by visiting ICARE Project.

The Interagency Collaborative Animal Research Education (ICARE) Project is an initiative of the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Food and Drug Administration, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, National Science Foundation, and Department of Veterans Affairs.



Diversifying the Research Organism Landscape
A Free Webinar Presented by FASEB and NIH
January 21, 2020 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH NIGMS) are excited to offer a free webinar on January 21, 2020, on rare research organisms and why it is important to choose the appropriate animal model for each research question.

Scientists understand that quality, reproducible science depends on many factors, including using the best resources to answer scientific questions. However, an important question to consider when designing a research project: Are we leading with the scientific question first, or do we select the research organism we know and try to tailor the research according to the model’s characteristics? This webinar will explore these subtle, yet very distinct research approaches and experts will discuss the importance of selecting the appropriate organism for various research topics. To illustrate this point, participants will share examples from their research using lesser-known species, and discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with studying a variety of research organisms.

Learn more Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer and register here Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer. A recording of the webinar will be posted on the FASEB website when available.


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