Notice Number: NOT-OD-20-088
Release Date: March 16, 2020
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
The NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) is deeply concerned about the impact of the expanding outbreak of the respiratory illness, COVID-19, on the ability of Assured institutions to support the well-being of animals and personnel during this public health emergency.
The purpose of this Notice is to inform institutions of flexibilities provided in the Public Health Service (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. The PHS Policy also contains provisions that can be instituted as social distancing measures to prevent the spread of disease.
Institutions may implement the following measures:
Conduct of Semiannual Facility Inspections
IACUCs may consider the following flexibilities in the conduct of semiannual animal facility inspections:
OLAW may temporarily waive specific IACUC functions in accordance with PHS Policy Section V.D. Assured institutions that are unable to inspect, at least once every six months (plus 30 days), all of the institution’s animal facilities (including satellite facilities) may request a waiver from OLAW. Authorized institutional representatives may request a waiver of the inspection requirement or other provisions of the PHS Policy by submitting a request with justification to OLAW at firstname.lastname@example.org. The waiver will be reviewed and approved in writing by OLAW.
Conduct of IACUC Meetings
IACUCs may institute the following as social distancing measures to prevent the spread of disease:
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. OLAW is the only entity authorized to make determinations regarding waivers to provisions of the PHS Policy.
For up-to-date information and on how to prepare for COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.
Please direct all inquiries to:
Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare