Updated: March 23, 2020 3:00 p.m.
Villanova University is currently experiencing an unprecedented series of events in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. The University and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) are heeding the guidance of local, state and national leadership to reduce the spread of the virus.
This document is to provide the University’s research community with information regarding the review and conduct of research involving animals. As was communicated on March 23 in the briefing from the Office of the President, Villanova’s campus will remain closed to the public for the remainder of the semester and adjustments will need to be made to research and other activities. This has had an obvious impact on research with animals; however, with the assistance of the Office of Research Protections (ORP), the IACUC will remain operational during this time of social distancing.
- Animal care staff will be maintaining health and welfare of current animal populations. Please contact your department chairperson as soon as possible to develop emergency and contingency plans for critical animal populations that will remain on campus.
- Consideration should be made of what populations must be maintained to enable limited staff to provide the highest level of care for remaining populations; these decisions are at the discretion of PIs and chairpersons. Please contact ORP for assistance with animal populations that your team determines do not need to be maintained on campus at this time.
- No new animal work should be initiated, and no new animals should be procured. Breeding should be limited to only non-commercially available animals and only when absolutely necessary to maintain research.
- The Office of Research Protections (ORP) is fully operational and will continue to support the research community remotely. This team can provide feedback to PIs who may need to modify approved IACUC protocols to reflect updated approaches.
- Any personnel who must be on campus for the care of critical animal populations should practice social distancing and hygiene consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance. Please work with your departments to develop appropriate work schedules and other protocols.
These changes will be in place until further notice. The IACUC will adjust this guidance and post changes on the website. For up-to-date University information, please see Villanova’s COVID-19 website. For guidance on best health safety practices, consult the resources available at the federal, state and local levels such as the CDC or the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Given these extreme and unusual circumstances, if modifications/amendments need to be made to your IACUC protocol to account for the steps/measures that will be taken to preserve your research (e.g., early termination, change in animal termination means, change in tissue collection, etc.), please submit the modifications to the IACUC Office by email.
**IMPORTANT** Please do not include other changes to your protocol(s) using this method.