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Labs scramble to protect research

Institutions across the world are rising to the challenge of preserving their research on the Covid-19 crisis, as labs shutdown and resources are redirected.

Some researchers have been able to care for animal in their facilities, others have taken animals home or released wild-caught specimens, and in many cases, animals have been euthanised as reported in Science.

However, Giuliano Grignaschi, animal welfare manager at EARA member, the University of Milan, told Nature that the university had not had to euthanise any animals, and staff were observing strict social distancing rules.

The science, he said, was too important to pause for long. “There are so many patients with other kinds of problems that are still waiting for the cure.”

Nature also reported that the Jackson Laboratory, a non-profit biomedical research institute based in Bar Harbor, Maine, that creates custom mouse strains, has received increased requests to freeze mouse sperm or embryos so that specific lines can be rebuilt later.

EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “Those opposed to animal research are using the Covid-19 pandemic to spread scare stories about the mass killing of research animals.
“Actually, most research laboratories have contingency and disaster plans in place do deal with emergencies, but the scale of this emergency will test even the best plans.”


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