The BRL is equipped to perform research on a wide range of animals, such as mice (including humanized mouse models), rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and nonhuman primates. The BRL’s professional animal care personnel can provide routine husbandry, as well as technical support for projects involving surgery or requiring ABSL-3 containment and involving work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and CDC select agents. Animal care management is American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) board certified, and staff members are American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)-certified. Personnel are trained in all aspects of biocontainment safety practices and procedures and can perform animal work for infectious disease research ranging from weights and daily observations to infections, blood and tissue collection, and full necropsy. The entire BRL facility was designed to support research on infectious agents in animal models and thus includes extensive animal research capabilities at both the ABSL-2 and ABSL-3 safety levels. Specific features include
• A total facility capacity of 10,500 mice, 900 rats, 280 rabbits/ferrets, or 100 nonhuman primates under ABSL-3 containment
• Four dedicated ABSL-3 animal holding suites with an anteroom, animal holding room, and animal procedure room
• A dedicated sterile surgery suite
• Monitoring of animal physiological functions using implantable telemetry with remote monitoring
• Class II Type A2 biosafety cabinets in all animal holding and procedure rooms.
Many common and dangerous diseases, such as influenza and tuberculosis, are spread through the air. Moreover, biodefense experts believe the greatest bioterrorism threat comes from bacteria, viruses, or toxins that can be aerosolized and inhaled by victims. For these reasons, a key capability of the BRL is its aerobiology facilities, used to develop and test lifesaving treatments for diseases caused by exposure to airborne biological agents. The heart of the ABSL-3 is a centralized aerobiology suite that contains a 10-foot stainless steel negative-pressure Class III hoodline. A unique feature of the BRL’s aerobiology suite is the mobile glove box cart that allows test materials to be moved in and out of the hoodline and into the adjoining animal rooms without going through the hallway
or being exposed to the outside environment. The aerobiology suite is equipped with Biaera Technologies’ aerosol generator unit for nose-only, whole-body, and head-only delivery of either a biological agent or a test compound to multiple species.