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Experimental Ebola Drug Shows Promise Options
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 12:00:00 AM
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Experimental Ebola Drug Shows Promise

Some good Ebola news is being reported on the heels of the World Health Organization's projections that the current outbreak could spread to another 10 countries and infect over 20,000 people before it is contained: the experimental drug ZMapp was 100% effective in monkey studies. All of the Ebola-infected monkeys treated with ZMapp survived, even when they received the treatment five days after infection—considered late stage in the animals and equivalent to about nine to 11 days in humans. Still, these results do not mean the drug will be as effective in humans, and, in fact, two of the seven human Ebola patients treated with the drug have nevertheless died. More...
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 3:46:31 AM

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Even without 100% effectiveness in humans, it is still the only drug we have.
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 9:45:06 AM

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What a horrific disease! I can imagine the terror of the plague in centuries past.
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 12:56:33 PM

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Let's have more of these
JUSTIN Excellence
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 4:18:15 PM

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Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversible animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old…The question is not, Can they reason?, nor, Can they talk? but Can they suffer?
Bentham (1789) The Principles of Morals and Legislation

According to the Bible, man occupies a special position in the world: he was created in the image of God and given dominion over other living creatures (Genesis 1:26–28).

It is often said that live animal research must be performed if we are to enjoy human benefits of the kind it brings. How true is this? Obviously, we cannot here scrutinize specific projects involving animal experimentation. Let us, instead, first note that it is extremely implausible to suggest that live animal research is totally unnecessary — that all the human benefits it delivers could be secured using methods that do not involve animals. With this noted, we can now look at reservations about the need for animal research that cannot be dismissed out of hand.

In today’s society, there are many different views about what we are entitled to do to animals in the name of scientific progress. Animals and animal materials continue to be used in laboratories, yet this usage is repeatedly challenged. Gruesome images of cats, dogs, and monkeys in experimental conditions have been put before the general public by animal rights organizations. They often evoke strong feelings in observers, but there is absolutely no doubt that people also want access to effective medical treatments and safe chemical products. Indeed, they may even be willing to support the research such access entails through taxes and fund-raising campaigns. Likewise, when asked if scientists should be allowed to continue to experiment on animals, 64% of the participants in a British survey opposed the use of living animals in research. But when the question was prefaced with the statement, “Some scientists are developing and testing new drugs to reduce pain, or are developing new treatments for life-threatening diseases, such as leukaemia and AIDS. By conducting experiments on live animals, scientists believe they can make more rapid progress than would otherwise have been possible,” disapproval dropped to 41%.

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Laboratory animal science is concerned with standardization of all the factors that may have an impact on animals and, consequently, on experimental results, as nicely presented almost half a century ago by Biggers and coworkers. Unnecessarily large variation is the enemy of scientists; hence, all approaches and methods to control variation should be utilized. This is a key element in animal experiments with the aim to operate with best practice and with relatively low numbers of animals. Recently, the original definition of alternative methods by Russell and Burch has been reiterated and updated in the Declaration of Bologna. A closer look at refinement and reduction alternative methods shows that we are dealing with the same topics. In essence, the refinement alternative is any activity for improvement of animal welfare through housing or procedure practices, and the reduction alternative is any activity toward lowest possible number of animals. In practical terms, this means that every scientist can and should apply these alternative methods.


Animal facilities should be designed to incorporate engineering controls to the extent feasible. The most likely limitations to the introduction of engineering controls are the constraints imposed by the existing facility and the need for significant capital investment. In existing facilities, the costs of retrofitting may be prohibitive, not least because to do so may mean business operations have to stop temporarily. One of the problems associated with evaluating engineering controls is that there is relatively little evidence that specific building (ventilation or architect design) systems that may contribute to reduced total exposure to allergen actually help to prevent allergy. For instance, there is a general assumption that ventilation design contributes to reductions in particle counts and thereby leads to less allergy, but there is, until now, little published evidence regarding the biological significance of the various forms of technology, other than the indirect evidence provided that prevalence of symptoms is lower among low-exposed, than among medium- or high-exposed workers.


Concerning allergen spread within facilities, the first consideration should be separation of the potential population at risk from the hazard. The hazard is not just the animals, but, most importantly, the allergen they produce. At the facility level, this can be interpreted as construction of the facility away from nonanimal workers. Within the facility, this can be achieved by clear segregation of work with animals from other work, such as administration and rest facilities. Boundaries can be established and, where necessary, access controls introduced to prevent exposure of people who are not directly involved in animal work or support of the animal areas. Even within the areas that animal work is directly carried out, it may be possible to widely separate the majority of workers from the areas where the potential exposure is highest (e.g., the animal-holding rooms). Separation can be facilitated by a two-corridor system where this is feasible, one corridor used for “clean,” the other for “dirty”’ activities. Separation should also be considered in the specific context of the allergens. Where allergen exposure is foreseeable despite the absence of animals, this should be controlled. Key areas include places where cage waste is handled, in the laundry, and at the exhaust points from ventilation systems. Ventilation inlets, especially those to clean and nonanimal areas, should not be placed in proximity to or downwind from outlets from contaminated areas.

General Ventilation

Facility ventilation, including the control of temperature and humidity, contributes to the general control of allergen. General ventilation has an important influence on the microenvironment in the animal cage, and it is this factor more than allergen control that has usually been more influential in the development of ventilation systems. Task-specific local exhaust ventilation, rather than general ventilation, is the principal control method, being more effective, less costly, and probably easier to implement. Studies have demonstrated that an increase in air-change frequency can reduce allergen levels. However, many different approaches to the general ventilation of animal facilities have been shown to be effective, not all of which are dependent on expensive high-frequency air changes. One-way airflow systems with sliding perforated screens, behind which are the cage racks and exhaust vents, have been shown to effectively draw allergens behind the screens, leaving minimal allergen levels in the room. Pressure gradients are an important adjunct to the control of allergen spread; these are a common feature of animal facilities. However, there are potential conflicts between the gradients required to protect the animals’ health and those required to protect human health. In general, it is desirable to use a gradient that minimizes spread of allergen (and pathogens) from cage-cleaning areas and into “clean areas,” such as offices and restrooms. Negative pressure “sinks” adjacent to animal-holding rooms can also be used. Increasing the relative humidity has been shown to reduce the levels of airborne allergen. Presumably, in conditions of higher humidity, particles weigh more, are more adhesive, and will settle more readily. High humidity is, however, more uncomfortable for workers, increases growth of moldsand mites, and may have an adverse effect on animal health. Exhaust air from animal areas will be contaminated with allergens (and possibly pathogenic organisms). In some circumstances, it will be necessary or desirable to filter exhaust air. Exhaust air should not be recirculated without filtration. Exhaust air and filters are important sources of fugitive exposure. Controls should be in place to prevent exposure to exhaust air and to minimize the risk to people involved in the maintenance of ventilation systems and changing of filters.

Task Ventilation

Task ventilation, or local exhaust ventilation, is one of the most important control measures. These systems remove allergen at the source and can be designed (usually at relatively low cost) to accommodate the tasks with potential for the highest exposure. They contribute to reductions in both the spread of allergens and other contaminants. Task ventilation includes biosafety cabinets, fume cupboards, and ventilated workstations that use downdraft or backdraft systems. Often, these systems have the advantages of being mobile and suitable for installation in established facilities. However, it may be difficult to demonstrate the effectiveness of these systems, especially novel designs, such as downdraft benches that are reliant upon undisturbed laminar flow. It is easier to demonstrate that novel ventilation systems function effectively when not in use than when used by operators under normal work conditions. For instance, covering too great a proportion of the ventilated surface of a downdraft table is likely to reduce the effectiveness of the exhaust system. If the effectiveness of the ventilation system cannot be confirmed under operational conditions, then it should not be relied upon as a primary control measure.


New technology is enabling the automation of many tasks. This benefit of automation is especially interesting where the tasks are labor-intensive and pose significant risk. These risks may be high allergen levels or other factors, such as exposure to potentially harmful pathogens or test substances or ergonomical risks. For instance, when cleaning cages and bottles, the risks will be due to both allergens and ergonomics. Automated cage cleaning and waste handling systems have now been introduced in some animal facilities. Automated cage cleaning systems have been shown to greatly reduce ambient levels of allergen and personal exposure of operators under normal operating conditions.

Cage Systems

The introduction of filters to conventional open-top cages is associated with reductions in allergen concentrations of greater than 75%. Individually ventilated cage systems are now widely available, and these have been shown to effectively reduce background aeroallergen levels in a number of studies. The most impressive reductions in aeroallergen levels in undisturbed animal rooms — almost 100% — arise when the system is operated with the cages under negative pressure.

Animal Housing Areas
General Animal Housing Concepts
Types and Sizes of Animal Rooms

The size and shape of the animal room can vary depending on many factors, including the species to be housed, the types of housing systems to be used, and the arrangement of the cages and racks in the room. There is no one best or ideal size, but it is important to decide on the cage type to be used as well as the placement in the room prior to deciding on sizes and shapes of the animal rooms. For example, double-sided rodent racks are typically arranged library style with multiple racks parked parallel, with the end of each rack against a common wall or two rows on opposite walls with an aisle between them.

Animal Cubicles — This is an animal room concept that provides maximum flexibility for animal isolation within minimal space by dividing animal rooms into multiple small spaces, typically each large enough to hold one rack and occasionally two cage racks. Animal cubicles typically have three solid sides, with the fourth side comprised of full panel glass doors, either vertical stacking doors or a pair of conventional hinged doors. The most common cubicle size is approximately 1.2 m deep by 1.8 m wide (4 ft × 6 ft), although, larger cubicles, e.g., 2.1 m × 2.1 m (7 ft × 7 ft), that can hold two racks and in which a person could perform simple tasks with the doors closed, are useful.


Most laboratory animals used today are purpose bred using disease control measures equal to or superior to that in the research facility; therefore, most research facilities do not require special quarantine for the vast majority of the animals received into the facility. However, there typically are exceptions. One common exception is the result of the increased use of transgenic and knockout (TG/KO) animals and the sharing of those unique monkeys between research institutions.

Housing for Nonhuman Primates

Housing for nonhuman primates is somewhere between conventional housing utilizing a hose-down caging system and biohazard housing, because of their potential for carrying zoonotic diseases and the high level of noise that at least certain species can generate. For these reasons, the ideal arrangement is to house them in an isolated area under ABSL-2 standards. At a minimum, rooms housing nonhuman primates must be arranged and located to avoid the necessity of transporting animals or cages and equipment soiled by the animals through corridors or on elevators outside the animal facility. The objective is to avoid exposing individuals who do not have an occupational requirement to be exposed to nonhuman primate associated diseases. Special features for a nonhuman primate housing area or room may include additional security, and an entry vestibule to animal rooms, typically made of chain-link fencing, that prevents animals that get out of their primary enclosure from escaping when the room door is opened. Lights and any other fixtures in the animal room must be mounted such that animals free in the room cannot damage them and so that they do not impede capturing the animals.

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Architectural Features

The primary focus for the following architectural features, especially the interior surface features, is to create a durable, easy to maintain, sanitizable surface, capable of withstanding scrubbing, chemical cleaning and disinfecting agents, and impact from high-pressure water. All surface junctions and penetrations should be sealed to facilitate air balancing and vermin control. Animal facility interior surfaces are exposed to much abuse in the normal conduct of animal care and use. Selections made with an eye toward “saving” money on architectural features rarely prove to be wise and could easily cost many times more in long-term maintenance costs than the initial cost “savings.” It is also true that “expensive” does not necessarily guarantee a satisfactory performance.

Interior Surfaces

Floors should be monolithic, slip resistant even when wet, yet relatively smooth and easy to sanitize. Commonly used flooring materials include troweled on or broadcast polymer (typically epoxy but methylmethacrylates are also used) composites ranging in thickness from 1/8 to 1/4 in. Many floor coverings work well in a rodent room, including vinyl with sealed seams if the cage racks are not to heavy, but few materials work consistently well in hard use, high-moisture areas such as cage sanitation. Ceramic tile with epoxy grout top dressing has proven to be a relatively maintenance-free floor for cage sanitation areas, where seamless composite polymer floors too often fail. Grouted tile floors are not suitable for corridors, because the joints cause excessive noise when cage racks roll across it. There should be a minimum 10 cm (4 in) high 1/2 in. radial coved base to form a watertight seal at the floor-to-wall junction and facilitate sanitation.


The most commonly used wall material is masonry blocks coated with block filler to eliminate pits and sealed with epoxy paint. This wall performs well in most areas of the facility, with the exception of high-moisture areas, such as animal rooms in which hose-down caging systems are used, and cage sanitation areas, where coatings tend to peel from the block. Structural glazed facing blocks, or ceramic tiles over a water-resistant foundation, in which the grout is top dressed with epoxy, makes a maintenance free wall that performs exceptionally well in these high-moisture areas as does masonry block covered with mineral fiber composite panels. Gypsum board on studs has rarely proved suitable for any area of an animal facility. However, newer sheet materials made of a variety of mineral fiber composite panels mounted directly on metal studs or in combination with fiberglass-reinforced gypsum board on stud walls is a viable alternative in many areas of the facility. Such walls are especially useful in earthquake-prone locations. Protective guardrails or wall curbs are required in corridors and may also be cost-effective in animal rooms and other areas, where wall damage from caging and other equipment is likely. Guardrails should be sturdy, sanitizable, and constructed to avoid providing harborage for cockroaches and other pests. Extruded solid aluminum rails fastened to the wall with I-beam standoffs have proved very useful in animal facilities. Guardrail height should be carefully matched to the equipment used in the facility. A double row of guardrails may be provided; however, if there is to be only one row, its height should be determined by a careful examination of the rolling equipment to routinely be used in the facility.


Gypsum board ceilings sealed with epoxy paint are adequate for relatively dry areas of the facility, including rodent rooms, but are generally not suitable for high-moisture areas like cage sanitation. A drop ceiling with lay-in panels is generally not recommended for animal housing rooms, because they impede sanitation and vermin control. However, in recent years, composite panels made of lightweight water-impervious materials and sealed to fiberglass “T” bars with gaskets and clamps have proved to be a satisfactory, virtually maintenance-free choice for ceilings. These are particularly cost-effective for use in high-moisture areas such as cage sanitation and animal rooms with hose-down type animal housing systems. In all cases, the ceiling to wall junction should be sealed. The minimal recommended ceiling height is 2.7 m (9 ft) and may need to be higher in rodent and nonhuman primate rooms, depending on the height of rodent racks or nonhuman primate cages to be used.


The minimum door size should be 107 cm (42 in) wide by 2.1 m (7 ft) high; however, nonhuman primate cages and ventilated high-density rodent cage racks may require wider and higher openings. Doors measuring 122 cm (48 in) wide by 2.4 m (8 ft) high frequently prove useful for animal rooms. If 8-ft high doors are provided for animal rooms, it is important to make certain that all doors in the facility through which the higher cage racks will be transported are also at least 8-ft high. This includes all corridor doors, doors in and out of the cage sanitation area, the rack washer doors, and dock doors. Stainless steel or fiberglass-reinforced polyester doorframes are the most cost-effective choice. They should have hospital stops to facilitate cleaning. Jamb guards may be mounted on the corridor side. There must be no doorsill, as this seriously impedes the movement of cage racks through the door. Like the frames, stainless steel or fiberglass-reinforced polyester doors prove more cost-effective than less durable materials, including painted hollow metal doors. The doors should be sealed and have flush finished tops and bottoms. If the doors are not SS or fiberglass, they should be outfitted with stainless steel kick plates on both sides and edge guards on the strike side. Automatic drop bottoms should be surface-mounted on the animal room side of the door, leaving no gaps larger than 1/4 in. A view panel is highly desirable, if not essential, for security and personnel safety. Size and shape of the view panel is a matter of choice, but it should provide a clear view of the room from the corridor. Light control through the view panel may be desirable and can best be provided with carefully selected red laminated glass, e.g., 1/8 in clear annealed glass with an inner layer of Opti-Color™ film #5557 (Monsanto Chemical Co., St. Louis, MO). Other options include a variety of solid blackout view panel coverings attached with magnets or hinges and latches, most of which are inconvenient and high maintenance. Hospital, lever-type door openers are a good choice. Push and pull plates should be mounted on both sides of the door. Strike plates should have a cup design. If fire codes permit, it may be preferable to eliminate the latch. If access to the animal room is controlled via a security system, magnetic locks are generally found to require less maintenance than electric strikes. Assuming that doors swing into the room, a crash rail extending the width of the door should be mounted just below the door handle on the corridor side and protrude away from the door enough to protect the door handle. A heavy-duty surface-mounted, self-closing door closer with variable delays and hold opens is essential. Hinges should be stainless steel, heavy-duty, standard, or continuous. Swing-clear hinges can be used to optimize door width. Door seals of various types may be required to control air movement around the door to facilitate balancing the ventilation system.

Automatic sliding or hinged doors should be provided in doorways with a high traffic of rolling stock, such as cage sanitation, the loading dock, and selected corridor doors. Depending on the situation, they may be opened with sensors that detect movement or with wall-mounted push plates or ceiling-mounted pull chords.

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Vermin Control

Careful planning and construction will go a long way toward facilitating the control of vermin and insects without the use of organic insecticides and baits, especially wild or escaped rodents and cockroaches. Organic insecticides and baits should not be used in research animal facilities, because they have the potential to change biological baselines and alter the animal’s response to experimental variables. The basic control approach is to seal vermin and insects out of the facility and eliminate hiding and nesting places within the facility. All cracks, joints, utility penetrations, lights, wall switches, communication, and power outlets must be sealed. Animal rooms should have a minimal amount of “built-ins” consisting of little more than a paper towel dispenser, utility hangers, and possibly a sink. These should be sealed to the wall or mounted away from the wall to eliminate hiding places and allow cleaning between the wall and the mounted item. Animal rooms should not have casework. Casework for animal procedure rooms and other laboratory spaces in the animal facility should be of an open design type to reduce hiding places under and in back of and to facilitate cleaning. Boxed-in casework should be avoided. The control of cockroaches and vermin starts during construction by keeping the construction site free of garbage on which they feed. This requires having a zero tolerance for eating or drinking in the facility during construction. In addition, all hollow dead spaces in the facility, including inside concrete blocks and studded walls, should be treated with amorphous silica to preclude the harborage of cockroaches. There should be high-pressure sodium (not mercury vapor) lamps, or dichrome yellow (not incandescent flood) lamps located at exterior doors or vents to reduce the influx of vermin and insects into the facility. Air curtains with a velocity of 490 m (1600 ft) per minute can help reduce the influx of flying insects at frequently used exterior entrances that may be open for extended periods of time, such as loading dock doors.

Noise Control

Noise is another potential variable in the animal’s environment that can also be stressful for the staff. The primary noise producers are the cage sanitation area, canine-housing rooms, and sometimes, depending on the species, nonhuman primate rooms. Design features such as strategically locating these areas to buffer them, and architectural measures that reduce sound transmission should be carefully considered, including double-entry doors, soundproof walls, locating corridors and support areas around the noise generating areas, and locating the noise-generating areas next to outside walls or mechanical spaces. Conventional acoustical materials impede sanitation and vermin control and should be avoided; however, sound attenuating panels that can easily be removed, washed, and sanitized in mechanical cage washers are commercially available and should be considered for use in especially noisy areas of the facility. All in-room activities, including cage changing, must be conducted in a manner that generates as little noise as possible. Background noise, e.g., soft music, can help to buffer unavoidable noise inherent in routine care and use procedures. Other common sources of avoidable excessive noise include improperly sized ventilation ducts and outlets, improper air balancing that results in whistling around the room door, and improperly sealed room penetrations that also result in whistling. Vacuum equipment and the conduit used to transport bedding generate a large amount of noise and should be isolated or insulated or both to assure adequate sound attenuation. Fire alarms selected for animal housing areas should disturb the animals as little as possible. Most rodent species cannot hear frequencies below 1000 kHz, although guinea pigs are capable of hearing down to 200 kHz. Fire alarms that operate between 400 kHz and 500 kHz should be used in facilities that house rodents.

A major feature of this view of morality is that it explains why we have it and who is party to it. We have it for reasons of long-term self-interest, and parties to it include all and only those who have both of the following characteristics: 1. They stand to gain by subscribing to it, at least in the long run, compared with not doing so. 2. They are capable of entering into (and keeping) an agreement… Given these requirements, it will be clear why animals do not have rights. For there are evident shortcomings on both scores. On the one hand, humans have nothing generally to gain by voluntarily refraining from (for instance) killing animals or “treating them as mere means.” And on the other, animals cannot generally make agreements with us anyway, even if we wanted to have them do so….
Narveson (1983) Animal Rights Revisited, in Ethics and Animals

BSL Labs

All pathogens that a researcher may work with in the laboratory are divided into four groups, based on their potential hazard to humans. These groups are termed “biological safety levels,” or BSL for short. As safety levels increase, so do the precautions needed in the laboratory.

• A BSL-1 laboratory can work on pathogens that have been shown not to be harmful to humans. No special precautions are needed, though gloves and a lab coat are recommended.

• BSL-2 laboratories are used for pathogens that might pose a risk to humans. any procedures in these labs need to be performed within a biological containment hood, in order to minimize aerosols (mixtures of liquid and gas) that might be generated when using certain procedures (for example, mixing samples). Gloves, lab coats, and other protective equipment (such as goggles or occasionally masks) must be worn. Any infectious waste generated must be sterilized prior to disposal.

• BSL-3 laboratories are used for pathogens that might cause serious illness or even death when a researcher is exposed via inhalation. This means that air flow must take a certain route within the lab. The lab is engineered so that air always flows from areas of low contamination to areas of higher contamination. Therefore, any infectious agents will not contaminate areas that do not already contain microbes. Respirators may be worn during some procedures.

• BSL-4 laboratories are for pathogens that, like BSL-3 agents, may be transmitted by aerosol. Additionally, BSL-4 agents pose a high risk of life-threatening disease,
and for diseases for which there is no vaccine or cure. BSL-4 is the highest containment possible. Researchers work in “space suits” with respirators and the laboratory is under negative air pressure: This means that air is actually flowing into the lab, being sucked in like a lowpower vacuum, which prevents the accidental “escape” of any pathogens. Air that leaves the laboratory exits through HEPA filters, which have pores that are too small for any pathogen to pass through. Researchers must be decontaminated before entering and leaving the laboratory.


- Würbel, H., Ideal homes? Housing effects on monkey brain and behaviour, Trends in neuroscience, 24, 207–241, 2013.

- Sherwin, C.M., Comfortable quarters for mice in research institutions, in Reinhardt, V. and Reinhardt, A., Eds., Comfortable Quarters for Laboratory Animals, Washington: Animal Welfare Institute, 2002.

- Rollin, B., The Unheeded Cry: Animal Consciousness, Animal Pain, and Science, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

- Fisher, R., Saunders, W.B., Murray, S.J., and Stave, G.M., Prevention of laboratory animal allergy, J. Occup. Environ. Med., 609, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 7:10:46 PM
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The drug is unlikely to help the 20,000 people expected to be infected.
Vicki Holzknecht
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 7:30:37 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

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Location: Sylva, North Carolina, United States
This ebola stuff reminds me of "The Last Ship."
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