COVID-19 Information

The Biologic Resources Laboratory will remain operational, but we will make several changes needed to manage our limited resources.

Biologic Resources Laboratory Response to COVID-19

Updated: July 14, 2020

July 14, 2020

Effective July 15th, facility orientations and in-person training of research staff will be reinstated but at reduced capacity to comply with occupancy limits.  Training will be individualized and targeted to specific handling and sample collection techniques required by staff to conduct their research project. Please contact the appropriate member of the BRL veterinary staff to schedule your orientation or training session.  Due to the potential high volume of requests, it may take slightly longer than usual to schedule so please plan accordingly.

June 5, 2020

May 18, 2020

The staff of the BRL is in the process of finalizing procedures to re-open animal facilities in a safe and responsible manner to research staff upon the lifting of the Governor’s stay-at-home order. Procedures will include wearing a face mask or face covering in animal facilities, temperature checks (effective June 1st) to enter animal facilities, social distancing through the establishment of occupancy limits for animal and procedural rooms, elevators, air-locks and other support areas, a calendar for scheduling animal and procedure room use (available June 1st), and the establishment of multiple sanitation stations throughout the facilities. More details will be forthcoming.

Besides providing support for research projects already initiated, BRL will now consider placement of animal orders for new and existing essential projects (including BSL2 work) that do not require the use of facilities or resources outside the BRL, such as RRC or hospital core services. Order approval will be for deliveries after June 1st and will be dependent upon order size, commercial vendor availability and BRL staffing levels.  BRL is still not accepting import/export requests from/to other academic institutions. All questions and requests related to animal orders should continue to be made through the VCR or Jeffrey Fortman, Director Biologic Resources Laboratory, (jdf@uic.edu) for review/discussion, approval and subsequent scheduling. Requests should include information on the essential need of the project, protocol number, species, strain and number of animals, and confirmation that core facilities and resources outside the BRL are not required to conduct the study.

At this time, BRL staff are still not conducting facility, BSL2 or chemical room orientations.  New staff will not be able to obtain facility or bio/chemical room access until such training has resumed. Finally, lab visits and monthly hands-on investigator training sessions on animal handling and aseptic technique are on hold until further notice.

May 12, 2020

Research staff are required to wear a face mask or face covering upon entering all campus animal facilities.

April 7, 2020

Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL) continues to provide animal research support for those projects already initiated and will provide maintenance care indefinitely. New orders and requests for new projects have been suspended. College researchers will continue to have access to BRL to provide maintenance care for their animals.

March 31, 2020

Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL) continues to provide animal research support for those projects already initiated and will provide maintenance care indefinitely. New orders and requests for new projects have been suspended. College researchers will continue to have access to BRL to provide maintenance care for their animals.

March 23, 2020

Research staff monitoring animals on current studies and/or managing breeding colonies are considered essential personnel and have access to UIC animal facilities.

March 20, 2020

The Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL), following Governor Pritzker’s ‘stay at home’ order starting on Saturday at 5:00pm until April 7th, recommends that Principal Investigators designate lab members who will come to campus for routine monitoring and ongoing management of their animals.

March 19, 2020

The Biologic Resources Laboratory will remain operational, but we will make several changes needed to manage our limited resources.  The below policies are effective immediately until further notice due to the changing dynamic of the COVID-19 situation.

  1. ANIMAL CARE
    BRL will continue to provide husbandry and veterinary care to all research animals on UIC campus indefinitely.
  2. RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
    Research activities for current experiments may continue as planned.  New experiments should not be implemented unless critical. If continuing ongoing experiments, please be mindful of what resources may be needed and ensure that they are available.  A contingency plan for each lab must be developed to ensure that there are adequate staff to perform necessary monitoring, administration of analgesics and experimental treatments, etc.We anticipate access to anesthetic and analgesic drugs for animal use may be limited. Please do not conduct surgical or experimental procedures unless necessary to complete a current study.
  3. ANIMAL ORDERS
    General Animal Orders:
     The BRL is no longer accepting or placing new animal orders.  This includes all species and applies to all vendors including Charles River, Jax Labs, Envigo, and Taconic.  This does not affect orders that had been placed through the BRL website prior to 3/19/20.Non-approved Vendor Imports/Exports:  The BRL is no longer importing rodents from any non-approved vendor sources or exporting rodents from BRL to other institutions.
  4. FACILITY ACCESS AND ORIENTATION
    All personnel are required to have had an orientation to facilities by the veterinary staff and to have obtained occupational health clearance from University Health Service before entering animal facilities.  If you currently have access to an animal facility, you will continue to have the same access.  The BRL veterinary staff will not be performing animal facility orientations until further notice. This includes orientation for BSL2 or chemical hazard rooms.  New staff will not be able to enter facilities until training has resumed.
  5. PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
    PPE is critical for occupational health of personnel as well as protection of the animal colony from inadvertent microbial transmission.  PPE, especially face masks, are in high demand at this time, and we have noted a dramatic depletion in the supply of face masks.  Masks should not be used for personal use.  In an effort to conserve masks, we are limiting the number of masks available at facility entrances.  Additional measures are being taken in the following facilities:

    1. BRL Rodents: We are stocking sufficient, but fewer masks in rodent rooms. To conserve our face mask supply, investigators should keep and wear their face mask between all general housing rodent rooms on the BRL first floor.  All PPE, including face masks, must be removed when exiting from BSL2, chemical hazard, or quarantine rooms.  NOTE: We have stopped stocking N95 respirator masks in any animal rooms.  Investigators should contact a BRL staff member if an N95 mask if it is required for a particular study.
    2. BBC: We are stocking sufficient, but fewer face masks in the BBC facility. Investigators should put their name on their face mask and store the mask in the entryway lockers for re-use on the same day or on subsequent days.
    3. COMRB and MBRB: Procedures regarding masks will not change at this time. Investigators should only use one mask per visit to the animal facility.
  6.  INVESTIGATOR TRAINING
    All group and individual training sessions are cancelled until further notice.  This includes monthly hands-on rodent training and aseptic technique classes.
  7. BSL2 STUDIES
    These studies require significant time, staffing, and resources (including N95 masks) to process and decontaminate caging and waste. For the health and safety of all staff, new BSL2 rodent work should not be initiated until further notice.
  8. RODENT BREEDING COLONY MANAGEMENT
    The management of rodent breeding colonies will continue to be the responsibility of the respective research lab. Each lab is responsible for developing a contingency plan that ensures timely (once or twice a week) weaning and cage separation.As research activities are reduced over the next few weeks, breeding colonies may also need to be reduced to maintenance of lines for a period of time.  This is a good time to critically look at colonies and cull aged breeders or non-productive cages.  Reducing colony size will preserve critical resources and time for both research staff and BRL staff.
  9. QUESTIONS
    Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the senior veterinary staff at 312-996-7040.

March 17, 2020

The Biologic Resources Laboratory (BRL) and all animal research services will continue to provide maintenance care indefinitely. Its support for research services continues at present with some limitations. New orders of large animal species have been suspended through April 6th. Additional limitations are being considered to research-related functions. BRL users should consider curtailing the initiation of new projects during this time of uncertainty. Additional information regarding COVID-19 is available at https://research.uic.edu/news-stories/covid-19/