Comparative Medicine

Comparative Medicine Coronavirus Notice

COVID-19

Comparative Medicine


June 16, 2020

Please note the following updates to Comparative Medicine (CM) health & safety activities implemented beginning Tuesday, June 16th:

  • Please note that face masks, hand sanitizer, and other supplies are available to USF faculty and staff at usf.edu/supplies-request.
  • Please continue to self-monitor for COVID-19 related symptoms. Do not come to campus or enter a CM vivarium if you are symptomatic, or a member of your household is symptomatic.
  • Personnel that develop COVID-19 related symptoms, or who have a member of their household who develops symptoms, should contact their health care provider or USF employee health c/o Dr. Lynette Menezes at healthglobal@usf.edu for assessment & guidance.
  • CM business office and administrative personnel continue to work remotely, and can be contacted by email.
  • Please continue universal face masking in all CM managed facilities.
  • Only CM staff and research personnel conducting active experiments should be present within CM managed vivariums.
  • To comply with universal face masking in all CM facilities (e.g., in the absence of a disposable surgical mask, until disposable surgical masks and personnel protective equipment (PPE) supply chains become reliable again, and CM inventories of PPE return to normal, so that disposable surgical masks can again fill dispensers in all CM gowning areas), consider using a washable cloth mask, covering your mouth and nose, and washing it daily.
  • Whenever possible, personnel should limit to 2 staff members being present in any housing, procedural, or personnel room at any specific time, and should reserve common procedural areas for use in advance by contacting CM management.
  • Wear a face shield whenever training or working in groups (e.g., conducting batch procedures with assistants), and/or whenever tasks require prolonged (i.e., >2 minutes) close proximity (i.e., <6 feet).
  • If taking a break or lunch in a vivarium break room, please ensure that breaks or lunch, when required, are taken in groups of <5 individuals in a single room, area, or outdoors, maintaining social distancing of >6 feet, and while wearing a face shield and mask when not eating or drinking.
  • Requests for CM staff to initiate new cohorts in support of research aims should be forwarded to CM veterinarians for their consideration. Note that any implementation of batch procedures that requires multiple contributors (e.g., surgeon, assistant, anesthetist) in close proximity, requires all contributing personnel to wear both face shields and face masks.
  • Vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) sterilization of all animal housing, procedure rooms, and CM personnel rooms, and of all IVC racks & trolleys program-wide is being accomplished during June, as required by SOPs. Note that your research animal inventories may shift to a temporary "flex" room during such efforts, for up to 48 hours. Please follow signage to locate animals housed on behalf of your research interests.
  • CM staff led in-person training of researchers in groups <5 individuals, is available as morning sessions, with all personnel wearing face shields and masks. Offerings can be viewed at: https://www.usf.edu/research-innovation/comparative-medicine/technical-training-resources.aspx. Schedule a session by emailing compmed@usf.edu.

Thank you for your continued understanding and assistance during these uncertain times.


May 22, 2020

Please know that unless the USF President directs otherwise, and/or the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) documented COVID-19 case incidence in counties surrounding Tampa Bay rises to, or exceeds prior peaks documented by the FDOH in late April through early May, the following Comparative Medicine (CM) activities will be implemented beginning Monday, June 1st:

  • Requests for CM staff to initiate new cohorts in support of research aims should be forwarded to CM veterinarians for their consideration. Note that any implementation of batch procedures that requires multiple contributors (e.g., surgeon, assistant, anesthetist) in close proximity, requires all contributing personnel to wear face shields and masks.
  • VHP decontamination of all animal housing rooms, and IVC racks & trolleys, program-wide will be implemented, as required by SOPs. Note that your research animal inventories may shift to a temporary "flex" room during such efforts, for up to 48 hours. Please follow signage to locate animals housed on behalf of your research interests.
  • CM staff led in-person training of researchers in groups <5 individuals, is available as morning sessions, with all personnel wearing face shields and masks. Offerings can be viewed at: https://www.usf.edu/research-innovation/comparative-medicine/technical-training-resources.aspx. Schedule a session by emailing compmed@usf.edu.
  • Please continue to self-monitor for COVID-19 related symptoms. Do not come to campus or enter a vivarium if you are symptomatic, or a member of your household is symptomatic.
  • Please continue universal face masking in all CM managed facilities, preferably a washable cloth mask, covering your mouth and nose.
  • Wear a face shield whenever training or working in groups (e.g., conducting batch procedures with assistants), and/or whenever tasks require prolonged (i.e., >2 minutes) close proximity (i.e., <6 feet).
  • If taking a break or lunch in a vivarium breakroom, please ensure that breaks or lunch, when required, are taken in groups of <5 individuals in a single room, area, or outdoors, maintaining social distancing of >6 feet, and while wearing a face shield and mask when not eating or drinking.

Thank you for your understanding and assistance during these uncertain times.


April 4, 2020

Please know that, in response to the continuing concerns regarding COVID-19, effective April 4th, in accordance with new federal guidance:

  • Universal face masking is to be employed in all CM managed facilities, covering your mouth and nose to protect others in case you are an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier. Please conserve and do not use N95s and other specialized masks needed in surgical, clinical, and bio-hazardous settings. Paper particulate or procedural masks, or cloth coverings, although a departure from standard infection prevention guidance, are now temporarily acceptable. When not in use, cloth masks should be laundered each day. Current impressions now suggest that wearing a mask may reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission from asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic employees to other employees.
  • COVID-19 testing for symptomatic essential employees with a high risk history of potential COVID-19 exposure is now available through USF Health. If you are symptomatic and aware of having been in a potentially high risk setting for COVID-19 exposure (e.g., a member of your household has tested COVID-19 positive and is symptomatic), please contact your health provider or your supervisor for assistance with scheduling a test for COVID-19.

Thank you for your continued understanding through these challenging times.


March 24, 2020

Effective today, March 24th, Comparative Medicine (CM) technical service requests to initiate new cohorts in support of ongoing research interests will not be honored until further notice.

Regardless, (1) all CM technical services will continue in support of all ongoing research cohorts already established in longitudinal studies, (2) all CM colony management services will continue in support of established colony production and characterizations, (3) all CM quarantine testing-rederivation services will continue in support of newly imported murine strains/lines, (4) all CM husbandry and equipment processing routines will continue, and (5) all CM animal and supply ordering and animal relocation, reassignment, and import-export services will continue.

Please direct any questions to a CM veterinarian.

Thank you for your understanding during this moment of uncertainty.


March 20, 2020 – Maintaining animal services is a top research institutional priority. 

Although the consequences of COVID-19 to Comparative Medicine (CM) services cannot be predicted, please anticipate the potential for disruption to your research interests, and consider the following:

  • Principal Investigators (PI) must consider whether some IACUC-approved protocols requiring rare technical proficiencies, or unique, limited reagents, or that are substantively longitudinal are best initiated when the continuance of infrastructural services, and the availability of proficient staff, and/or vendor-provided supplies are more predictable.

  • Access by IACUC-certified research personnel to animal facilities for overseeing ongoing longitudinal preclinical studies continues without change.

  • CM personnel are documented as essential, and as such, continue to provide animal care and use services at established intervals.

  • If conditions change substantially (e.g., CM staff shortages develop, the institution elects to suspend ongoing research), CM will inform researchers of substantive changes to its services at that time.

  • CM technical services must be scheduled with CM facility managers to begin as early as feasible each day to ensure all duties are completed in an efficient manner.

  • Although presently, CM staff remain responsive to service requests, PIs should not assume that in the event of their research staff absences, that all animal use aspects of their protocols can be readily delegated to CM staff, since CM staff absences may also increase.

  • Before requesting CM service, each PI and their research staff must carefully consider whether sufficient research or CM staff will remain available to successfully complete any new cohort to a planned study end point.

  • In light of the current unpredictable conditions, PIs must anticipate that CM proficient staff may become unavailable.

  • If CM staff absenteeism grows, CM operations would be caused to revert to essential husbandry routines in support of animal welfare only, and as a consequence, the successful completion of aims longitudinally would be jeopardized.

  • PIs must carefully consider whether to initiate any new cohorts in support of their ongoing research interests, in light of the possibility that during study sufficient CM staff may become unavailable to complete study aims.

  • CM now outsources all clinical pathological assessments of animals (e.g., complete blood counts, serum chemistry) to its contracted diagnostic laboratory, and will forward assessment results to the requesting research staff.

  • Rather than administering multiple daily post-procedural analgesics (e.g., Carprofen), analgesic formulations that can be administered in a single dose (e.g., Meloxicam, Buprenorphine Sustained Release) should be administered, whenever applicable; please consult veterinarians for assistance.

  • Research staff should confirm with CM staff responsible for the care of animals housed on their behalf, that their research staff emergency contact information is current and entered into housing room records.

  • PIs and research staff responsible for animals housed outside of CM managed sites in IACUC-approved satellite facilities, should review their disaster contingency plans, and must anticipate research staff assignments, redundancies and replacements capable of providing animal care in their satellite facility, should research staff absences occur.

  • Minor changes to CM ancillary services or schedules (e.g., frequency of in-person training), will be announced if such adjustments become necessary. 

Please review your research aims and plan accordingly.

Thank you for your continued collaboration and understanding during this unpredictable time.