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Research Project: National Bio and Agro Defense Facility Operations Project

Location: Location not imported yet.

Title: Rabbit replacement: A novel rabbit training simulator

item Mason, Rebecca
item Knapek, Katie
item Tarnick, Gabrielle
item Behnke, Maggie

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/21/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) is a state-of-the-art research facility whose mission is to protect the United States against transboundary, emerging, and zoonotic animal diseases that threaten our food supply, agricultural economy, and public health. The Animal Resource Unit (ARU) manages all aspects of NBAF animal care and will be heavily involved assisting principal investigators (PI) in their research. While working in ABSL-3, ABSL-3AG, ABSL-4, and ABSL-4AG, it is extremely important that technicians are well trained, confident, and safe during bio-sampling procedures. ARU’s training plan embodies the replacement of animals through simulators to decrease risk of exposure and injury while allowing initial hands-on experience for learners. Our unit facilitated a clinical skills training laboratory for animal care employees to train and fine tune their technical abilities using a variety of models and simulators. To our knowledge, no full-size simulators are available for exercises on handling and routine procedures on rabbits. A novel rabbit simulator was created by ARU animal health technicians to practice safe sharps handling, animal restraint, and blood collection from peripheral vessels. This identified specific areas for trainees to gain proficiency prior to contact with live animals. After working with live animals, trainees were surveyed informally and the responses were positive, especially from inexperienced employees. Trainees felt the simulator improved their overall confidence when approaching new technical abilities while in a low-risk environment without live animals or pathogens present. The model has been successful in refining technical skills for experienced trainees as well. Animal care employees will use the simulator, “Reggie,” for continued training of new and established personnel. While simulators such as “Reggie,” allow for improvement of sharps safety, blood collection, and restraint, we are not yet able to completely replace live animal training experiences.