The corona crisis has a huge impact on our private and professional lives. This is no different in the research world. Currently, all possible energy and resources are being used to boost both the development of a vaccine and the testing capacity for COVID-19 in Belgium, with the support of the regional and federal government.
Organizations associated with the transparency agreement are actively involved in this.
Animal testing remains imperative in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. All animal experiments are subject to strict legislation and ethical rules, which of course continue to apply even in times of crisis. As a result of the decisions of the National Security Council, research institutions have also been forced to temporarily reduce certain aspects of research. In certain cases it was necessary to downsize breeding colonies in order to safeguard the care capacity within the laboratory animal facility.
Our actions are always guided by the need to minimise preventable animal suffering and, with the very real risk that animals cannot be attended to - due to animal care staff not being able to take care of them (e.g. because of restrictions caused by lockdown or corona illness in staff) or that the animals cannot be used - euthanasia may be the only option available. The measures that have been taken here are only intended to guarantee the health and safety of both the personnel and the laboratory animals.
Since we are still in the midst of the crisis, it is difficult to give precise figures at this time about the impact of the corona crisis on the number of laboratory animals. Naturally, the figures as well as the objectives for each animal test are reported and charted via the relevant authorities.
This happens every year, and will be no different for 2020. In this way, we will, in due time, provide a complete picture of the role of laboratory animals in the search for a solution for corona, as well as the impact of the crisis on the laboratory animals.