CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* Standard Operating Procedures for Animal Assessment and Monitoring: the beautiful Amerithrax AUSA did not appreciate that Dr. Ivins was tasked to do this the first week of October with 52 rabbits.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 4, 2012

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6 Responses to “* Standard Operating Procedures for Animal Assessment and Monitoring: the beautiful Amerithrax AUSA did not appreciate that Dr. Ivins was tasked to do this the first week of October with 52 rabbits.”

  1. DXer said

    For those of us unfamiliar with the subject, as a possible general reference there is:

    “Best practices for animal care committees and animal use oversight. 2002. De Haven R. ILAR J 43(Suppl):S59-S62.”

    Best practices for animal care committees and animal use oversight. 2002. De Haven R. ILAR J 43(Suppl):S59-S62.

    ILAR J. 2002;43 Suppl:S59-62.
    Best practices for animal care committees and animal use oversight.
    DeHaven WR.
    Source
    Animal Care Division, US Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, USA.
    Abstract
    Regulatory authorities around the world with oversight responsibility for the welfare of research animals have placed heavily reliance on local oversight committees. These animal care committees (ACCs) are part of an institutional animal welfare team that includes the institutional administration, principal investigators, attending veterinarian and animal care staff, as well as regulatory organizations and authorities. As a key component of this team, most ACCs function as an agent of the institution to ensure regulatory animal welfare compliance. Although regulatory testing involving animals presents some unique circumstances, the focus of all animal care committees is to minimize animal pain and distress.Federal requirements are often couched within a regulatory framework that is performance based and therefore very flexible. Thus, it is important for ACCs to establish very simple and specific institutional requirements and procedures and to work at promoting a broad understanding of them within their respective institutions. Experience suggests that ambiguity at the local level results in many unintended side effects and confusion. There are many “best practices” that can help the ACC promote institutional compliance and good animal welfare. These practices, although not universally appropriate for all institutions or activities, include ACC coordinator or administrator, designated protocol reviewer, alternate or duel ACC members, generic protocols and standard operating procedures, centralized controls and animal care facilities, conducting pilot studies, and ensuring the most humane endpoints.

    ***

    Similarly, protocols often incorporate frequently used procedures. By including such procedures into institutional standard operating procedures (SOPs1), investigators can simply reference the procedure as described in the SOP rather than describe the procedure in detail for each protocol in which the procedure is used. Activities that might be included in SOPs include routine blood sampling procedures, species-specific pain relief regimens for commonly used drugs, and frequency and method of documenting animal observations

    Comment:

    Thus, any USAMRIID SOP relating to frequency and method of documenting animal observations is admissible evidence on the issue.

    • DXer said

      Here is the SOP for implanting responder in the rabbits.

      http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/content/foia_reading_room/SOPs/AC%2005-01%20REDACTED.pdf

      Here is the SOP for rabbit cage cards. The Animal Procurement Technician is responsible for generating cage cards. The NCOIC, Small Animal Section is responsible for retaining used cards or forwarding them to the investigator if requested to do so.

      When those cage cards were thrown out in 2004, there is zero evidence that Ivins through them out. Dr. Ivins reported that someone else — and he named the person — had thrown them out. In the email, Ivins was very frustrated.

      This SOP controls giving intramuscular injections to small animals and nonhuman primates.

      http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/content/foia_reading_room/SOPs/AC%2009-10%20REDACTED.pdf

      “Document the procedure appropriately, for example, in the animal medical record, on the cage card, or as directed by the study director.”

      In putting the rabbit down, the protocol is:

      http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/content/foia_reading_room/SOPs/AC%2011-02%20REDACTED.pdf

      “Two methods for the euthanasia of rabbits are commonly used USAMRIID: barbiturate overdose and sanguination subsequent to anesthesia.”

      “Euthanasia should not be performed in the presence of (i.e., in the same room with) other animals.”

      “A barbiturate overdose with a sodium pentobarbital euthanasia solution can be administered intravenously (IV) through the marginal ear vein or via intracardiac (IC) inject of an already anesthetized rabbit. Intraperitoneal injection is also acceptable but IV or IC administration si preferable since it is more rapid.”

      “Confirm that the rabbit is dead by the absence of a heart beat 5 minutes or more after euthanasia. If the rabbit still has a heart beat, remove more blood or inject a barbiturate overdose as described above.”

  2. DXer said

    This was the protocol that Dr. Ivins was required to follow the night of October 3 for each of the 52 animals.

    This was the protocol that Dr. Ivins was required to follow the night of October 4 for each of the 52 animals.

    This was the protocol that Dr. Ivins was required to follow the night of October 5 for each of the 52 animals.

    How long would it take Rachel and Ken? Meanwhile, within 3 days after challenge, a dozen of the animals had died.

  3. richard rowley said

    So I guess it’s a LOT more involved than looking in the cage/container and saying “Yup, my pretties are all alive, let me go back to drying my anthrax!”

    • DXer said

      AUSA Lieber evidences no awareness of the work with rabbits whatsoever. She appears to have only been aware of mice from late September.

      • DXer said

        And of course her superiors at DOJ only had cause to know what she briefed to them and she omitted all mention of the work with rabbits.

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