NICEATM and ICCVAM International Workshop on Alternative Methods for Leptospira Vaccine Potency Testing
The National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) announces an “International Workshop on Alternative Methods for Leptospira Vaccine Potency Testing: State of the Science and Planning the Way Forward” on September 19-21, 2012. The workshop will be hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Veterinary Biologics at the National Centers for Animal Health in Ames, Iowa. NICEATM is organizing the workshop in collaboration with the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) and partner organizations in the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods.
This workshop will bring together international scientific experts from government, industry, and academia to review available methods and approaches that can reduce, refine (enhance animal well-being and decrease or eliminate pain and distress), and/or replace animal use for veterinary Leptospira vaccine potency testing, and to develop an implementation strategy to achieve global acceptance and use of available alternatives. A poster session will feature presentations on current research, development, and validation of alternative methods for Leptospira vaccine potency testing.
Leptospirosis is an emerging and widespread bacterial zoonotic disease caused by spirochetes of the genus Leptospira. Worldwide more than 500,000 human cases of leptospirosis are reported each year with a fatality rate of up to 25% in some regions. Designated as a Neglected Tropical Disease by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, leptospirosis is a global research and public health priority. Leptospirosis also affects many animal species including livestock, pets, and wildlife. In the United States, vaccines are used to protect cattle, swine, and dogs, and human vaccines are available in some other countries. Regulatory authorities require potency testing prior to release of each production lot of Leptospira vaccine to ensure that it will be effective. However, such testing currently involves large numbers of laboratory animals. Many animals experience significant unrelieved pain and distress, accounting for over one-third of the animals reported to the USDA in this pain category. Accordingly, NICEATM, ICCVAM, and its international partners recently identified Leptospira vaccines as one of its top three priorities for development, validation, and implementation of improved alternatives.
The upcoming workshop will review recent advances in science and technology and new methods and approaches that are more humane, that use fewer or no animals, and that may provide improved accuracy, efficiency, and worker safety. The workshop will also address global acceptance and implementation of scientifically valid alternative methods. Registration information and a workshop program will soon be available on the NICEATM-ICCVAM website. NICEATM and ICCVAM also invite the submission of abstracts for scientific posters to be displayed during this workshop; abstracts should be submitted by August 13, 2012. Online registration, instructions for poster authors, and other information will be available at the link above. If you have questions about the workshop or would like more information, please contact NICEATM at firstname.lastname@example.org.