3 Minute 3Rs July 2020

You’re listening to the July episode of 3 Minute 3Rs.

The papers behind the pod:

1.      Reproducibility of animal research in light of biological variation. Nature review Neuroscience https://www.nature.com/articles/s41583-020-0313-3

2.      Inactivated rabies vaccines: Standardization of an in vitro assay for residual viable virus detection. Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0008142

3.      A novel biosafety level 2 compliant tuberculosis infection model using a ΔleupanCD double auxotroph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv and Galleria mellonella. Virulence https://doi.org/10.1080/21505594.2020.1781486


[NA3RsC] Reproducibility is a cornerstone of the scientific method. But unfortunately, it’s considered to be quite poor for all research findings, and especially animal studies. Experts in animal biology, experimental design, and statistics argue that one major cause of poor reproducibility is inappropriate standardization in the face of biological variation. In nature, individual animals and humans vary greatly as a result of the interaction between their genes and the environment. So if studies standardize this natural variation too much, then they risk producing findings that are not reproducible outside of a very specific set of conditions. 


As a solution, experts recommend that researchers should deliberately diversify their study subjects such as by varying sex, genotype, age, and environmental conditions. This does not necessarily need to increase sample size or cost. And ultimately, this diversification can reduce long-term research costs, increase efficiency, and reduce overall animal suffering. To learn more, go online to read the full paper in Nature Perspectives.

 [NC3Rs] Vaccines are a vital tool in the fight against disease. This includes neglected tropical diseases such as rabies, which kills around 60,000 people each year, mainly in Africa and Asia.

When inactivated rabies vaccines are produced, they go through many stages of quality control, including testing for any remaining live virus. This process traditionally uses a lot of animals, but a recent paper by Beatriz Lourenço Moreira and colleagues explores an alternative in vitro assay that could replace some of this animal use

The new method combines two in vitro techniques to create an assay that’s three times more sensitive than in vivo testing and five times quicker than other in vitro assays. What’s more, it could replace the use of animals in residual live virus detection, decreasing animal use in quality control by two thirds overall.

While further validation is needed, and regulatory challenges still exist, this study shows what the 3Rs have to offer in vaccine development. Read the paper now in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.


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