Animal Biosafety Level 1

For use with recombinant agents or synthetic nucleic acid molecules. 




This protocol has been developed by the Office of Animal Resources (OAR) and Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) for use of recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules or recombinant organisms in animals, when assigned to Animal Biosafety Level 1 (ABSL1) by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) 

Research Staff and Office of Animal Resources (OAR) Personnel

  1. Exposed animals transported between the Animal Care facilities and investigator laboratories must be transported securely in their cage and on a cart, or within an approved animal transport, with a cover over the cage or transport. 
    1. Barrier housed animals cannot leave the OAR housing facility. Following prior approval by OAR veterinary staff, a procedure room within the barrier facility may be used.
  2. Animal carcasses/tissues must be double-bagged in plastic biohazard bags and staged for disposal by placing the bag(s) in red biowaste tubs located within the walk-in coolers, refrigerator, or freezers of each animal facility.

General Policies

  1. Access is limited to necessary personnel.
  2. Eating, drinking, smoking, and storing of food for human use are not permitted in the animal room.
  3. Personnel must always wear gloves and appropriate PPE (e.g. disposable lab coat in OAR facilities, lab coat in external laboratories) when handling animals, cages or administering agents. PPE used should be discarded in biohazard containers located in procedure rooms prior to exiting the facility. 
  4. Personnel must wash their hands before leaving the room or animal facility.

Use of Agent

  1. Reconstitution/dilution of the agent will NOT be permitted in OAR facilities. 
  2. All contaminated materials used by the investigator (needles, syringes, vials, gloves, etc.) must be properly disposed of in the appropriate biohazard containers, i.e., needles, syringes and vials placed in a sharps container, and gloves, etc. placed in the biohazard box/container. Biohazard containers are located in procedure rooms.

Cage handling

ABSL1 tag

Upon initial animal inoculation, the PI will label cages with the grey "ABSL-1 rDNA or synthetic nucleic acid" card which may be obtained from OAR staff. Cage card includes the statement: "Waste in this cage must be disposed of in a RED BIOHAZARD BAG. Waste must not be landfilled."

  1. Animal cage labels must include:
    - Agent(s) in use
    - Contact name
    - Contact phone number
  2. Waste from cages labeled with a grey card must be placed in a RED BIOHAZARD BAG. 
  3. If research staff wish to change the cage prior to the regular husbandry schedule, s/he may do so with the following precautions:
    1. To ensure proper waste disposal, a half-sized grey card must be placed face up in the dirty (empty) cage to inform the cage wash caretaker of possible contamination of ABSL-1 rDNA or synthetic nucleic acids in the bedding.
    2. Filter tops will be placed on the cage prior to putting them with other dirty caging intended for cage washing.

OAR Personnel

Infected Animal Disposal

  1. If a deceased animal is found, OAR personnel will bag the carcass in a biohazard-labeled bag, place it in the cooler, and submit a dead in pen (DIP) slip for the animal. The PI and any staff with system access will receive an email from the OAR office or vet staff notifying them of the death. 
  2. Carcasses are placed in a DIP bin in the cooler; bins are labeled with the day of the week that corresponds to the date on the automated email that PIs and staff receive once the DIP slip is processed. Carcasses are saved for at least 3 days' post-death, longer over holidays.