JAX® Mice & Services Response to COVID-19


Our top priority at The Jackson Laboratory is ensuring the health and well-being of our community and mice. We have enacted our emergency response protocols to ensure continued, uninterrupted access to JAX Mice and Services for the global scientific community and mice under our care. Additionally, as part of our routine health monitoring, mice will be regularly tested for SARS-CoV-2 prior to shipment.

We have compiled this information to keep you updated on the rapidly evolving situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and JAX’s preparedness and response plans. As the situation changes, and learn to adapt, we will keep this page updated with the latest information and JAX’s action items. Additionally, we have a response team dedicated to communicating with customers should any changes or updates occur. If the information below does not answer your questions or you would like to request additional information, please contact: micetech@jax.org.

Safety of the JAX Employees and Community

The health and well-being of our colleagues, customers, and community is our top priority. In response to COVID-19, we have activated our emergency preparedness taskforce to manage and execute operational plans in response to COVID-19. Our primary focus has always been and continues to be ensuring the safety of personnel as well as uninterrupted JAX operations related to mouse production, distribution, and services. This also includes a wide range of contingency plans to ensure we have the necessary supplies needed to run these operations safely, effectively, and at the same high quality you expect from JAX. These plans are informed by our paramount goal of safeguarding the health and well-being of our employees, the welfare of the mice under our care, and our mission of continuing to advance biomedical research.

Quality and Access to JAX Mice

The welfare and quality of JAX Mice remains a top priority. We have, and will continue, all of our operations including breeding, validation and care of our mice, or any of the services associated with running client studies. Currently, all models are available and we are continuing to accept new orders for mice and services. Additionally, we continuously communicated with our vendors and transporters to avoid any delays in supply or transportation.

The Jackson Laboratory is recognized as a leader in the distribution of high health status mice that are regularly tested for the exclusion of a wide range of organisms, both pathogenic and opportunistic. We maintain these standards using strict protocols that include personal protective clothing, gloves, and masks or respiratory gear to eliminate direct physical contact with our mice. We also use sterilized supplies, food, water, and bedding and incorporate strict cleaning protocols to maintain this high level of animal health. These normal and standard practices are in place to prevent interchange of organisms between mice and the people working with them.

Please notify us if you are unable to accept or need to cancel your mice orders by emailing orderquest@jax.org

 

JAX Mice and Services COVID-19: Commonly Asked Questions

Can mice can be infected with Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?

Recent scientific studies have demonstrated (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.18.436013v1 ; https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.01.27.428353v2) the binding of some human SARS-CoV-2 viral variants to the mouse ACE2 cell surface protein. The binding and internalization of the virus has led to productive and non-lethal infection of several inbred research mouse strains. While this finding creates a potential concern, the risk of human transmission in JAX mouse rooms or in customer shipments is extremely remote.

What is JAX doing to prevent human to mouse transmission of SARS-CoV-2?

As mentioned previously, the risk of human transmission to JAX Mice is highly unlikely. JAX mice are housed in filter topped cages, most of which are held in ventilated cage racks. Additionally, the mice are changed in ventilated flow hood. More importantly, mouse room personnel wear extensive personal protective equipment including: gloves; N95 masks; dedicated scrubs; frock; and, in many rooms, PAPR or face shield. Therefore, there is no physical contact or respiratory interchange between the animals and the scientists working with the mice.

Nonetheless, in keeping with our policy of assuring the healthiest mice for our customers, JAX is offering to test customer's mice for SARS-CoV-2 virus prior to shipping if a customer requests this testing. Our PCR-based assay can detect several common variants of SARS-CoV-2, including those shown in recent studies to infect wild type strains (i.e. non-hACE2 bearing). Moving forward, JAX will include this assay in our routine health monitoring of sentinel animals. In the event of a positive sample, we will take necessary measures to isolate animals and notify potentially affected customers as needed. In addition to these internal risk mitigation efforts, JAX will work to comply with any state or federal regulations and will continue to support our academic and industry collaborators in better understanding transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in mice.

In addition to testing our own colonies, we are able to screen samples for your colonies to help monitor and protect them from SARS-CoV-2 and associated variants.

Has JAX activated a formal business continuity plan at their facilities to maintain current operations?

Yes. JAX’s top priority is ensuring the health and well-being of their community and mice. In response to COVID-19, they have assembled a taskforce to prepare and manage plans for ensuring safety of their personnel as well as uninterrupted JAX operations related to mouse production, distribution, and services. This also includes a wide range of contingency plans to ensure they have the necessary supplies needed to run these operations safely and effectively. These plans are informed by their paramount goals of safeguarding the health of their employees, welfare of the mice under their care, and their mission of continuing to advance biomedical research.

Does JAX anticipate impacts to their ability to supply materials and/or services that they are providing to customers due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) global outbreak?

No. JAX is not experiencing any impacts to supply mouse models or services at this time. JAX is in communication with their vendors and transporters to ensure there are no delays in supply or transportation.

Is JAX limiting the availability of mouse models or services?

No. All JAX operations are active including breeding, model generation, the validation and characterization of our mice, and in vivo studies.

Has JAX received any information from their internal suppliers that may impact their ability to provide materials/services to customers?

As part of activating their emergency response plan, JAX has reached out to their key vendors and suppliers to ensure they have the necessary internal supplies needed to run their operations safely and effectively.

Is JAX aware of any shortages of materials, un-availability of key personnel, or lack of access to physical sites/locations that may be further impacted by the current outbreak?

No. The JAX taskforce is focused on the safety of personnel while also ensuring uninterrupted operations related to mouse production, distribution, and services. This also includes a wide range of contingency plans to ensure they have the necessary supplies needed to run these operations safely and effectively. These plans are developed with the goal of safeguarding the health of their employees, welfare of the mice under their care, and their mission of continuing to advance biomedical research.

Is JAX aware of any current or potential logistical, regulatory (e.g. export bans), or service delivery issues in continuing to provide materials/services to customers?

International Deliveries: JAX is aware of changes to flight schedules, and increased oversight and review of animal shipments in many locations. However, the JAX Global Relations & Logistics teams are working through each change, and adjusting routing and processes to ensure minimal to no disruption.

Domestic (US & Canada) Deliveries: There is no impact to these deliveries, which use dedicated animal transport teams.

Has JAX instituted internal travel restrictions due to COVID-19?

Yes, JAX is currently restricting international travel to Europe and areas of Asia, however there are no anticipated impacts to JAX customers. JAX personnel will be utilizing teleconference and Webex to ensure continued communication with customers for meetings.

How has JAX changed the procedures in delivery and pick up of mice and specimens?

Drivers are practicing general hygiene and personal protective measures in accordance with CDC workplace guidelines. They are practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and are remaining six feet away where proximate contact is avoidable. There is no sharing of pens, phones, or other personal items. In lieu of collecting signatures, they will simply enter the full name of receiving personnel. In most areas, drivers use PPE latex gloves, following recommended removal/disposal techniques. Finally, drivers are disinfecting the interior of vehicle throughout workday and disinfecting their hands (and gloves) before and after each delivery.

For Additional Questions:

If the information provided does not answer your questions or you would like to request additional information, please contact: micetech@jax.org.