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Free Live WC11 webinars on 
3Rs in COVID-19 research
25 and 26 August 2020 | 3 PM CET
On 25 and 26 August 2020 at 3 PM CET, WC11 will organize two 1.5 hour webinars on 3Rs in COVID-19 research. On both days, several excellent presentations will highlight innovative model systems to study COVID-19, and will also discuss new strategies for the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics and much more!
First two speakers confirmed
Tuesday 25 August 2020
Dr Penny Hawkins BSc PhD
Head of Research Animals Department, RSPCA (United Kingdom)
Coronavirus research - anything goes?
 "There is a clear and urgent need to understand COVID-19, and develop vaccines and treatments. Thousands of animals are likely being used in SARS-CoV-2 related research worldwide, and some could unfortunately experience severe suffering. However, some recent approaches could, if maintained, help reduce the general impact of science on animals more widely. These include increased global communication and data sharing, increased use of non-animal technologies, and seeking to avoid some animal tests in vaccine trials. Could these approaches provide an ongoing basis for continued innovation and collaboration, changing scientific culture permanently for the better? This presentation will consider and invite discussion of the potential for positive change, and suggest some action points, particularly for Animal Welfare Bodies."
Wednesday 26 August 2020
Shuibing Chen
Kilts Family Associate Professor, Director of Diabetes Program, Department of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine (United States of America)
Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Models for COVID-19 Disease Modeling and Drug Screening.
"SARS-CoV-2 has caused the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need for physiological models to study SARS-CoV-2 infection using human disease-relevant cells. COVID-19 pathophysiology includes respiratory failure but involves other organ systems including gut, liver, heart, and pancreas. We present an experimental platform comprised of cell and organoid derivatives from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). A Spike-enabled pseudo-entry virus infects lung organoids, colon organoids, pancreatic endocrine cells, liver organoids, cardiomyocytes, and dopaminergic neurons. SARS-CoV-2 infection caused striking expression of chemokines, as also seen in primary human COVID-19 pulmonary autopsy samples. hPSC-derived cells/organoids provide valuable models for understanding the cellular responses of human tissues to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and for disease modeling of COVID-19."
Register now for free
It is now possible to register for this important and interesting webinar series by clicking the button below.
Is there a role for the 3Rs in COVID-19 research?
In the past few weeks we have asked several people to answer the question: "Is there a role for the 3Rs in COVID-19 research?". Every week we will send you the answers we received from scientists all over the world.
Maurice Whelan
Head of the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing, European Commission, Joint Research Centre (Italy)
“One of the very worrying aspects of the pandemic is the specific vulnerabilities of certain subpopulations. No doubt many factors are at play but surely a better understanding of individual human biology and virology is central to combating the disease. We need human relevant approaches based on in vitro and in silico models to properly address knowledge gaps and ensure successful translation of research results into clinical practice to save lives. In taking on this virus, we simply can’t accept current failure rates of new therapies and trail-and-error approaches based on ineffective animal models. The reviews we’ve conducted recently at the JRC’s EURL ECVAM on the use of non-animal models and methods in biomedical disease-related research clearly show that alternatives are indeed fit to study COVID-19. During the pandemic we’ve also been hearing a great deal about antibodies, and how they are an essential scientific tool for research, diagnostics and treatment. Non-animal derived antibodies are without a doubt the better option for serious science, and proper use of research funds. Anyone considering using animals for developing and producing antibodies within the content of their COVID-19 research needs to seriously reconsider, starting by reading our latest EURL ECVAM Recommendation.”
Vijay Pal Singh
Joint Director of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (India)
“The 3Rs are always relevant in research and are getting undivided attention in the present scenario, since there is an urgent need for research to develop therapeutics and vaccines to defeat COVID-19. As we cannot afford to make mistakes because of time limitations, 3Rs application and guidelines are more relevant and applicable. In my opinion, the principle of 3Rs and robust experimental design is a very valuable tool for translational research in COVID-19 research."
Volker Lauschke
Professor at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology of the Karolinska Institutet and CEO of HepaPredict AB (Sweden)
“Model systems that accurately mimic the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2 are essential to understand the molecular events involved in viral entry, replication and secretion. While animal models allow to parse the interplay between virus and host at the system’s level, these can be subject to substantial species differences, result acquisition is overall slow and not compatible with the throughput required for drug screening. In vitro methods using human cell lines, organoids or organotypic primary tissue cultures offer an important alternative for COVID-19 research and aspire to overcome these limitations. Multiple studies have already provided important insights into the pathophysiology of the disease and have aided the identification and mechanistic characterization of promising new drug candidates in short time frames that would have been impossible to achieve using solely animals.”
11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
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