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Newsletter 5
11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
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!
New confirmed speaker!
Tuesday 25 August 2020
Christian Desaintes, PhD.
Policy Officer, European Commission (Belgium)
Research response of the European Commission to address the COVID-19 pandemic
"The COVID-19 pandemic created an urgent demand for delivering rapid innovative solutions to contain and mitigate the outbreak, to better care for patients and survivors, to protect all individuals, including vulnerable groups and frontline health care staff. The European Commission has reacted quickly to fight the pandemic from different perspectives. Among these, the Commission has launched several special research actions related to COVID-19 and the Sars-CoV-2 virus that address epidemiology, preparedness and response to outbreaks, diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, as well as the infrastructures and resources that enable this research. This presentation will highlight the global effort from the Commission in supporting and coordinating research on the pandemic, and will provide a preliminary analysis of the laboratory animals and alternative methods involved."
Confirmed speakers: 
Dr Penny Hawkins BSc PhD
Head of Research Animals Department, RSPCA (United Kingdom)
Coronavirus research – anything goes?
Koert Stittelaar, PhD.
General Manager, Viroclinics Xplore (The Netherlands)
Animal models and alternatives for COVID-19 research
Wednesday 26 August 2020
Confirmed speakers: 
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
Thomas Hartung
Director CAAT, Johns Hopkins University (United States of America)
COVID-19 – what is in the box of alternative methods?
Jan Willem van der Laan
Senior Assessor Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medicines Evaluation Board, Chair Safety Working Party CHMP, EMA (The Netherlands)
3Rs and COVID-19 Vaccine Development: Regulatory Aspects
Moderator 25 + 26 August 2020
Brian Maguire
Journalist & Producer - Euractiv & EBX Media (Belgium)
Brussels-based journalist, producer and broadcaster, Brian Maguire, hosts live radio and television debates with European Commissioners, Ambassadors, Members of the European Parliament and independent experts. A EURONEWS Contributor and co-host, he also presents the EURACTIV series ‘The Presidency’ and ‘Over A Coffee’. He specialises in European politics and business; producing short documentary films and news reports exploring Europe’s competing policy dimensions. A graduate in Government and Law, he has worked across a broad range of publications, especially within the business-to-business sector. A specialist in corporate and political communications, his clients include start-ups, SMEs, blue chip companies, and NGOs with a human rights focus.
Follow on Twitter: @BrianMaguireE
Already 450+ registrations! Register now.
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.
Katja Wolthers
Clinical virologist at the Department of Medical Microbiology of the University Medical Center Amsterdam and Director of Organovir (The Netherlands)
“The recent SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to an overwhelming amount of published papers on pathophysiology, treatment and vaccine development against COVID-19, and many of these studies include research with animals. Although animal models have historically contributed immensely, the limitations of these models for virology are also clear. Animal models do not adequately reproduce human viral disease pathophysiology and in some instances, pathogens have a unique human host range that cannot be replicated in an animal model. As a part of the preparedness against emerging infectious diseases, human models are needed that are better predictors of disease outcome, immune response, and potential therapeutics. The current pandemic provides ample opportunity to rapidly develop such human disease models, either in vitro with organoid technology or in silico with integrating data from different fields to build virtual disease models. A major future challenge lies in reduction and replacement of animal models for viral vaccine research. Now is the time to start."
Félix Carvalho
President-Elect of EUROTOX, President of the Portuguese Society of Pharmacology, President of the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto and Vice-Director of the Applied Molecular Biosciences Unit (Portugal)
“The COVID-19 pandemic has severe health effects and serious implications for economic growth and social development. In this context, the scientific community has played an exemplary role in responding to this global emergency, prioritizing research into this disease. As the quest to find suitable vaccines and/or drugs follows an unprecedented swiftness, it is also time to emphasize the importance of the 3Rs implementation in COVID-19 research. A major difficulty in animal studies results from the lack of animal models that reflect the common pathology in the majority of COVID-19 patients, including infection dynamics and transmission, as well as similar immune response to vaccine candidates. Here, the application of new (animal-free) approach methodologies, such as human in vitro assays of different complexity ranging from high-throughput assays, 2D or 3D cellular models and human tissue slices to organ-on-a-chip approaches, can be proven to be extremely useful, allowing research based on specific features of human biology. Such approaches comply with the Directive 2010/63/EU, in which the principle of the 3Rs needs to be considered when selecting testing approaches to be used for regulatory testing of human and veterinary medicinal products, and may provide vital and swift data for a safe progression to clinical testing."
Christine Mummery
President of the European Organ-on-Chip Society (The Netherlands)
“Emerging models proving very useful for COVID-19 research are human stem cells which can be differentiated to many cell types and incorporated in Organ-on-Chip formats. In this way they often capture human tissue physiology and its response to viral infection, since as importantly for COVID-19, SARS-COV-2 only infects human cells, not those of mice. By using existing human stem cell derived cardiac, lung, liver, gut and blood vessel models, researchers are able to rapidly evaluate the effects of anti-virals and drugs including their cardiotoxicity. Furthermore, these models are leading to better understanding of how infection affects the heart and other organs. By leveraging existing models and measurement methods, impact beyond conventional approaches will be accelerated by providing data immediately relevant to clinicians. In this way a reduction of preclinical cardiac safety assessment from months in animal models to just weeks in these systems can be expected. Another serious problem for COVID patients is thrombosis in small blood vessels which causes serious tissue damage. Blood vessels-on-chip through which blood from COVID-19 patients flows, are also promising tools to gain insight into how thrombosis occurs in COVID-19 patients and how to prevent it.”
11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
E. info@wc11maastricht.org
T. +31 (0)43 362 70 08
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