Veterinary Medicine

The AFRIMS Department of Veterinary Medicine supports both basic and pre-clinical medical research. Research animals are the bridge between bench top research and humans, representing the critical gatekeeper in ensuring safe and effective compounds for administration to people. Our disease models reliably evaluate life-saving vaccines and therapeutics, reflecting a long history of advancing products through licensure and into the field around the world. Our professional staff includes certified technicians, licensed veterinarians, Ph.D. scientists, a board-certified veterinarian in laboratory animal medicine and a board-certified veterinary pathologist.

Our department is home to breeding colonies of nonhuman primates and laboratory mice. Routine disease surveillance ensures both colonies are free from a number of specific pathogens. All research work, animal husbandry and veterinary medical support are conducted in a facility equipped with state-of-the-art treatment rooms, surgical suite, ultrasound, radiology, endoscopy, necropsy suite and a dedicated in-house laboratory capable of generating Good Laboratory Practices-compliant clinical, molecular and pathology data. Animal research can be conducted in either biosafety level-2 or BSL-3 containment conditions.

Our facility is fully accredited through AAALAC International and all research is conducted under the purview of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. We strive to ensure our animals thrive in an enriched environment that encourages normal behaviors and socialization. In particular, our nonhuman primates are very comfortable around our caretaker staff; they have been trained to voluntarily present their arms for blood collection and use computerized tablets to assess cognition. Our facility enables large group housing in stimulating environments where their familiar social hierarchy can be retained and while being exposed to their native environmental conditions. We believe these well-adapted, healthy and socialized animals produce the highest quality research data available.

The AFRIMS veterinary team, with support from its Comparative Pathology section, has utilized numerous infectious disease animal models over the years in support of medical countermeasure development. The development process often involves months of animal and staff training and hundreds of hours running assays by laboratory staff. Examples include:

In addition, our dedicated personnel can quickly and effectively adapt and implement new protocols.

Veterinary medicine naturally lies in the overlapping disciplines of animal, environmental and human health; addressing challenges in these arenas are best served by utilizing the One Health approach in which all three factors are considered. In that context, our veterinary professionals routinely engage in initiatives including field surveillance of zoonotic disease among livestock in Thailand, didactic and hands-on training for medical and veterinary practitioners in Laos and Cambodia in animal disease detection and engagements on awareness efforts of endemic disease with military personnel in Bangladesh and Laotian medical providers. Our experienced personnel are available to provide training in areas of veterinary pathology, laboratory animal research, medicine, husbandry and animal model development. We can support a range of efforts to expand capacity to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases.

Partnerships and Collaborations:
Veterinary Medicine works with partners across Southeast Asia and around the world including partner militaries, U.S. government and DOD agencies, non- and intergovernmental organizations, academic universities and industry laboratories.
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