IACUC COVID-19 FAQs

Last updated: April 23, 2020

On this page you'll find answers to commonly asked questions pertaining to Cornell IACUC office functions and animal research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

IACUC Office Functions

A:  Yes. The IACUC Committee and staff are functioning remotely during regular business hours.

A: The easiest way to contact the IACUC is by emailing iacuc@cornell.edu. You can also find contact information for specific IACUC staff on our website. IACUC staff are responding to both email and phone messages during regular business hours, with email being the fastest way to get in touch. Staff are also happy to arrange phone calls or Zoom meetings, as needed.

A: Although all in-person meetings are currently paused, IACUC staff are happy to meet remotely (e.g., phone, Zoom, email).  We encourage you to email iacuc@cornell.edu to schedule a time to speak with our IACUC staff members. 

Submitting to the IACUC and Conduct of Research Activities

A: Yes, the IACUC is still reviewing and approving submissions. Please note, these approvals do NOT supersede the guidance posted on the Research Continuity Webpage.

A: Only if it is essential and approved by your dean. As part of Cornell’s reduction of laboratory research (see announcement dated March 15, 2020), non-essential research should be paused, and no new experiments can be started. Essential research is defined as experiments aimed at understanding, treating, or preventing COVID-19 viral infection, or research activities that involve:

  • Essential care for animals, plants, and unique or expensive cell cultures or biological specimens that would otherwise be lost,
  • Preservation of unique reagents and other unique or expensive materials, and
  • Maintaining equipment (e.g., liquid nitrogen and liquid helium systems, and shared computational clusters) that cannot be maintained remotely or shut down without significant cost or consequences to the research effort.

All plans to continue laboratory activities or experiments must be submitted to your department chair. Final decision lies with the dean of the college. For Centers in the Research Division, the decision lies with the VPR. New projects must initially be approved by the Cornell SARS-CoV-2 Essential Research Approval Committee (SERAC) or the Biomedical Equipment and Testing Rapid Response (BETRR) Committee.

A: Please refer to procedures and guidelines from Cornell’s Environmental, Health, and Safety office.

A: While not unilaterally forbidden, Cornell strongly discourages in-person research, including field studies, at this time, regardless of location. Unless research is considered essential, we still recommend that investigators postpone the study. Other restrictions may apply depending on location and local, state, national or international policies (see NYS DOH, CDC, WHO, and local health agencies for updates).

A: Guidance from the NIH states that whenever possible, euthanasia should be avoided. Alternative options include postponing experimental procedures, transferring animals to another protocol or researcher, adoption, or cryopreservation for certain species. An IACUC protocol amendment will need to be submitted for cryopreservation, but not for postponing experimental procedures. If experimental timelines are altered, an amendment may need to be submitted. Please contact the IACUC staff if you have specific questions about your research and whether an amendment will be needed. Investigators should notify the study sponsor and any other necessary individuals or agencies of changes, as required.

A: Yes.  Even if the research is paused for the time being, the PI must still submit the Annual Review or Protocol Renewal to ensure that the study stays active.  This will allow the research to begin immediately when appropriate and/or permitted. 

A: No. Inspections are currently postponed and will resume when Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order is lifted.