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Gireesh Babu, New Delhi September 28 , 2022
In an effort to expedite the functioning of Institutional Animal Ethics Committees (IAECs) as part of expediting the drug research and approval processes, the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) has recommended that the IAEC meetings should be conducted through hybrid mode if required.

The Committee, in its 101st meeting held recently, has recommended that the meetings of IAECs may be convened through hybrid mode if required, to expedite the functioning of IAEC. It may be noted that in the same meeting, the Committee recommended use of stray dogs for new vaccine trials and challenge studies of vaccines subject to adhering to the guidelines of the Committee.

The CPCSEA, in its latest order to all the registered establishments and nominees of the Committee, said that in case of the IAEC meetings being held through hybrid mode, the attendance sheet of the IAEC members who have attended the meeting through online mode is not required.

Instead, the recommendation emails of those IAEC members attending the meeting through online mode are to be attached along with the attendance sheet of the members attending the meeting physically.

A screenshot of the meeting being held though hybrid mode is also to be attached as proof of the meeting, it said among other details.

However, the annual as well as external inspections have to be conducted physically only by the nominees of CPCSEA, it added.

As per the CPCSEA norms, the IAECs are constituted by the institutions which conduct research, to supervise and evaluate all aspects of the animal care and use programme in the institution under Rule 5(a) of the Breeding and Experiment on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998.

The CPCSEA is a statutory Committee of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MoFAH&D) constituted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.

CPCSEA is duty bound to take all such measures as may be necessary to ensure that animals are not subjected to unnecessary pain or suffering before, during or after performance of experiments on them. For this purpose, the Committee formulated the Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control & Supervision) Rules, 1998 (amended in 2001 & 2006) to regulate the experimentation on animals.

Under the provisions of these rules, establishments who are engaged in Bio-medical research, breeding and trading of laboratory animals are required to get themselves registered with CPCSEA. There are 19 members in the present CPCSEA.

The main functions of CPCSEA are registration of establishments conducting animal experimentation or breeding of animals for this purpose; selection and assignment of nominees for the Institutional Animal Ethics Committees of the registered establishments; and approval of animal house facilities on the basis of reports of inspections conducted by CPCSEA.

Besides, it is also the authority to give permission for conducting experiments involving use of animals; action against establishments in case of established violation of any legal norm/stipulation; conduct of Training Programmes for the Nominees of CPCSEA; and conduct/Support of Conference/workshop on Animal Ethics.

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