The University of Iowa

Biologic Testing - Guidance and Procedures for Rodent Biologic Testing (Informational Sheet)

Informational Sheet: The Office of Animal Resources has provided a set of guidance documents (Policies, Guidelines, and Informational Sheets) for use when planning animal procedures at the University of Iowa. This Informational Sheet provides the current guidance on recommended testing of research biologics for pathogens.



Administration of human or animal tissues or other biological materials into animals, especially rodents, is a common research practice. These materials may be contaminated with a variety of agents that may be infectious to humans or animals and potentially jeopardize the health of both. Additionally, contaminating pathogens may act as a confounding variable on research results.  Collaborative research is the rule rather than the exception in today’s research environment. As rodents, especially mice, and biological materials including cell lines are shared between investigators within and between institutions, it greatly facilitates collaborative research to ensure that animals and biological samples are free of pathogens.


  • Rodent Biologic Material:
    • Cultured or primary cells, tissues, infectious agents, or serum/plasma that originates in a rodent species (mouse, rat, or other rodent)
    • Cells, tissues, infectious agents, or serum/plasma from humans and other non-rodent animals which have been exposed to rodents or rodent biologics either directly (in vivo passage) or indirectly (via tissue culture or treatment)

Recommendations for Testing:

Rodent colonies within the Animal Facilities at the University of Iowa are screened through a health monitoring program for infectious diseases and are maintained free of viruses and other microbial agents capable of interfering with research. The health of the colonies and the integrity of research can be endangered by inadvertent introduction of untested biological material carrying pathogens.

It is recommended that Rodent Biologic Materials be demonstrated free of common rodent pathogens prior to administration to a rodent housed in OAR Animal Housing.


Testing Procedures and Resources:

  • Rodent Biologic Materials may be demonstrated free of excluded pathogens in the following ways:
    • Commercial PCR testing of a representative portion of the cell line or tissue carried in culture, or of the pooled biologic material (serum, infectious agent, etc.)
    • Documentation from the vendor/supplier of appropriate testing for excluded pathogens (see list below).
  • A contracted rate for PCR testing for all UI-excluded pathogens has been established with the diagnostic labs of IDEXX BioAnalytics
    • A combination panel of excluded pathogen testing WITH confirmation of cell line identity is also available from IDEXX BioAnalytics, for those who need to perform any cell line confirmation testing.
    • Contact a veterinarian at to ensure submission at contract rates for these panels.
  • Alternately, Charles River Diagnostic Lab’s “Mouse Essential Panel” and/or “Rat Essential Panel” covers all excluded agents and is an accepted option for the required testing. (Details at under “Health Surveillance” section)


Recommended Agent Panels:


Biologics to be Administered to a Mouse:

Agent Name


Mouse Hepatitis Virus / Mouse Coronavirus


Minute Virus of Mice


Mouse Parvoviruses


Mouse Rotavirus/Epizootic Diarrhea of Infant Mice


Theiler’s Murine Encephalomyelitis Virus


Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus


Sendai virus


Pneumonia Virus of Mice


Reovirus (Type 3)


Ectromelia Virus (Mousepox)


Mouse Adenovirus 1 and 2


Mycoplasma pulmonis

M. pulmonis


 Biologics to be Administered to a Rat:

Agent Name


Rat Coronavirus/Sialodacryoadenitis Virus


Rat Parvovirus


Rat Minute Virus


Kilham Rat Virus / Rat Virus


Toolan’s H-1 Virus


Rat Theilovirus


Pneumocystis carinii

P. carinii



Lab reviewed by the IACUC 8/11/2021