Introduction: The term 'select agent' (SA) refers to a list of microorganisms and toxins and are defined as those that have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety (42 C.F.R. Part 73). In order to carry out a research with SAs, an Animal Biosafety Level 3 (ABSL3) containment facility is required. Our newly completed ABSL3 facility is developing protocols for implementing safety and efficacy studies of therapeutics for SAs.
Methods: The primary purpose of this study was to develop methods for exposing non-human primates (NHP) to aerosolized SAs in the ABSL3 and systematically measure specific ventilatory endpoints (frequency, tidal volume, minute volume, and accumulated volume) using a head-out plethysmograph to more precisely control dosimetry. This report details the equipment and protocols used to conduct such studies within a containment facility.
Results: After validating the performance of the plethysmography system, we successfully exposed NHPs to an agent using the integrated plethysmography system. The system enabled an acquisition and analysis of ventilatory characteristics, facilitating accurate estimations of the inhaled dose.
Discussion: This system will have clear uses in the development of novel therapeutics and vaccines for the treatment of SAs in NHPs.