Comparative Medicine Core Facility

General working rules

CoMed is clean compared to the outside world. It is very important to protect the animals against infections entering from the surroundings, as such infections might seriously affect the research projects and the health of our animals. Working in an animal facility might also represent a health risk for researchers and staff. Please pay close attention to our general working rules before taking use of the facility. We have written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for several of the procedures taking place in our facility. The most common SOPs are available on our website. Please make sure to follow these when you plan your work, and contact the staff if you have any questions. Additional SOPs will be developed and implemented when new procedures are introduced in the facility.


Receiving information from the facility - email list

We use an email list when sending information to our users, and we strongly recommend all users to sign up. To do so, send an email to the head of facility.

Routines for entering and leaving the facility:

  • Pur your name, date and time of entry on the white board outside the entrance.
  • On the "dirty" side of the barrier, remove your personal clothes (not underwear) and place them in a locker.
  • Wash your hands and apply disinfectant.
  • Step over the barrier
  • Put on clean scrubs, clean shoes and hair net and enter the facility.
  • When leaving: step over the barrier, place scrubs in washing bag, hair net and mask in waste bin, wash your hands, put on your personal clothes and leave the facility. Please remember to remove your name from the white board.
  • IMPORTANT: Bring as little equipment as possible into the facility. We have paper and pens available, please do not bring your own. Use the equipment barrier when bringing equipment into the facility and make sure to disinfect it properly. More information about equipment entry is found below.

Personal protective equipment

Laboratory clothes, hairnet, mask and gloves are mandatory when working with laboratory animals. Disposable coats are recommended when working with rats. This is to protect the animals against infections and you from allergens. Some tasks may require protection beyond this. Make yourself familiar with the appropriate MSDS's and safety sheets, and make sure you use gloves approved for the substance you are working with. Gloves with higher chemical protection can be found in the surgery rooms. A procedure for clothing is found in the wardrobes. If in doubt, contact the head of the facility.

Quarantine regulations

We have various infection statuses on our units. The transgenic breeding unit and the SPF unit are our cleanest units. This means that only animals with SPF status (specific-pathogen-free) are allowed to enter these units. Animals without a documented SPF standard will be housed in the quarantine unit until rederived and tested negative.

There are also quarantine rules for personell moving between the different units:

  •  48 hours quarantine after working in the quarantine unit or I3 laboratory before you can work in the SPF-unit.
  • Anyone who has been working on big animal unit and wore the required safety equipment, i.e. the units own clothes, hairnet, 3M mask, gloves, and has showered, can work on the SPF unit the next day. Otherwise the 48-hour rule applies here too.
  •  There's no quarantine if you go from SPF to quarantine/I3 or large animal unit.

Contact with rodents

We have a 48-hour quarantine after being in contact with other rodents, both pets and rodents from other animal facilities. This is to prevent our animals from being subjected to contamination from other rodents. Such pathogens could influence the laboratory animals and destroy the experiments in progress at our facility.

Order and hygiene

Everyone is responsible for cleaning up after themselves. You must leave the workplace as it was when you started your work.

All reusable equipment that has been in contact with laboratory animals or biological material must be washed, disinfected, and if possible autoclaved.

Dirty surgical equipment can be placed in the box by the sink in the surgery room. If you bring your own equipment, please inform the technicians, to keep your equipment separate from the unit's equipment.

Virkon is the recommended disinfectant. Virkon is used for disinfecting surfaces after working with biological material. Reusable equipment that can't tolerate autoclaving can be dipped in Virkon for at least 30 minutes. Wipe all surfaces and equipment free from Virkon afterwards.

Ethanol is used for wiping workbenches, glass surfaces and similar smooth surfaces, after cleaning with soap and water. Spray from the bottle and wipe with paper tissue. This cannot replace Virkon if biological material is spilled. NB; Do not use ethanol on the anesthesia chambers.

Chloramine: can in some cases replace Virkon. Clean surfaces and equipment with soap and spray with Chloramine. 1 hour duration. Wipe the surfaces and equipment after the disinfection.

We also have disinfectant surface wipes available, for equipment that doesn't tolerate ethanol or Virkon.

We offer dry fogging of equipment before it is brought into the facility. The disinfection process takes about 3-4 hours, and needs to be arranged in advance. Please contact daily manager.

Waste disposals

All hazardous waste must be disposed of in specific hazardous waste boxes labeled with content.

  • All waste from animal rooms and surgery rooms shall be disposed as hazardous waste, in yellow hazard waste boxes.
  • Spiky/cutting waste shall be disposed in yellow buckets on surgery table and in vestibules.
  • Chemicals/ drugs : Read specific MSDS or ask facility staff.
  • Pathological waste is put in the freezer allocated for the purpose. Use the freezer for saving of samples if you want to keep them, the freezer for waste if not.

Booking of room, medical-technical equipment, drugs and technical assistanse

Surgery rooms, procedure rooms, labs and some of the medical-technical equipment available in the facility are booked through Ilab. You can find more information under "Information about our facility" and in Ilab. You can also request assistanse from a technician through Ilab. Technicians are otherwise available in the unit, if you have questions during your experiment. Anesthetics and analgetics are obtained by request and billed to your project. Other equipment and drugs can also be ordered on request. Please contact the daily manager or send an email to

Ordering and import of animals

Animals from commercial suppliers are ordered though the daily manager. Place your order by Wednesday morning for delivery Friday the next week. This is done by sending an email to with the necessary information: species, strain, sex, number of animals, age/body weight, FOTS-number, project number.

If you want to import animals from a non-commercial source, please contact head of facility well in advance. If the animals are not of SPF status, they have to be rederived and health monitored before they can enter the transgenic breeding unit or SPF unit.

Animal colony management system - MLIMS

We register all cages and rodents in our animal colony management system, MLIMS, at arrival or at birth. The information is linked to your research group, and to yoiur FOTS projects when relevant. For access to MLIMS, please contact Anne Åm or Trine Skoglund.


Loan of equipment

The facility's surgical instruments are available for all users. The same applies for the disposable equipment, scales, sentrifuges, pipettes etc.

If you want to borrow equipment from another research group you must have consent in advance.

Do not move equipment from one room to another without approval from the facility staff. 

Transport animals/equipment in the unit/ between the units

It is not permitted to bring equipment into the facility without prior agreement with the head of facility. That also applies to moving equipment from the dirty (quarantine and large animal unit) to the SPF/transgenic unit. Inform head of facility or daily manager minimum a few days before your equipment arrives, so we can assist you in disinfecting it properly.

All transport of animals into, out of or between units shall be agreed with the head of facility. Read separate SOP:  Transport of animals outside CoMed.

You are not permitted to move animals from dirty to clean units without rederivation and subsequent health monitoring.

Pregnant employees

The facility has a SOP for pregnant employees. This is available under HSE and also in the facility.  We recommend pregnant employees to inform the head of facility as soon as possible, to discuss facilitation of working tasks and the use of personal protective equipment.

Visitors in the unit

You are not permitted to take visitors into the unit without prior agreement with the head of facility. This is important also for visiting researchers and people from the media. Read separate SOP under HSE: Visitors to CoMed.


You are not permitted to take pictures in the unit without prior agreement with the head of facility. For the safety of yourself and others, do not post pictures on social media.

Fire alarm

If the fire alarm goes off, leave the facility as quickly as possible through the marked emergency exits. The meeting place for all evacuees is in front of the building. If you are performing a surgical procedure and don't observe signs of danger (smoke a.s.o), you can wait for 5 minutes. If you have not by that time been in contact with the fire manager of the facility, euthanize the animal and leave the facility as soon as possible.

Biological material

(Cell-lines, tissue, blood, serum, ascites fluids a.s.o.)

Biological material can carry pathogens that might be a danger to you, the animals or the research projects. All biological material should be tested according to FELASAs recommendations before it is brought into the facility. Contact the head of facility well in advance if you are planning to bring biological material in to the unit.

Biological material might form aerosols and contaminate others in the room. Avoid procedures that increase the chance of aerosol formation, make sure you wear the necessary personal protective equipment and reduce the risk of spreading the aerosols. Example: Have a piece of paper in front of the needle when you remove air from the syringe.

All work with biological material must be risk assessed and SOP's should be developed as needed.

Everyone working with biological material is responsible for ensuring that the possible infectious material and equipment are either disinfected in the unit or secured according to the routines for waste treatment before it is taken out of the unit. The preferred procedure should be a part of the SOP.

Projects involving biological factors in hazard group 2 and 3 must be reported to The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.

Genetically modified organisms

CoMed has approval for housing genetically modified animals and genetically modified microorganisms. All use of genetically modified animals and microorganisms should be reported to the Department of health before the animals or microorganisms are brought in to the facility. Please contact head of facility well in advance if you plan to bring such animals or microorganisms into the facility.



Thu, 26 Apr 2018 09:44:48 +0200