Vanessa C. Bones, Augusto H. Gameiro, Juliana G. Castilho and Carla F.M. Molento
The decision to use laboratory animals rather than in vitro methods is frequently based on the financial costs involved, so the objective of our study was to compare the costs of performing the Mouse Inoculation Test (MIT) and Virus Isolation in Cell Culture (VICC) for use in rabies diagnosis in Brazil. Based on observations of laboratory routines at the Pasteur Institute, São Paulo, we listed the fixed cost (FC) and variable cost (VC) items necessary to perform both tests. Considering that 200 MITs are equivalent to 350 VICC assays, in terms of facilities and staff-hours needed per month, we calculated, for both tests, the average total cost per sample, the costs of the implementation of the laboratory structure, and the costs of routine use. With regard to absolute values, the total cost was mainly influenced by FC items, as they represented 60% of the cost for the MIT and 86% of the cost for VICC. A sample analysed by the MIT costs around 205% more than one analysed by using VICC. The MIT costs 74% and 406% more than VICC, when implementation costs and routine use per month, respectively, are taken into account. Our results can assist in the resolution of costing disputes that could hinder the replacement of animals for rabies diagnosis in Brazil. The method demonstrated here might also be useful for cost comparisons in other situations where animal use still continues when validated alternatives exist.
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