Vanessa C. Bones, Heloísa C. Clemente, Daniel M. Weary and Carla F.M. Molento
The use of laboratory animals is still common practice, but some uses can be replaced by alternative methods, such as Virus Isolation in Cell Culture (VICC) instead of the Mouse Inoculation Test (MIT) for rabies diagnosis. The objective of this work was to describe current rabies diagnosis methods in Brazil and other countries, and the constraints associated with replacing this use of mice with alternative methods. Nine out of 12 Brazilian and 14 out of 43 non-Brazilian respondents reported that they currently used the MIT. Respondents in countries other than Brazil, male respondents, and those already employing in vitro methods for rabies diagnosis, expressed higher levels of support for the use of alternatives. The most frequently reported constraints associated with the use of alternatives were lack of laboratory facilities, equipment and materials (cited 17 times by respondents), and lack of financial resources (cited 15 times). The results indicate that many laboratories continue to use mice for rabies diagnosis. The proportion of laboratories that use mice appears to be especially high in Brazil, despite animal protection laws and technical guidelines that favour the use of alternatives. The barriers to the adoption of alternative methods identified in the current study provide a basis for facilitating changes in Brazil and elsewhere.