Jeremy Jones (Produced Better INC.)
Matthew Mauldin (CDC)
Many agencies, universities, zoos, and research labs need to collect blood from bats. Currently, disease surveillance in bats has high costs and requires considerable time and a high degree of skill for blood collection. In addition, current collection techniques for non-sedated bats typically require two people, with one restraining the bat while the other collects the blood sample. This can cause stress to the animal, inefficient blood draws (both for sample quality and potential additional attempts), and a safety risk to the field researchers or laboratory scientists (for potential bites or needle sticks while handling the animal). Bats and rodents are important zoonotic disease reservoirs with need for continued research. Although there are restraint devices designed for rodents, no commercially available blood collection restraints exist for bats.
The team developed a proof-of-concept bat restraint and successfully used it in the lab. Researchers then consulted 3D printing experts to develop this product for CDC’s internal uses. Collaborators designed a prototype and produced 3D printed model iterations. All laboratory scientists that participated in piloting the device agreed the device improved safety for both the bats and staff. These safety concerns are important in all animal handling settings, especially when handling infected animals.
The adapted device reduces the potential risks of needle sticks to researchers, reduces the stress on the animal, and increases the efficiency of blood collection and blood sample quality. The restraint lessens the need for bat manipulation and enables a safer and more efficient collection of blood performed by a single individual. This device can help public health efforts by improving techniques involved with bat-disease surveillance and laboratory study activities, leading to more successful outcomes and higher quality lab analyses. This device will work for use in field and laboratory settings.
CDC plans to further develop this device by adjusting the bat capsule dimensions and augmenting the restraint size to accommodate multiple bat species. The device can be scaled easily and made into multiple sizes/configurations for needed fit. CDC would like to produce and market these devices through a corporate partnership — or license them to laboratory research and/or bat research supply companies for sale on their existing platforms.
- Restraint method for blood sample collection in bats
- Monitoring and public health surveillance
- Research studies/research tool
- A tool for use in therapeutic and vaccine development
- Quality assurance/quality control
- Veterinary use
- Increased safety for researchers handling bats
- Less handling and stress to the bats with improved blood draw efficiency (both for sample quality/quantity and potentially fewer attempts needed)
- Time and cost savings with less need for highly skilled workers to collect blood
- Blood collection performed by only one individual
- Easily scaled and adaptable for different bat sizes and species
- Appropriate for field and laboratory use