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The Next Generation of Colony Health Monitoring™

Sentinel™ EAD®: The Next Generation of
Colony Health Monitoring

A partnership between Allentown, Inc. and Charles River Laboratories - two of Laboratory Animal Science's most trusted and respected companies - has lead to the next generation of rodent colony health monitoring, making traditional sentinel animal monitoring programs all but obsolete.

Sentinel™ EAD® is an evolutionary, new Colony Health Monitoring Solution that advances the standard in health monitoring by combining an innovative, exhaust air dust plenum (EAD®) capture method with PCR analysis. This unique pairing provides a colony health monitoring solution that produces more accurate results, reduces labor and cost, and requires less sentinel animals than traditional dirty bedding sentinel testing.

Patent Pending, Allentown Incorporated and Charles River Laboratories. Sentinel is a trademark of Allentown, Inc., EAD is a registered trademark of Charles River Laboratories, Inc.

Less Sentinel Animals

Estimated at up to 1,000,000 animals annually, the rodents required for traditional dirty bedding sentinel programs can now be significantly reduced, decreasing the labor and cost necessary for their care, and bringing facilities that use the new system closer in line with the 3Rs!

More Accurate Results

Tested extensively by Charles River and Allentown, the Sentinel EAD protocol not only increases detection percentages of the most commonly tested agents, but also expands the number and variety of agents that can be tested and detected.
Agent: Sentinel Animals Sentinel EAD
Protozoa: 10% Positive 100% Postive
Mites & Pinworms: 6.3% Positive 100% Postive
Bacteria: 21.4% Positive 85.7% Positive
Viruses: 31.3% Positive 100% Postive
Average of All Agents: 17.25% Positive 96.4% Positive
Note: Data represents 5% simulated prevalence.
Charles River test results were presented at the 2015 AALAS Tri-Branch Symposium

ALL SYSTEMS ARE NOT THE SAME!

Sentinel EAD utilizes exhaust air dust (EAD) collection in conjunction with PCR analysis to achieve tremendous results. And as increasing numbers of industry leaders become convinced of the efficacy of EAD, the questions now become: "Are all EAD capture systems the same?" and "Does EAD capture work the same in all IVCs?" The answer to both questions is NO. EAD collection - the backbone of Sentinel EAD - works best in Allentown IVCs. Here's why:

The combination of Allentown's Collection Media material, its placement at the top of a NexGen vertical exhaust plenum, and Allentown's industry leading airflow performance serves to maximize the efficacy of EAD and achieve results unobtainable in other IVCs and other EAD systems.


Patented Collection Media and specially-designed media holder
situated at the ideal location at the top of the vertical exhaust plenum.

Patented Collection Media attracts dust
particles but does not "load" like a filter.

Reduced Labor and Cost: How it Works

Sentinel EAD was conceived to make colony health monitoring as simple and easy to perform as possible, streamlining all facets of the process from product procurement, to agent collection, to sample submission, to receipt of results. This streamlining of process - combined with a reduction in animals, animal handling, and shipping costs - makes Sentinel EAD not only easy to use, but far more cost effective as well!

Making the Move:
Sentinel Animals to Exhaust Air Dust PCR

While some vivariums are early adopters of EAD PCR, others are still warming to the idea of EAD PCR. Representatives from different institutions who initially adopted a swabbing technique for EAD collection are now either moving to or trialing the suspended media design. Their experiences evaluating the data, as well as the decision-making process and what factors impacted the ultimate choice to adopt EAD will shed light on common questions and concerns that much of the LAS industry currently shares.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is Sentinel EAD more efficient than other health assessment methods?

Why is Sentinel EAD more efficient than other health assessment methods?

The purpose of the EAD/PCR testing process is to provide researchers with the most thorough and accurate rodent colony health assessment possible. There are other colony health assessment solutions available (dirty-bedding sentinels, plenum swabbing, etc.) but recent testing proves that they do not provide the same level of colony health monitoring as the Sentinel EAD/PCR solution. In addition to the more accurate and thorough health assessments, the Sentinel EAD method significantly reduces the amount of labor necessary to monitor colony health, and reduces the need for the use of sentinel animals.

Why is Sentinel EAD a better method than traditional Dirty-Bedding Sentinel programs?

Why is Sentinel EAD a better method than traditional Dirty-Bedding Sentinel programs?

Dirty-Bedding Sentinel Programs have been the gold standard for many years. However, it has been well established that many agents do not transfer well using the traditional dirty bedding model.

Additionally, Dirty Bedding Sentinel Programs require much more labor, more materials and require animals for use as sentinels. EAD/PCR is faster, easier, better, and meets the spirit of the three R's.

Why is Sentinel EAD a better method than plenum swabbing?

Why is Sentinel EAD a better method than plenum swabbing?

Plenum swabbing increases the accuracy of heath screening over dirty-bedding sentinel programs, but is neither as labor-efficient nor accurate as Sentinel EAD/PCR. Its most significantly drawback is its tendency of providing results based upon residual nucleic acid within the IVC rack. The dust being swabbed from the plenum surfaces could be from legacy animals, providing information on animals no longer housed on that rack. This is the main drawback of sampling dust that has fallen out of the rack airstream. Allentown IVCs and how they manage airflow help Sentinel EAD determine the relevant animal health status by keeping dust particles suspended within the airflow until they reach our specialized capture media. This ensures relevant samples from currently housed animals.

Plenum swabbing collection efficiency can also be influenced by the collection technique of the user, the number of plenums sampled by each swab and the common practice of batching swabs can lead to potentially inconsistent sample collection and less-accurate colony health assessments. The Sentinel EAD method provides maximum EAD collection in the most consistent and efficient manner possible, while reducing labor and increasing colony health assessment accuracy.

Why is Sentinel EAD better than batching samples?

Why is Sentinel EAD better than batching samples?

Batching swabs may be more convenient than submitting individual samples, but it comes at a cost...the reduction of reporting accuracy. Facilities may accept the results of their batched samples and/or the convenience of batching over dirty-bedding sentinel methods; however the colony heath assessment will not be as thorough as Sentinel EAD/PCR assessments. If animal health is paramount, Sentinel EAD/PCR testing provides an unmatched level of colony heath assessment within a rodent facility.

Can you put more than one collection media into your test tubes?

Can you put more than one collection media into your test tubes?

The main benefit of the Sentinel EAD solution is the increased health monitoring accuracy. The accuracy is increased due to a variety of reasons, two of which being the ability to capture sufficient exhaust air dust on the specialized collection media, and the ability to harvest the highest amount of material from the collection media for testing. Putting two collection media into one conical tube would require changes to the washing process that would yield far fewer copy numbers during the replication process. This diminished sensitivity would significantly reduce the reporting accuracy by forcing agents below the threshold of detection. Batching could significantly reduce the sensitivity of the Sentinel EAD system, and would not allow Charles River to provide the level of diagnostics expected and required by the research community.

How is Sentinel EAD designed to help reduce the potential of false positives?

How is Sentinel EAD designed to help reduce the potential of false positives?

Concerns over residual nucleic acid have primarily arisen during swabbing in combination with PCR. The Sentinel EAD system may not suffer from that issue, as it does not require lifting of material using a sticky swab for testing. The likelihood that residual material would be re- aerosolized and captured on the Sentinel EAD media is very low. Sentinel EAD captures airborne dust that travels within the airstream in the Allentown manifolds and plenums. Testing has proven that the Allentown air management system, the Sentinel EAD holder and specialized collection media comprise a system that collects relevant and current EAD sample material.

Residual nucleic acids present after rack washing will be very limited in number, and will usually reside outside of the main airstream within the Allentown rack. If collected by the airstream, the residual numbers will be far below the copy numbers of all other agents present on the rack. Additionally, if it is not an excluded agent, there is no need for concern regarding the health status of the rack.

If excluded agents are detected on a rack using any testing method, the rack should be taken out of service and thoroughly washed and sanitized. Once back in use, racks may contain some residual DNA after washing that will show up on future colony health monitoring testing; but as already stated, if it is not an excluded agent there is no need for concern regarding the health status of the rack.

False Positives can be concerning, however False Negatives pose much more of a threat to colony health status, and that is exactly why Sentinel EAD was developed...to give the most thorough and accurate colony health assessment possible.

Why is Sentinel EAD a better method than other IVC manufacturers' EAD sampling programs?

Why is Sentinel EAD a better method than other IVC manufacturers' EAD sampling programs?

All IVCs are not the same! Allentown's unmatched expertise in airflow, rack design and manufacturing is the main reason why our Sentinel EAD system is the most efficient way to capture EAD. Allentown is the leader of airflow design, airflow management, and experts on how IVCs react within the research setting. Our engineering pedigree comes from years of airflow and HVAC design at the commercial and residential levels. Our experts know airflow, and over the past 20 years they have adapted proven methodologies to model the very unique airflow needs of the laboratory animal housing market. Our expertise allows us to design air-handling systems for IVC racks, and also design IVC racks with the appropriate plenum and manifold proportions to make certain we deliver the most constant and reliable airflow to our IVC units...for the safety of the animals and your personnel. This over-engineering of our airflow design is exactly what allows us to capture the correct particle sizes, keep them in the airstream throughout the entire journey through our manifolds and plenums, and have them captured on an expertly designed collection mechanism on a specialized media.

Why is it important to keep the EAD within the airstream?

Why is it important to keep the EAD within the airstream?

If the dust particles drop out of the airstream they will lay in the plenums and manifolds of the IVC rack. The dust not reaching the collection media will not allow a thorough analysis of the colony health on that particular IVC rack. Other IVC manufacturers have airflow and rack designs that can actually promote dust falling out of their airstream...that is why they are not attempting to collect EAD at a central plenum location like the Allentown method. Their plenum and airflow design cannot hold the EAD within the airstream nearly as consistently or efficiently as Sentinel EAD.

Why is collecting EAD at the centralized plenum level a better method than collecting at a HEPA or pre-filter?

Why is collecting EAD at the centralized plenum level a better method than collecting at a HEPA or pre-filter?

When developing Sentinel EAD, our engineering and airflow experts experimented with a wide range of collection locations and media. Using a small piece of media at a HEPA or prefilter location works to some extent, but there are major drawbacks:

  • The media in those locations acts as a filter (meaning air has to pass through it)
  • Acting as a filter means the filter will load with debris
  • Once the filter reaches a maximum load, it will no longer collect EAD
  • Due to this limitation, the "snapshot" of the rack health status is considerably shorter than the "snapshot" provided by Sentinel EAD.
  • The loading of the filter also impacts the efficiency of the IVC system, disrupting the air changes and pressure in the IVC rack due to the loading of the filter

The Sentinel EAD collection media is a patented material that does not act as a filter. The material composition, along with how it is positioned within the Allentown IVC plenum, allows EAD to be attracted and captured without loading or any impact on airflow efficiency. This method allows a longer historic time period to be sampled ensuring researchers will be able to analyze health status of their animals throughout the duration of the sampling time period. It is this feature coupled with the Allentown IVC rack's ability to keep EAD within the airstream, which allows Sentinel EAD to be the best EAD sampling method on the market today.


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