Research using human tissue (blood, lung, heart, etc.) from patients with COVID-19 is essential for understanding the disease and finding new therapies and treatments. Numerous COVID-19 research efforts are underway across the Province of BC that require the availability of high-quality biospecimens paired with robust genomic and clinical data. The BC COVID-19 Biobank Network (BCCBN) is a province-wide initiative built to support and enable translational COVID-19 research in BC.
The team has established a provincial biobank network that: collects and stores biospecimens and associated data from BC patients acquired during the pandemic; oversees access and release of biospecimens and associated data to researchers to support priority COVID-19 research; catalogues the biospecimens in an inventory database with processes to enable linkages to clinical information and is searchable by researchers in BC; involves collaborative partnerships with health authorities for streamlining biobank activities.
Through the BCCBN, researchers requiring biospecimens can access materials, data, and processing services. This unified resource has several benefits to the research community: decreased duplication of biobanking research infrastructure; improved standardization and annotation of biospecimens and their storage across sites; full compliance with local Research Ethics Board (REB) and regulatory requirements; a transparent biospecimen procurement process, which ensures equitable access to tissues by all researchers across the province; and improved quality and quantity of biospecimens and accompanying data.