The Hidden Role of Biobanks in Covid-19 Research

Biobanks have played a key role in the fight against Covid-19 by allowing researchers to access the samples they needed to study the disease and develop vaccines and treatments. While the pandemic presented a big challenge to the often underfunded biobanks, it also provided an opportunity for growth in many other areas of research going forward.

Without samples from patients infected with Covid-19, it would have been unachievable to make the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome accessible to the entire scientific community and develop effective vaccines in record times. Since the start of the pandemic, the research community has been consistently requesting these samples to conduct experiments to understand the diverse mechanisms that the virus uses to trick our immune systems. 

The guardians of these samples are biobanks. These are centers that are able to collect, store and distribute large amounts of human samples for medical research purposes. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, biobanks coordinated with the global scientific community, reorganizing their activities to perform a fundamental role in the battle against the new pathogen. 

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