As we approach the end of 2020, we can’t wait to share with you some exciting new developments regarding our Center of Excellence.
First off, September 30th marked a year since the beginning of the major project CY-Biobank transforming the Molecular Medicine Research Center (MMRC) of the University of Cyprus into a Center of Excellence in Biobanking and Biomedical Research at the heart of which is the establishing of a state-of-the-art Biobank. The first year of the project saw the rapid expansion and upgrade of the CoE in terms of both, human and material resources, which consequently increases its capacity, both in terms of enrolling volunteers and collecting biological samples as wee as communicating with the Cypriot wider public what biobanking is all about. To the average Cypriot, this is a fairly newly introduced term and a novel biomedical research infrastructure aimed to fostering better health.
In relation to human resources, CY-Biobank continues to expand by adding new members in its roster. The CoE issued two calls last November, looking to recruit three more nurses in order to be able to respond and meet the demand of the continuously increasing flow of incoming volunteer donors, participating in its various research studies.
biobank.cy also introduces a new logo
In mid-November, CY-Biobank has transformed its branding into that of biobank.cy (it only applies to the Center of Excellence, not the CY-Biobank project), which allowed our Center of Excellence to signify modern change and at the same time, attract more and more people to its website and consequently to its new projects. The CoE introduced a new logo (pic), which sports the colours of its state University, University of Cyprus, under which biobank.cy is operating, and the DNA double helix, signifying the field of specialty, which is Biobanking and Biomedical Research.
Meanwhile, biobank.cy is spearheading this period a new research study along with scientists from three universities in Cyprus, which will test the presence of coronavirus antibodies in three population groups and shed light on a number of unanswered questions about COVID-19. The research study will be conducted by the Center of Excellence in Biobanking and Biomedical Research at the University of Cyprus, the Medical Schools of the University of Cyprus and the University of Nicosia, and the Department of Health Sciences of the European University Cyprus. The project partners ask for volunteers, who were diagnosed with coronavirus, health professionals from three public hospitals as well as people from the general public and donors to further fund the research.
A press conference announcing the launch of the study was held on November 17 at the University of Cyprus’ main campus in Nicosia. Director of biobank.cy, Professor Constantinos Deltas said that the research aims to test the presence of antibodies, in three population groups in Cyprus, against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is responsible for the COVID-19 disease. The antibodies tests will be free of charge.
Prof. Deltas emphasised that the research also aims to archive DNA data and genetic material that will be used for genetic studies, in order to identify factors that may increase the risk of serious symptoms or protect the individual from developing a serious clinical picture. “Our team believes that the pandemic is still unpredictable as to how long it will last and how many lives it will threaten around the world, but as scientists we must do what we can with the tools at our disposal to better prepare the health system and the population in Cyprus to manage it,” he said.
Those who wish to participate in the research should call the CY-Biobank Center of Excellence in Biobanking and Biomedical Research at University of Cyprus at 22892815 or contact it through https://biobank.cy/
Since November 17, it is safe to say that the study has been widely embraced by Cypriots from all three target groups, an important number of whom have already started applying to participate in the study via phone calls, online registration forms and e-mails on a constant pace. An added bonus of the project is that it has also proved to be a vehicle in raising awareness regarding the presence and the service that biobank.cy has to offer to the Cypriot society. Stay tuned for more news regarding biobank.cy in the following editions of BBMRI-ERIC’s monthly newsletters.
The CY-Biobank project is co-funded by the European Commission (15 million Euro), the Republic of Cyprus (15 million Euro) and the University of Cyprus (8 million Euro), and is implemented by the University of Cyprus, BBMRIC-ERIC, the Medical University of Graz and the Cypriot Consultancy Firm RTD Talos.