There is no blueprint for a global pandemic of this magnitude. However, researchers must follow standards and have access to high quality samples. The samples currently donated by patients with COVID-19 and recovering from COVID-19 are particularly valuable and must be properly collected and stored. The BBMRI.QM team held web conferences with nearly 900 participants on this topic to discuss relevant quality standards, guidelines and research studies. The interest in this topic has brought together not only scientists and biobankers from all over Europe, but also from Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Ghana, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. A special thank you to all invited experts: Maurice Bardsley, Andrea Gana, Helmuth Haslacher, Antonio di Caro, Marialuisa Lavitrano, Dalibor Valik, Peter Riegman, Dunja Martin, Vincent van de Perre, Sabine Lehmann, and from the BBMRI-ERIC team Francesco Florindi, Petr Holub, Lukasz Kozera and Michaela Mayrhofer who contributed with their knowledge to the success of the discussion.
BBMRI-ERIC Quality Manager Andrea Wutte is particularly pleased about this global endeavour to work together. “In times of crisis, you have to be able to rely on quality-assured processes that you built up in times of no crisis. Biobanks can show this impressively, as many valuable initiatives have been launched by BBMRI-ERIC National Nodes already: https://www.bbmri-eric.eu/wp-content/uploads/BBMRI-ERIC-response-to-COVID-2.8.pdf
There is currently an additional need for an increased exchange of experience with regard to risk and security management in biobanks, for which we have been able, and continue to offer an online discussion and advice platform,” she explains.
And this completes the circle: Even before the crisis, the international standards for biobanking (ISO 20387: 2018) and for pre-analytical sample processing (find more info here: https://www.bbmri-eric.eu/services/standardisation/) have been adopted by the BBMRI- ERIC community in their biobanking processes. Biobanks can now rely on this and react quickly to the current COVID-19 situation.
All information about the BBMRI.QM web conferences: Biobanking in Times of COVID-19, including recordings, presentations and the detailed Q&A document can be found here: https://www.bbmri-eric.eu/covid-19