Human microbiome research has the potential to increase our understanding of how health and disease are affected by the complex relationship between human, our dwelling microbiome, and the environment. Scientific reports have indicated relationships between abnormal gut microbiome and the risk of some chronic diseases, including: inflammatory bowel disease, Clostridium difficile infection, diabetes, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers. Recent publications suggest that human microbiome may also play a role in Covid-19 severity.
Biobank networks (such as Europe’s BBMRI-ERIC) may be also included for establishing microbiota biobanking infrastructure and data sharing during pandemic.
Regardless of technical and laboratory issues, significant ethical, legal and social questions connected with microbiome biobank for COVID-19 should be raised. These are classical issues considered in microbiome biobanking: the definition and the nature of the human microbiome, distinguishing between universal and individual features of the microbiome (including identifiability of human microbiome research samples), obtaining informed consent and sharing data, risks and safety of research, privacy protection, returning key results to research participants, selection of donors. Some issues connected with research biobanks are really important in pandemic era: commercialization and hype, potential conflicts of interest, public health implications, the risk of stigmatization and discrimination.
Join our webinar to find out more, organized by the BBMRI ELSI Helpdesk, with guest speaker Jakub Pawlikowski, from our Polish National Node.