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10 million SEK to Biobank Sweden for coordinating COVID-19 samples

Biobank Sweden will receive 10 million SEK from the Swedish Research Council to coordinate the collection of and access to samples linked to COVID-19. This will not only make the process easier for researchers, but also for patients and society as a whole, says Björn Halleröd of the Swedish Research Council.

Photo: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) on Unsplash

The samples linked to COVID-19 that are collected in healthcare need to be used optimally for research. To do this, they have to be collected and stored in the correct way, and correct information about the samples has to be accessible.

–With our funding, Biobank Sweden will now be able to assume national responsibility for this being done. This will not only make the process easier for researchers, but also for patients and society as a whole, says Björn Halleröd, Secretary General of Research Infrastructure the Swedish Research Council.

Through the national coordination, Biobank Sweden will ensure that

  • samples collected are handled in a standardised way
  • collection and storage of samples in biobanks are done strategically, both in terms of geographic distribution and sample type
  • data on existing COVID-19-related biobanks and sample collections become accessible via channels such as the Swedish and European COVID-19 portals and the European biobank organisation BBMRI-ERIC.

The funding amounts to 10 million SEK over the years 2020–2021. The funding is a part of Swedish Research Council´s work with the Government’s initiative to fund research into the coronavirus, proposed in the Spring Amendment Budget for 2020.

–The aim is to provide a unified resource with samples and sample data from COVID-19 patients for research. The funds will be used both for geographically distributed sample collection of common sample types that can be used for many different types of research, and also for collecting samples that require more sophisticated handling, but that may be of greater value to research. We will support the regions by reimbursing the cost of samples already taken and being taken from patients with COVID-19, which can be made available for research in the future, says Tobias Sjöblom, head of Biobank Sweden.

What is a biobank?

A biobank may contain one or more sample collections, consisting of biological material that is collected, stored, registered and analysed with the intention of preserving it for various purposes.

Biobank Sweden coordinates and works towards the efficient use of biobanks at national and international level. A specific goal for the infrastructure is to improve access to samples and associated data for researchers in academia, health and medical care and industry. Biobank Sweden includes all universities with a medical faculty and their associated regions.

The contact person is Tobias Sjöblom, head of Biobank Sweden, tobias.sjoblom@igp.uu.se

Biobank Sweden’s website External link.

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