Rapid Establishment of a Biospecimen Resource To Study the Global Impact of COVID-19 Vaccines.

Publication date: Jun 27, 2023

The emergence and explosive spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in 2019 highlighted the need to rapidly develop curated biobanks to inform the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment options for global outbreaks of communicable diseases. Recently, we undertook efforts to develop a repository of biospecimens from individuals aged 12 and older who were to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) with vaccines developed with support from the United States Government. We planned to establish 40 or more clinical study sites in at least six countries to collect biospecimens from 1,000 individuals, 75% of whom were to be SARS-CoV-2 naive at the time of enrollment. Specimens would be used to (i) ensure quality control of future diagnostic tests, (ii) understand immune responses to multiple COVID-19 vaccines, and (iii) provide reference reagents for the development of new drugs, biologics, and vaccines. Biospecimens included serum, plasma, whole blood, and nasal secretions. Large-volume collections of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and defibrinated plasma were also planned for a subset of subjects. Participant sampling was planned at intervals prior to and following vaccination over a 1-year period. Here, we describe the selection of clinical sites for specimen collection and processing, standard operating procedure (SOP) development, design of a training program for tracking specimen quality, and specimen transport to a repository for interim storage. This approach allowed us to enroll our first participants within 21 weeks from the study’s initiation. Lessons learned from this experience should benefit the development of biobanks in response to future global epidemics. IMPORTANCE The ability to rapidly create a biobank of high-quality specimens in response to emergent infectious diseases is critical to allow for the development of prevention and treatment, as well as to effectively monitor the spread of the disease. In this paper, we report on a novel approach to getting global clinical sites up and running within a short time frame and to monitor the quality of specimens collected to ensure their value in future research efforts. Our results have important implications for the monitoring of the quality of biospecimens collected and to design effective interventions to address shortcomings, where needed.

Concepts Keywords
Biobank biobank
Explosive biorepository
Lessons biospecimen
Vaccines clinical microbiology
clinical trial
quality assurance


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
disease MESH etiology
disease MESH communicable diseases
disease VO vaccinated
disease VO time
disease IDO quality
disease VO volume
disease IDO blood
disease VO vaccination
disease VO storage
disease VO report
disease VO effective

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