Biobank and Sampling

Current tools for biobankers and researchers

Typically, a biobank is a place to store all types of human biological samples, such as blood, tissue, cells or DNA. It also stores data related to the samples as well as other biomolecular resources that can be used in health research.  


BBMRI-ERIC is a European research infrastructure for biobanking. They bring together all the main players from the biobanking field – researchers, biobankers, industry, and patients – to boost biomedical research. BBMRI-ERIC currently includes 20 countries and one international organisation, making it one of the largest European research infrastructures.  

They offer quality management services, support with ethical, legal and societal issues, and online tools and software solutions for biobankers and researchers. Ultimately, their goal is to make new treatments possible. 

BBMRI-ERIC hosted Webinars to discuss and disseminate information on Biobanking in the era of COVID-19. Links to the webinar and other documents (such as WHO sampling handling and sample shipment guidelines for COVID-19 samples) can be found on the website.



International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) is a global biobanking organization that creates opportunities for networking, education, and innovations and harmonizes approaches to evolving challenges in biological and environmental repositories. ISBER fosters collaboration; creates education and training opportunities; provides a forum for the dissemination of state-of-the-art policies, processes, and research findings; and provides an international showcase for innovative technologies, products, and services. Together, these activities promote best practices that cut across the broad range of repositories that ISBER serves.  

On the 7th of April they hosted a webinar on UNDERSTANDING COVID-19.  

The purpose of the webinar was to provide a rapid, comprehensive, and relevant update on the current state of COVID-19, with attention to the epidemiology, clinical presentation, and emerging therapeutic options. 


COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative 

COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative brings together the human genetics community to generate, share, and analyze data to learn the genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility, severity, and outcomes. Such discoveries could help to generate hypotheses for drug repurposing, identify individuals at unusually high or low risk, and contribute to global knowledge of the biology of SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease.  


 The COVID-19 host genetics initiative is a bottom-up collaborative effort that has three main goals: 

 1.         Provide an environment to foster the sharing of resources to facilitate COVID-19 host genetics research (e.g. protocols, questionnaires). 

2.         Organize analytical activities across studies to identify genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. 

3.         Provide a platform to share the results from such activities, as well as the individual-level data where possible, to benefit the broader scientific community.