The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an urgent need for research into diagnostics, vaccines and treatments. Many of the researchers developing these products need to use tissue from COVID-19 patients in their research. The demand for blood and other tissue types from patients is exceeding supply.
To address this research need, the UKCRC TDCC has been working across the biobanking community to identify any opportunities for collaboration. TapB, a partnership between University College London and the Royal Free Hospital, was one of the first UK biobanks able to collect samples from patients for wider research use. They were able to successfully provide whole blood to researchers but they could not provide serum or plasma which many researchers were requesting. A lack of facilities meant TapB could not process samples to meet researchers need. This issue was becoming a bottleneck between collecting samples and using them in research, also driving up prices and competition.
CBSB were one of the few UK biobanks who reported that they may have the capacity to process tissue samples. TDCC brokered a conversation between CBSB and Tissue Solutions (a virtual human tissue biobank based in Glasgow). Tissue Solutions had previously responded to our call for help and has been assisting in connecting researchers with potential sources of samples.
Thanks to the new partnership, a tube of blood can be divided into multiple plasma or serum samples. This not only meets the needs of more researchers, but means that multiple research projects can be advanced by one patient's donation.
If you are a researcher seeking tissue or a biobank involved in collecting tissue for COVID-19 research, contact us about your capabilities.