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New biobank at University of Toronto will support wide range of COVID-19 research

The biobank, led by a team from SickKids hospital, will securely house and collect biologic samples from across Toronto and make it easier for researchers to conduct studies on the virus.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
November 29, 2020
Image: University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability.
Image: University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation recently awarded a team from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children a $1.5 million grant to create the UT COVID-19 Biobank. These banks collect biologic sample materials such as respiratory secretions and blood, which researchers then use in studies. This new biobank will amalgamate several existing banks across the region and will ultimately collect more than 500,000 samples via 72 studies led by the University of Toronto.

Some of the research conducted using the biobank’s samples will look at immunity to COVID-19 and complications of the disease. A centralized biobank will ensure consistency among samples and will also allow multiple research teams to safely access the same samples, which will be safely and properly stored and transported.

One of the major innovations of the new UT biobank is its mobile sample collection unit, which will work in the community in order to gain access to under-served populations who may not be able to participate in studies at hospitals.

Source: Hospital for Sick Children

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