2 - Qatar Health 2021 Conference abstracts
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • EISSN: 1999-7094


During the COVID-19 outbreak, Qatar Biobank (QBB) adapted its services to collect, process, and store high-quality data and specimens. This transformation period brought opportunities, risks, and challenges. QBB holds College of American Pathologists (CAP) accreditation and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification for Quality Management (9001:2105) and Information Security Management Systems (27001: 2013)1. These standards helped to effectively convert its operations to facilitate the COVID-19 national project2. The COVID-19 Biorepository is a National Disease-based study aiming to collect adequate health information and biological samples from Qatar residents infected by SARS-CoV-2 virus to enable evidence-based research towards the discovery and development of novel healthcare interventions and to facilitate research projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic. QBB IT Department used open-source Onyx (ObiBa) software to newly develop a COVID-19 electronic system and interface for various clinical devices and Laboratory Information Management System. QBB operational services were adapted to accommodate the COVID-19 project by providing training to the personnel (n = 20; i.e. nurses, research assistants etc.) and developing work instructions (n>5) for the participants’ recruitment process, data and specimen collection in the different hospitals. A COVID-19 portal was also developed by QBB to facilitate data access for researchers from Qatar and worldwide4. Within 5 weeks QBB transformed to accommodate a disease/virus-based biorepository. At an operational level, multi-adjustments were implemented. QBB IT department developed an electronic system for the data collection and specimen traceability3. Clinically trained staff were transferred to different healthcare facilities to recruit COVID-19 positive patients. QBB laboratory designed special collection kits. QBB Medical Review Office and Scientific and Education departments managed the recruitment process, set up of the study and provided training to the staff. The Communications and Participants Recruitment Department transformed its operations to fit the needs of the COVID-19 initiative. The Research Access Office designed the COVID-19 access portal and supported the project through purchasing of personal protective equipment and other administrative tasks. It is now time to consider lessons learned, as many countries have been affected by this pandemic, and to understand that biobanks are an asset for a country and there is a need to integrate them into a new standard with their sustainability in mind. Qatar Biobank is a good showcase of how a biobank can successfully assist in the collection of important data related to different health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


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  1. Hannigan L, Deyab G, Al Thani A, Al Marri A, Afifi N. The Implementation of an Integrated Management System at Qatar Biobank. Biopreserv Biobank. 2019; 17:(6):506–11.
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  4. Qatar Biobank Research portal: https://researchportal.qatarbiobank.org.qa/.
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