Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science & Industry

IPPOSI welcomes the announcement of €2 million in funding for the new National Irish COVID-19 Biobank to advance high impact research into COVID-19 and to inform future biobanking initiatives in other important health areas.

The funding began from August 1st, 2021, supported by the Dept. of Health and Health Research Board as a collaborative initiative across six academic institutions, 13 hospitals, spanning adult, paediatric, maternity and community clinical services. It will be maintained by University College Dublin (UCD) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) on behalf of a national consortium of partners, including IPPOSI. The consortium is led by joint Principal Investigators Prof. Colm Bergin (St James’s Hospital) and Prof. Paddy Mallon (St. Vincent’s University Hospital). IPPOSI looks forward to our involvement in this key piece of infrastructure for high-quality COVID-19 research.

Welcoming this first government investment in biobanking, Dr Derick Mitchell, CEO at IPPOSI said: “High quality biobanks are an essential ‘building block’ of clinical research but have suffered in Ireland from a chronic lack of funding at the national level.  We look forward to our involvement in this new initiative, where we will be encouraging the biobank to strike that important balance between advancing high-quality research, protecting the rights of individual participants, ensuring high-level involvement of patients/the public, as well as informing future public investment in biobanking in Ireland.

What is the National Irish COVID-19 Biobank (NICB)?

The NICB will ensure that COVID-19 samples and associated clinical data are collected in a coordinated and harmonised manner and that researchers can access this material using a mechanism that complies with safety, quality, and other international best practices and standards. This will allow more opportunity for research and innovation to increase our understanding of COVID-19, inform new treatment and management strategies, improve health outcomes, and better prepare us for future emergencies.

Importantly, the NICB has the dual objective of both integrating future collection of COVID-19 samples/data and making them accessible for research, as well as maximising the integration of existing collections of COVID-19 samples/data. All samples and associated data within the NICB will be consented for research. It will be overseen by an appropriate Governance Board, and decisions taken on access will be published online to ensure transparency.

To view the Dept of Health press release, click here.

To view IPPOSI’s previous activity in the area of biobanking, click here, – includes links to a publication on patient involvement in biobanking.

To view a recent paper which describes the process of co-developing a national biobank patient information leaflet/informed consent form, click here. The paper includes a public flyer** on the importance of biobanks.

** Flyer designed by IPPOSI patient member, Rachel Lynch of FibroIreland, in association with the National Biobank Working Group kindly funded by HRB-CRCI and HRB-PPI Ignite-TCD.

To view the IPPOSI COVID-19 online resource, click here.

12 August 2021

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