CAOs & UCD Health Affairs Welcome Announcement of National Irish COVID-19 Biobank (NICB)

  

The Chief Academic Officers (CAOs) across the 7 Hospital Groups and UCD Health Affairs welcome the announcement from the Minister for Health on the €2 million investment in National Irish COVID-19 Biobank (NICB) on 27th July 2021.

Since June 2020, the 7 CAOs from Ireland East Hospital Group, Children's Health Ireland, Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, RCSI Hospital Group, Saolta Hospital Group, South/Southwest Hospital Group and UL Hospital Group proposed the idea of a NICB and have actively engaged with other international biological biobanks, the Department of HealthHSE, and the HRB from concept to application and on to the firm establishment of the National Covid-19 Biobank with the HRB.

NICB is an essential component of Ireland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Established by the Health Research Board at the request of the Department of Health, this valuable national asset will ensure that COVID-19 samples/data are collected in a coordinated and harmonised manner, and that a mechanism is established to ensure easy and fair access for researchers. This will create greater opportunity for research and innovation to increase our understanding of COVID-19, inform new treatment and management strategies, improve outcomes for patients, and better prepare us for future emergencies.

Biobanks collect, store and distribute biological samples, and associated clinical data. They are crucial platforms for health research and innovation because they help to increase our understanding of disease*. Biobanks are key to the ongoing fight against COVID-19 as they provide researchers with the material necessary to accelerate scientific discovery and collaboration. For example, without biobanked samples from patients with COVID-19, vaccines would never have been developed in record time nor would we be able to track vaccine response over time or their effectiveness against to emerging variants.

The NICB team comprises a collaboration across six academic institutions* and 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***, and led by joint Principal Investigators Professor Colm Bergin (Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases at St James's Hospital) and Professor Paddy Mallon (Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases at St. Vincent’s University Hospital).

*Academic institutions

University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University College Cork, National University of Ireland Galway and University of Limerick.

**Hospitals

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, National Maternity Hospital Holles Street, St Vincent's University Hospital, Wexford General Hospital, Coombe Women's University Hospital, St James' Hospital, Tallaght University Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, Cork University Hospital, Galway University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital, University Hospital Limerick, and Children's Health Ireland.

***Partners

Queens University Belfast, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Irish Platform for Patient Organisations (IPPOSI), and participation by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and HPSC on governance groups.

Read more