A biorepository of COVID-19 samples will be hosted by the Microbial Type Culture Collection and Gene Bank (MTCC) at the Institute of Microbial Technology Chandigarh (IMTECH). The samples from COVID-19 patients will be stored for research by the institute.
The blood samples will be collected and stored at a designated biorepository center. These blood samples will be used to study the performance of antibody tests, immune markers of the disease, and severity of COVID-19.
The Government of India has identified IMTECH as one of the 16 national COVID-19 biorepositories for the collection, storage, and maintenance of positive patients’ clinical samples. A unique study identification number will be given to the data obtained from the patient’s blood sample. The patient’s anonymity will be maintained throughout, even on the publications arising from this study.
A few studies suggest that the severity of the disease is linked to the number of viruses a person carries during the onset of symptoms. Only mild to moderate symptoms are suffered by those with lesser viral load, while those who become critical have a viral load as high as 60 times. But further study is required to confirm this. Using the samples collected from COVID-19 positive patients, researchers can understand early predictors of disease severity and how the body develops an immune response. Different samples like nasopharyngeal swab / nasal swab, oropharyngeal swab/throat swab, bronchoalveolar lavage, urine, stool, sputum, and blood will be collected and stored by the selected biorepositories.
Dr. Sanjeev Khosla, Director of IMTECH Chandigarh, said the biorepository is crucial to steer research towards innovating the development of new therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines. Appropriate medical attention could be given to patients if it’s possible to identify who will suffer mild COVOD-19 and who will have severe disease. Researchers can also identify potential markers using the data stored in the repository. CSIR-IMTECH will share the data with industry, commercial entities, and academia after inspecting the purpose of the request and ensuring benefit to the country. All states are asked to provide to COVID samples to the designated biorepositories across the country by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Several academic organizations, pharmaceuticals, research institutes, food and biotech industries involved in biotechnological and microbiological research often approach MTCC for microbiology-related services and microbial cultures.
The MTCC was established in 1986 as an International Depositary Authority (IDA).