Qatar Biobank conducts study on long-term impact of COVID-19 and vaccine

Doha: Qatar Biobank is conducting two separate studies on the impact of COVID-19 infection and the effect of the vaccines. Data and samples are collected from people infected with the virus and those taken the vaccine in Qatar and following up their health status for a year to find the effect, said an official. 

The COVID-19 Biorepository study conduct follow ups on the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th months, to track the participants’ health and the effect of the virus on the body and immunity, said Dr. Marwa A Eldeeb, Medical Office Manager at Qatar Biobank. 

“The COVID-19 Biorepository study can provide key services to researchers, including, efficient and high-quality storage of COVID-19 samples and related data. In addition, this project aims to enable and facilitate evidence-based research related to the COVID-19 towards the discovery and development of novel healthcare interventions to control the spread of the virus through treatment and vaccinations,” she told The Peninsula. 

“The collected information and samples are provided to researchers who work on studies related to the complications and impact of COVID-19 on the human body and health, determining the reasons behind the variation of the impact from one patient to another and other relative information to this virus, which help in Qatar’s fight against the virus,” she added. 

Patients with a laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, who were Qatar residents, were eligible to participate in the study with their consent.  COVID-19 diagnosed patients were recruited at the time of their disease period from the main three public hospitals (Communicable Disease Center, Cuban, and Hazm Mebaireek Hospitals) serving as isolation facilities for symptomatic patients in Qatar. 

During the COVID-19 outbreak the Qatar Scientific Reference and Research Taskforce (SRRT) selected Qatar Biobank to be the key institution to manage the design and set up of the COVID-19 Biorepository and the principal investigators are Dr. Abdulatif Alkhal and Dr. Asmaa Al Thani. The investigators and colleagues at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Communicable Disease Center (CDC), Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Qatar Biobank for Medical Research (QBB) are conducting this research. 

“The COVID-19 Biorepository enables medical research on the COVID-19 outbreak in Qatar. The collection of biological samples and information on health and lifestyle from large numbers of patients infected with COVID-19 in Qatar, compared with the prevalence in different countries in the world and developing a database and catalog of biologic samples from these patients. This will facilitate future studies that could illuminate the pathophysiologic mechanisms and identify markers of disease prognosis as well as describe the clinical features and epidemiology of COVID-19 in Qatar,” said Dr. Eldeeb.

Dr. Eldeeb said that findings of the research projects are shared with the decision makers in the Ministry for their consideration. 

“We haven’t only conducted research regarding COVID-19 infections but also on COVID-19 vaccination. We have been collecting the data and samples from participants taking the vaccination in Qatar and following up with them for a whole year to track the vaccine’s effect against the virus. Also, we have selected some participants requiring further health tracking and conducted MRI scanning for their body and brain and this has taken place after their approval for better investigation for both the COVID-19 patients and the vaccinated participants,” said Dr. Eldeeb.

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