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Pandemic Preparedness Capabilities

Pandemic sample centers - enabling SciLifeLab infrastructures to form pandemic preparedness capability

Funding given for project project entitled:

Pandemic sample center to build up readiness to connect SciLifeLab infrastructure and university hospitals

PI(s)/Head responsible for the resource:

Janne Lehtiö, Maria Pernemalm

Host organisation(s):

Contributions from multiple institutions: Karolinska Institutet/SciLifeLab, Karolinska University Hospital, Uppsala University Hospital.

Resource description:

In order to allow the molecular analysis of emerging biological threats, early access to biological samples is warranted. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, progress was limited by a lack of relevant clinical samples. This project aims to create a unit, early pandemic sample center, that allows rapid handling of biological specimens and facilitates connections between SciLifeLab facilities and university hospitals. Karolinska and Uppsala University Hospitals will be used in trials to test the proposed model.

The plan is to set up two sample flows:

  • The first sample flow is for patient material connected to infectious disease clinics. The first sample flow is currently organised in connection with the largest such clinic in Sweden; Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, a via Biosafety laboratory level-3 laboratory ANA Futura Core Facility. The sample flow would enable the handling of any type of infections material for neutralisation and further analysis at SciLifeLab platforms.

  • The second sample flow is connected to the hospital laboratories and pathology units. It would facilitate the collection and preparation of patient samples needed for analysis. Such samples can be be used for monitoring, to better understand the causes and symptoms of newly discovered pathogen variants, to study the immune and organ response to novel viruses, and for developing treatments to novel viruses. The first such sample flow and preparation station has been established at Karolinska University Hospital clinical pathology Solna, in connection with the molecular pathology laboratory.

The project will gather standard operation procedures (SOPs) for DNA, RNA, protein, cell, and tissue analysis from SciLifeLab facilities. Procedures for pseudonymisation and healthcare biobanking will also be made available.

How this resource can be used for Pandemic Preparedness research:

Pandemic preparedness efforts have to be sustainable in endemic times. Therefore, to allow for continuity, training and sustainable co-financing with other sources, the project organisation is connected to ongoing Precision Medicine Initiatives at hospitals and SciLifeLab.

Who is able to access the resource (and under what conditions):

We aim to for a structure facilitating clinical sample collection and access open to all researchers financed by fee/sample model, provided ethical approval is in place. This is however a major undertaking, which will need long term effort and coordination with biobank as well as precision medicine centers/functions currently initiated at university hospitals as well as at SciLifeLab.

Contact information:

Janne Lehtiö

Maria Pernemalm