More than a year ago, something happened that most of us could hardly imagine. A virus took the whole world more or less firmly in its grip. Pandemic, previously a word that very few of us knew, has now become common knowledge. However, the speed with which a whole range of different vaccines was researched, developed, registered, and launched worldwide was impressive, which earlier took years.
In this crucial time, biobanks had played a central role. The core competence of biobanking, i.e., collecting samples and data of clearly defined quality, processing, if necessary storing, and making them available to researchers, was tremendously important even in the initial phase when the disease did not even have a name. It was then possible to isolate the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of patients with pneumonia of unknown origin. In a very short time, the genome of the new coronavirus was decoded and made publicly available to the scientific community.
Though very few biobanks in the world had the experience of how to handle highly pathogenic viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, different organizations, institutions, and expert groups published guidelines and recommendations very quickly and thus still in time, that was very helpful to the biobanks. In addition, a very large number of scientific publications on “COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2 AND biobanks/biorepository” were published very quickly (as of today close to 500 articles), providing further valuable information for biobankers.