Quebec COVID-19 Biobank

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 Biobanque Québécoise de la COVID-19 (BQC)


On March 27, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) and Genome Québec announced the launch of the Québec COVID-19 Biobank, a Province-wide initiative to enable the collection, storage and sharing of samples and data related to the COVID-19 crisis. The task force that has been mobilized to take on this role is led by McGill’s Dr. Vincent Mooser, with additional medical and scientific expertise from McGill and several other Quebec institutions. The Biobank will began operations on April 1.

More research is critical to better understand COVID-19 infection and transmission, to identify at-risk individuals and protect them, to improve treatment of this disease and for hospitals to be able to decide who will need admission and ventilation. This type of research requires samples and data from infected individuals. All such data collection must take place in an appropriate legal and ethical framework that fully respects the privacy of individual patients.

The Québec Biobank for COVID-19 will create a network of major hospitals in Quebec including the MUHC, the Jewish General Hospital, the CHUM, Sainte-Justine Hospital, Sherbrooke University Hospital Centre, Laval University Hospital Centre, Chicoutimi Hospital (affiliated with Université du Québec à Chicoutimi) and the Montreal Heart Institute.

The initiative will be run by a task force composed of the following members (role and affiliation in brackets):

ChairVincent Mooser, MDMcGill University / Canada Excellence Research Chairs
FRQS representativeCarole Jabet, PhDFonds de la recherche en sante du Quebec
GQ representativeAlexandre Montpetit, PhDGenome Quebec
ITMichael Chassé, MD PhDUniversité de Montréal / Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal
ScienceDaniel Kaufmann, MDUniversité de Montréal / Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal
CollaborationsBrent Richards, MD PhDMcGill University / Jewish General Hospital
NetworkSimon Rousseau, PhDMcGill University / McGill University Health Centre
OperationsDaniel Auld, PhDMcGill University / McGill Genome Centre
CommunicationsKarine Tremblay, PhDUniversité du Québec à Chicoutimi
PopulationsFrançois Gros-Louis, PhDUniversité Laval
Ethics – LawMa’N Zawati, PhDMcGill University / Centre of Genomics and Policy
PediatricsSze Man Tse, MD PhDUniversité de Montréal / Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine

The activities of this Task Force will be overseen by a Governance Committee with one senior representative from each partner institution. McGill-affiliated Hospitals will be represented on this Committee by Drs. Donald Vinh (MUHC), Bruce Mazer (MUHC-RI) and Brent Richards (Jewish General Hospital).

To meet its primary objective, and as a matter of extreme urgency, the Quebec Biobank for COVID-19 will capitalize on the existing infrastructures and strengths in the Province, more specifically:

  • The existing biobank of the Quebec Respiratory Health Research Network (Réseau de Recherche en Santé Respiratoire du Québec [RSRQ]), and the Québec-wide networks in respiratory and infectious diseases.
  • The Clinical Research Centers (CRCs) at the partner institutions
  • Population-based cohorts (CARTaGENE and CLSA)
  • Existing consent forms and protocols already approved by local Institutional Review Boards for collection and analyses of patients admitted in certain hospitals
  • IT and AI capabilities in the various institutions and in the Province (MILA)
  • Génome Québec/Canada infrastructure and network
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation funded infrastructure and networks, such as CGEn
  • Other national and international networks