DENVER — Patients getting an antibody test at the University of Colorado Hospital can now have their blood sample entered into a biobank used by researchers across the world to unlock genetic clues that may help in the fight against COVID-19.
Positive antibody tests indicate the patient’s immune system had recently fought the coronavirus. Consenting to have their blood sample entered into the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM) Biobank gives scientists and doctors the ability to compare DNA and help create therapies, repurpose drugs, or even develop a vaccine.
CCPM’s director, Dr. Kathleen Barnes, said genetic testing helps the medical community better understand who is more susceptible to more severe complications from COVID-19. It may not just be age, heart disease or diabetes that makes someone susceptible to severe side effects.
“We know there have been major differences in how this disease affects individuals based on their ancestry,” said Barnes. “Ancestry is very important to us in our program, something we focus on not just to include diverse populations, but to get a better understanding of the health disparities associated with COVID.
Once analyzed at the biobank, data is shared with the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative, where the global research community can compare notes, striving toward the common goal of a vaccine.
UCHealth said personal information is not included once a sample heads to the biobank. The hospital aims to get 100,000 patients enrolled in the biobank each year.
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