CoVaRR-Net Biobank

About us

A biobank is a repository of human samples (e.g., blood, saliva, and stool samples) as well as viruses and reagents required to carry out research. Sharing reagents between research institutions is not always simple and generally requires several layers of ethical and legal approval. These can sometimes slow down rapid-response research efforts during a pandemic.

To accelerate our research response to characterize variants, and central to our mandate, CoVaRR-Net is establishing its own SARS-CoV-2-focussed biobank to quickly share materials and information with network members across Canada. This biobank will be expanded to store and share other products, as needed.

CoVaRR-Net’s biobank will collect, store, and rapidly distribute well-annotated reference biological specimens such as white blood cells, serum, saliva, plasma, and virus. These will include specimens (blood, saliva) from relevant subgroups: uninfected, convalescent (recovering), vaccinated unexposed, vaccinated convalescent, immunized with different vaccine products, etc. Importantly, the biobank will seek inclusive representation (sex, age, ethnicity, etc.) for this reference material. Samples from individuals infected with different VOCs will be actively recruited to CoVaRR-Net’s biobank. This will be expanded to include samples from other viruses and other pathogenic microorganisms, as required.

The Network’s Bioethics and Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity (EDI) directors will provide direct oversight on sample collection, de-identification and banking processes.

Helping to Prepare for Future Pandemics

CoVaRR-Net believes it is essential to plan for future pandemics, whether they will be caused by viruses or microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.

That is why it is currently laying the foundations to eventually morph into a Pandemic Preparedness Network that will foster close ties, collaborations and relationships with public health laboratories and industry — because everyone’s contribution is critical during a pandemic.


Angela M. Crawley

Biobank Director

Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa
Adjunct Professor, Carleton University

Don Vinh

Biobank Clinical Associate Director

Associate Professor, McGill University
Medical Microbiologist, McGill University Health Centre

Curtis Cooper

Biobank Clinical Associate Director

Professor of Medicine, University of Ottawa
Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

To contact the CoVaRR-Net Biobank team, please contact: