Doha, Qatar: Qatar Biobank, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), has achieved significant milestones in the 2022-2023 period, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to supporting the local research community.

The institution, now under the umbrella of the Qatar Precision Health Institute, has played a pivotal role in advancing research endeavours through its streamlined research access application process and proficient scientific data extraction.

According to the recently published 2022-2023 annual report by Qatar Biobank, the facility has facilitated over 350 research applications and 210 data extractions. These efforts have empowered researchers by providing access to high-quality deep phenotypic data, marking a substantial contribution to the scientific landscape.

The annual report highlights Qatar Biobank’s prolific engagement in numerous research and projects, resulting in the publication of 24 articles and contributions to 28 research projects. Notably, the ongoing Q-chip project is a testament to the institution’s cutting-edge initiatives, with 30,000 genetic analyses underway to identify patients and mutation carriers.

Professor Dr. Nahla Afifi, the Director of Qatar Biobank, emphasized the institution’s commitment in her annual report message, stating, “Qatar Biobank is contributing to and expanding the focus on many research and projects.”

The flagship Cohort Study, a population-based long-term research initiative, has successfully enlisted a large number of participants and introduced additional projects such as the Qatar Birth Cohort Study. Furthermore, the institution is actively involved in two separate studies on the impact of COVID-19 infection and the effectiveness of vaccines.

Qatar Biobank’s invaluable contribution to health research is manifested through its comprehensive collection of biological samples and health and lifestyle data from a substantial portion of Qatar’s population. The scientific team at Qatar Biobank provides consultation services to the research community, offering expertise in study design, feasibility, and recommendations.

In addition to data collection, Qatar Biobank prioritises data harmonisation, normalisation, and formatting to enhance usability across various studies and platforms. The institution collaborates extensively with national and international institutions, fostering partnerships in precision health, biobanking, bio-preservation, and related fields, leading to promising outcomes in research and learning.

Among its local partners are the Ministry of Public Health Qatar, Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Sidra Medicine, Qatar University, and Texas A&M Qatar. Over 20 research organizations have registered 358 projects with Qatar Biobank, with significant participation from Qatar University, Sidra, Hamad Medical Corporation, Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar, and Hamad Bin Khalifa University.

Internationally, Qatar Biobank collaborates with esteemed organizations such as the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER), European, Middle Eastern and African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking (ESBB, International Hundred Thousand Cohort Consortium (IHCC) and Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) in India, Cyprus, and Spain, as well as the Spanish Agency of Innovation and Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain, and Singapore Singenics.

The impact of Qatar Biobank’s efforts is evident in the positive feedback received from researchers.

An impressive 80% of respondents in a feedback survey lauded the data quality as excellent, with an additional 20% recognizing it as good.

Notably, all researchers rated the quality of biological samples received for their research requests as excellent.

Acknowledging the importance of feedback, the Qatar Biobank annual report underscores its commitment to understanding and meeting the needs of the research community.

The survey addresses various aspects, including the research application process, data and sample quality, and the speed of the research process, reflecting Qatar Biobank’s dedication to continuous improvement and excellence.

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