Seattle researchers building ‘biobank’ of patients’ blood to unlock the mysteries of the new coronavirus


Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

This first appeared on the Seattle Times website 

Blood and other biological specimens from COVID-19 patients treated in Seattle area hospitals are helping scientists build a massive “biobank” to examine the virus’s long-term impacts on the human body and why it affects some people more severely than others.

Disease doctors and researchers hope to use what they learn from the data to help figure out what drugs and therapies are most effective in treating those sick with COVID-19 and to aid other scientists in the quest to develop a vaccine against it.

“We don’t yet understand exactly what this virus is doing to individuals — what organs it’s attacking and why it affects people differently,” said Dr. Jim Heath, president of the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), a Seattle-based biomedical research firm that is teaming with Swedish Health Systems on one of the studies. “So, our goal really is to take these extremely deep dives into how it’s affecting a couple hundred patients or more and really track their disease trajectories over time.”

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