Tissue Solutions, the only UK-owned virtual biobank, is working with the Cambridge Blood and Stem Cell Biobank (CBSB) at the University of Cambridge to provide covid-19 samples to researchers worldwide who are racing to increase understanding of the virus for the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines.

The collaboration is intended to reduce turnaround times and increase the usefulness of every covid-19 sample donated. Tissue Solutions and CBSB will work in tandem to complete sample orders within 24 hours and ensure that there is no waste of the limited supply of covid-19 samples. Thanks to the partnership, a test tube of blood (the equivalent of one patient sample) can be divided into multiple plasma or serum samples before being sent on to several researchers.


Morag McFarlane, Tissue Solutions.

Tissue Solutions is sourcing fresh blood samples on demand through its well-established network of collection sites. The company’s shipping and logistics team quickly arranges the delivery of the samples to CBSB, which then uses its laboratory facilities to separate the highly infectious blood sample into its component parts. Due to their increased stability, such blood fractions are more useful to scientists, so researchers can observe more accurately how different sample types behave in their investigations to increase the reliability of their study.

“We have responded quickly to the unique set of challenges brought about by this global pandemic,” says Morag McFarlane, chief executive officer at Tissue Solutions. “The scientific community urgently needs covid-19 samples and we have adapted accordingly. The life sciences sector is undoubtably working more effectively together, which is helping us to achieve faster results. The demand for human tissue samples remains urgent across the United Kingdom and internationally.”

Tissue Solutions now provides the following covid-19 samples: cryopreserved (frozen) plasma; fresh whole blood; peripheral blood mononuclear cells; ribonucleic acid extracted from diagnostic remnants, such as nasal and throat swabs and other diagnostic remnants, and serum

“Our ethos is to make the most of each donation by processing different products from each sample, recognizing the wishes of the participants to enable as much research as possible,” says Joanna Baxter, PhD, CBSB’s lead scientist and biobank manager.

Tissue Solutions does not earn any profit from its provision of covid-19 samples. The company has joined the fight against coronavirus as it recognized that its expertise in tissue procurement would be of great value at this time.

For more information, visit Tissue Solutions and CBSB.

Featured image: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Photo courtesy Tissue Solutions.