During the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2015 in Sierra Leone, residual clinical specimens and accompanying data were collected from routine diagnostic testing in Public Health England (PHE) led laboratories. Most of the samples with all the accompanying data were transferred to PHE laboratories in the UK for curation by PHE. The remainder have been kept securely in Sierra Leone. The biobank holds approximately 9955 samples of which 1108 tested positive for Ebola virus. Researchers from the UK and overseas, from academia, government other research organisations and commercial companies can submit proposals to the biobank to access and use the samples. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone (MOHS) retains ownership of the data and materials and is working with PHE and other researchers to develop and conduct a series of research projects that will inform future healthcare and public health strategies relating to Ebola. The Ebola Biobank Governance Group (EBGG) was established to guarantee equality of access to the biobank for the most scientifically valuable research including by researchers from low and middle-income countries. Ensuring benefit to the people of Sierra Leone is an over-arching principle for decisions of the EBGG. Four ongoing research collaborations are based on the first wave of biobank proposals approved by EBGG. Whilst the biobank is a valuable resource its completeness and sample quality are consistent with the outbreak conditions under which they were collected.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by a bio resource grant from the Wellcome Trust (reference no: 208376). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.