Establishing a national biobank for COVID-19


Outcomes for Australia

Intense biological sampling to create a national biobank will be combined with clinical data from people with COVID-19. This will establish a rich resource for Australian researchers to understand more about the virus, its clinical outcomes and immune responses in children, adults and older people.

These studies will have a direct impact on patient care, for example timing of hospital discharge and will also be critical to support the broader effort in Australia to understand immunity to inform future vaccine design.


Collection of biological specimens (plasma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), urine, faeces, saliva and respiratory swabs) from people with COVID-19 with a spectrum of disease severity into a national biobank will provide investigators across Australia the opportunity to study:

  • clinical outcomes and predictors of mortality
  • viral shedding dynamics
  • immune response to COVID-19 in children, adults and the elderly.

SETREP-ID is a multi-site research preparedness platform for emerging pathogens in adults. The platform enables intense biological sampling for participants diagnosed with COVID-19 and is currently actively recruiting adults in five hospitals in Melbourne and children from one hospital in Melbourne. We are extending follow-up to examine the implications of “long COVID” –  prolonged symptoms and complications beyond the time of initial acute infection.

SETREP-ID was activated in the first week of January with reports of an ‘undiagnosed’ pneumonia in Wuhan, and rapidly adapted to a COVID-19 sub-study enabling sample collection and enhanced data collection aligned with our international collaborative network, ISARIC. Using this network, our team at the Doherty Institute was able to fully characterise the acute immune response in non-severe COVID-19 adult infection.


  • Establish a national biobank with corresponding clinical information for biological specimens from COVID-19, including children, adults and the elderly
  • Make this biobank available to all Australian researchers

Read about other COVID-19 projects funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council