Biorepository Services Provided and Proposed by the IBRH3AU

IBRH3AU offers biological specimens collection, storage, processing, and shipment as well as Biorepository quality control/assurance related services. The ultimate goal of IBRH3AU is to develop a state-of-the-art world class Biorepository of well annotated stored biospecimens widely available to H3Africa Consortium, African and International researchers for genomic discovery projects. The information obtained from the genomic analysis of the samples will allow researchers to develop or test new diagnostic tests, personalize treatment options, and develop new treatment methods.

Collection/reception of biospecimens

Whereas biospecimen collection is done by H3Africa Consortium researchers, quality control and assurance for collection and processing is key to ensure long term future usability. The IBRH3AU has designed a web-based SPREC program in addition H3Africa joint developed SOPs to be used by researchers to ensure quality biospecimen collection. The SPREC code generated will be sent into the biorepository central database and a copy to the researcher by mail. As soon as biospecimens are ready for shipment to the biorepository shipment will be initiated as described later.

Biospecimen processing

Biorepository operations at Makerere Universityare well-controlled process performed according to SOPs that minimize variation and prepare the biospecimen for storage according to ISBER standards. The available and planned processing methods provide for long-term storage and do not preclude any methods for future analysis. Preparation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Human cells may be stored for future detailed phenotypic, genomic or functional studies in living cells, to recover virions or viral nucleic acids and to enhance the availability of nucleic acids from the study subjects such as cultured lymphoblastoid cell lines that allows harvesting virtually unlimited amounts of DNA from single subjects. We provide services for PBMC separation and preparation for cryopreservation and more.

Storage capacity

Current storage capacity in the dedicated facilities for the biorepository is composed of room temperature, freezers -20°C and-80°Cand liquid phase nitrogen tanks. The storage space is managed by FreezerWorks a client server Laboratory Management Information System. Critical to the needs of H3Africa; -80°Cfreezer capacity currently stands at 150,000 2mL vials with 60,000 2mL vials made readily available for H3Africa Consortium researchers. During Phase I we have increased our liquid nitrogen storage capacity from 6,000 2mL vials to 14,000 2mL vials. The newly acquired 8,000 2mL liquid nitrogen space is readily available for H3Africa Consortium researchers.

Shipment/Distribution of biospecimen

Biospecimen location and rapid retrieval will be facilitated by 2D barcoding and STARLIMS in Phase II. This will involve retrieving biospecimens from storage, packaging and shipment tracking to and from the H3Africa Consortium researcher. Overtime we have worked with several courier companies for management of shipping into and out of Uganda. In Phase II, we have studied the services in addition to evaluating our records of Fedex, Marken and World Courier. Based on the cost, services offered and African continental coverage World Courier has been chosen as the courier company of choice for biospecimen shipment within the H3Africa Consortium. Shipment inventory and management will be intricately electronically managed through the website

IBRH3AU biospecimen fee-for-service

Given the commitment by the University management to meet the future biorepository overhead costs(utilities such as water and electricity) and coverage of salaries, the cost of operating the facility is substantially low. We also have a liquid nitrogen plant on-site to ensure continued access to LN2. The fee-for-service was thus calculated towards recovery of costs related to the operations of the IBRH3AU including depreciation, service contracts, procurement of supplies.

The anticipated fees have been calculated using a unit of DNA as follows:

  1. DNA extraction (extraction, quantification, temporary storage) = $15
  2. sample retrieval and aliquoting = $7
  3. case-control matching = $2 per match.

Shipment of biospecimens will be determined on a case-by-case basis and this fee will be communicated to the researcher. These fees are preliminary and have been calculated according to the current estimated cost of materials and supplies gathered through suppliers. These are predicted to vary depending on the prevailing economic climate and inflation.