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1.
Front Genet ; 12: 716541, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785330

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 was declared to be a pandemic in March 2020 by the World Health Organization. Timely sharing of viral genomic sequencing data accompanied by a minimal set of contextual data is essential for informing regional, national, and international public health responses. Such contextual data is also necessary for developing, and improving clinical therapies and vaccines, and enhancing the scientific community's understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) was launched in April 2020 to coordinate and upscale existing genomics-based COVID-19 research and surveillance efforts. CanCOGeN is performing large-scale sequencing of both the genomes of SARS-CoV-2 virus samples (VirusSeq) and affected Canadians (HostSeq). This paper addresses the privacy concerns associated with sharing the viral sequence data with a pre-defined set of contextual data describing the sample source and case attribute of the sequence data in the Canadian context. Currently, the viral genome sequences are shared by provincial public health laboratories and their healthcare and academic partners, with the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory and with publicly accessible databases. However, data sharing delays and the provision of incomplete contextual data often occur because publicly releasing such data triggers privacy and data governance concerns. The CanCOGeN Ethics and Governance Expert Working Group thus has investigated several privacy issues cited by CanCOGeN data providers/stewards. This paper addresses these privacy concerns and offers insights primarily in the Canadian context, although similar privacy considerations also exist in other jurisdictions. We maintain that sharing viral sequencing data and its limited associated contextual data in the public domain generally does not pose insurmountable privacy challenges. However, privacy risks associated with reidentification should be actively monitored due to advancements in reidentification methods and the evolving pandemic landscape. We also argue that during a global health emergency such as COVID-19, privacy should not be used as a blanket measure to prevent such genomic data sharing due to the significant benefits it provides towards public health responses and ongoing research activities.

2.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 778146, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572295
3.
PLoS One ; 16(5): e0245031, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1314324

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection causing the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been responsible for more than 2.8 million deaths and nearly 125 million infections worldwide as of March 2021. In March 2020, the World Health Organization determined that the COVID-19 outbreak is a global pandemic. The urgency and magnitude of this pandemic demanded immediate action and coordination between local, regional, national, and international actors. In that mission, researchers require access to high-quality biological materials and data from SARS-CoV-2 infected and uninfected patients, covering the spectrum of disease manifestations. The "Biobanque québécoise de la COVID-19" (BQC19) is a pan-provincial initiative undertaken in Québec, Canada to enable the collection, storage and sharing of samples and data related to the COVID-19 crisis. As a disease-oriented biobank based on high-quality biosamples and clinical data of hospitalized and non-hospitalized SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive and negative individuals. The BQC19 follows a legal and ethical management framework approved by local health authorities. The biosamples include plasma, serum, peripheral blood mononuclear cells and DNA and RNA isolated from whole blood. In addition to the clinical variables, BQC19 will provide in-depth analytical data derived from the biosamples including whole genome and transcriptome sequencing, proteome and metabolome analyses, multiplex measurements of key circulating markers as well as anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses. BQC19 will provide the scientific and medical communities access to data and samples to better understand, manage and ultimately limit, the impact of COVID-19. In this paper we present BQC19, describe the process according to which it is governed and organized, and address opportunities for future research collaborations. BQC19 aims to be a part of a global communal effort addressing the challenges of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Biological Specimen Banks/organization & administration , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans , Information Dissemination/methods , Pandemics , Quebec/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
4.
PLoS One ; 16(5): e0245031, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1234580

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection causing the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been responsible for more than 2.8 million deaths and nearly 125 million infections worldwide as of March 2021. In March 2020, the World Health Organization determined that the COVID-19 outbreak is a global pandemic. The urgency and magnitude of this pandemic demanded immediate action and coordination between local, regional, national, and international actors. In that mission, researchers require access to high-quality biological materials and data from SARS-CoV-2 infected and uninfected patients, covering the spectrum of disease manifestations. The "Biobanque québécoise de la COVID-19" (BQC19) is a pan-provincial initiative undertaken in Québec, Canada to enable the collection, storage and sharing of samples and data related to the COVID-19 crisis. As a disease-oriented biobank based on high-quality biosamples and clinical data of hospitalized and non-hospitalized SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive and negative individuals. The BQC19 follows a legal and ethical management framework approved by local health authorities. The biosamples include plasma, serum, peripheral blood mononuclear cells and DNA and RNA isolated from whole blood. In addition to the clinical variables, BQC19 will provide in-depth analytical data derived from the biosamples including whole genome and transcriptome sequencing, proteome and metabolome analyses, multiplex measurements of key circulating markers as well as anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses. BQC19 will provide the scientific and medical communities access to data and samples to better understand, manage and ultimately limit, the impact of COVID-19. In this paper we present BQC19, describe the process according to which it is governed and organized, and address opportunities for future research collaborations. BQC19 aims to be a part of a global communal effort addressing the challenges of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Biological Specimen Banks/organization & administration , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Humans , Information Dissemination/methods , Pandemics , Quebec/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
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