A European laboratory facility is established to support the clinical networks, covering both Primary Care (PC) settings and hospital care (HC) settings. In each of the PC and HC settings, local laboratory infrastructures are identified providing basic and or advanced diagnostic capacity to support the clinical studies performed in WP3, WP4, and WP5 with their in-house methods and eventually with protocols and methods developed in WP7.
A biobank that includes a repository of clinical reference specimens will be established. The repository is required to evaluate any developed diagnostic assay in syndrome-directed cohorts and for storing and distributing all the clinical samples resulting from PRACTICE studies. In the first period (ca. 15 months) we will assemble an inventory of clinical samples stored in each of the participating institutions´ in-house collections. We aim to assemble a collection of at least 500 clinical samples with pathogen identification for each syndrome of interest to PREPARE. The sample repository will be augmented by collaboration with FP6 and FP7 projects such as GRACE, PREDEMICS, EMPERIE, and ANTIGONE. We will then include in the biobank those clinical samples collected prospectively in WP3 and 4 (and possibly WP5 depending on the arms of the adaptive trial). A policy was already agreed by the PREPARE Consortium on sharing stored clinical material from confirmed cases, and to use the repository as a core facility to develop novel rapid diagnostic tests. Protocols will be developed for sample collection, shipment, packaging and transport for diagnostic specimens and infectious agents in accordance with international guidelines such as the International Air Transport Association regulations and the EU dangerous goods directive. PREPARE will not duplicate existing activities regarding strain collections. Instead, the repository of reference specimens will be supplemented by formalised agreements with strain collection infrastructures at public health institutes including Institut Pasteur, France; Health Protection Agency, UK; and RIVM, The Netherlands for bacteria and EVA for viruses.