Cold is gold for COVID-19 scientists

February 11, 2021  //  FOUND IN: News
Biorepository director Victoria Blanc, Ph.D., pulls a rack of samples out of one of the large freezers used to store COVID-19 samples.

The forecast outside calls for temperatures below freezing, and wind chills below zero in the coming days. But that’s a heat wave compared with what’s happening inside a row of freezers at U-M.

The forecast for them? A very consistent -112 degrees Fahrenheit, or -80 degrees Celsius.

That’s just fine with U-M scientists, though. Because inside those freezers sit tens of thousands of tiny vials filled with blood plasma, DNA and nose swabbings from people with COVID-19.

Whether they were hospitalized at Michigan Medicine or volunteered to have blood drawn or their nose swabbed by a U-M team after they recovered at home, those patients have helped create a vast frozen COVID-19 library.

It’s called the COVID-19 Biorepository. And ever since it launched in spring of 2020, it’s been a trove of discovery for U-M researchers. As of this week, the COVID-19 Biorepository includes 23,365 samples from more than 2,100 people.

Click here for a complete look at the Biorepository and why it’s so important!