FIND manages collections of well-characterized disease samples (specimens), to support commercial and academic researchers in the development or evaluation of new and existing tools to improve diagnosis of infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries.
All specimens are collected at qualified clinics, under a protocol approved by an ethical review board and with informed consent from patients meeting the inclusion criteria for specimen collection. FIND follows good clinical and laboratory practices in obtaining and processing specimens, which are collected specifically for product development purposes, or as a complement to clinical trial activities.
Specimen requests are submitted via the FIND website. Each request is evaluated by the FIND Specimen Bank Review Committee (SBRC). The SBRC approves specimen requests based on:
- Relevance to public health
- Applicability of the technology in high-burden countries
- Affordability of final product
- Previous data or scientific evidence supporting the request
Following SBRC approval, samples are shipped worldwide. Requesters usually cover handling fees and shipping costs. All FIND specimen recipients are asked to report back on data derived from their use, and are strongly encouraged to share results with the scientific community.
The FIND Specimen Bank uses the open-source platform OpenSpecimen to maintain the inventory, perform specimen selection, and add and remove specimens. FIND is developing innovative plug-in tools that facilitate the integration of OpenSpecimen with clinical databases, which can be used by the entire scientific community.
The FIND Specimen Bank hosts over 400,000 specimens of whole blood, serum, plasma, urine, sputum, saliva, DNA (bacterial), PAXgene tubes and culture isolates.
Typical specimen characterizations may include microscopy, bacterial culture, molecular tests (e.g. PCR and Xpert® MTB/Rif), antigen detection tests and antibody detection tests (e.g. serological tests).
Specimen types and characterization:
FIND also hosts a TB collection for WHO/TDR, and contributes to the WHO specimen collections for human African trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis.