A key unique and invaluable feature of the CNICS consortium is the access to biological specimens directly linked to the rich CNICS database that represents the diversity of patients within the CNICS population. The ability to link clinical data to specimens evaluated in basic science laboratories is at the heart of genuine translational research studies. Specimen repositories at all CNICS sites collect specimens on targeted populations of interest (e.g., treatment naïve individuals initiating therapy, “elite” controllers and/or long-term non-progressors) and universally at specified sites on all consenting patients, thereby creating a broad palate to support future studies. CNICS sites collect types of specimens that are most likely to be used to address emerging translational and clinical questions, including plasma (e.g., for biomarkers), viably frozen PBMCs (e.g., for functional immunologic assays), or snap frozen PBMCs (for genetic analyses). Saliva specimens are also available. Each of the CNICS sites has experience with sample preparation and quality assurance through the ACTG / AVEU / HVTN networks. 

Overall, from March 25, 1987 to 2019, CNICS has collected and stored 1,043,374 aliquots of biological specimens from 18,188 unique HIV-infected patients at 139,148 timepoints.

Specimens requests will be reviewed for feasbility upon submission of a specimen webform request. CNICS will work with investigators to optimize requests and determine availability. Shipping and handling costs associated with specimen requests are the responsiblity of the requesting investigator. Specimens are not stored at a central repository but maintained at each site. Costs associated with specimen shipments from multiple sites may be incurred, depending on the study.