Qatar Biobank Cohort Study: Study Design and First Results

Am J Epidemiol. 2019 Aug 1;188(8):1420-1433. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwz084.


We describe the design, implementation, and results of the Qatar Biobank (QBB) cohort study for the first 10,000 participants. QBB is a prospective, population-based cohort study in Qatar, established in 2012. QBB's primary goal was to establish a cohort accessible to the local and international scientific community, providing adequate health data and biological samples to enable evidence-based research. The study design is based on an agnostic hypothesis, collecting data using questionnaires, biological samples, imaging data, and -omics. QBB aims to recruit 60,000 participants, men and women, adult (aged ≥18 years) Qataris or long-term residents (≥15 years living in Qatar) and follow up with them every 5 years. Currently, QBB has reached 28% (n = 17,065) of the targeted enrollee population and more than 2 million biological samples. QBB is a multinational cohort including 33 different nationalities, with a relatively young population (mean age, 40.5 years) of persons who are highly educated (50% university-educated) and have high monthly incomes. The 4 main noncommunicable diseases found among the QBB population are dyslipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, and asthma with prevalences of 30.1%, 17.4%, 16.8%, and 9.1%, respectively. The QBB repository can provide data and biological samples sufficient to demonstrate valid associations between genetic and/or environmental exposure and disease development to scientists worldwide.

Keywords: Middle East; Qatar Biobank; noncommunicable diseases; population-based cohort study; research platform.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biological Specimen Banks / organization & administration*
  • Biomarkers
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noncommunicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Qatar / epidemiology
  • Research Design*
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Biomarkers