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Japan to initiate infectious diseases databank

Around 50 medical institutions are expected to join the project, and the databank will be operated by organisations including the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, and the University of Tokyo

IANS | Tokyo |

The Japanese government will launch a databank of infectious diseases later this month to help fight Covid-19, starting with a plan to collect statistics on 10,000 infected patients by March 2022, local media reported on Wednesday.

To help curb the pandemic, the government will first collect blood and saliva samples along with the treatment records of infected patients, and provide firms and universities access to these records in assistance to their researches on respiratory disease possibly from this autumn, according to project managers.

Universities and medical institutions in Japan have been managing data on infectious diseases separately, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, problems such as a lack of staff for data analysis and the inability to keep samples due to budget crunch remained unresolved.

“It is very important for the state to take the lead in continuously operating the databank from the standpoint of national security,” Wataru Sugiura, who heads the Center for Clinical Sciences, told local media.

“It is also necessary to nurture people who can conduct research using the collected data,” he added.

Accordingly, around 50 medical institutions are expected to join the project, and the databank will be operated by organisations including the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, and the University of Tokyo.

The databank will first accumulate samples and treatment data of Covid patients already stored at each institution and start asking permission from new patients for their samples and data on treatment, severity, vaccination records and genome analyses.

Such samples and data are expected to show what type of people tend to develop severe Covid-19 symptoms.