Japan Funds $2 Billion for New Vaccine Initiatives

According to Nature, the  Japanese government has earmarked $2 billion in vaccine research to help its country better prepare for any future outbreaks. Japan has lagged behind other countries not only in vaccine development, but also during the COVID-19 era  .

As the report points out, three of Japan’s most advanced COVID-19 vaccine candidates are still undergoing clinical trials. To prevent the recurrence of such situations, the country established the Strategic Biomedical Advanced Vaccine Research and Development Center (SCARDA) in March.

SCARDA ‘s research center will be in Tokyo but will be supported by four core institutes, namely Osaka University, Nagasaki University, Hokkaido University and Chiba University. The $2 billion fund is supposed to keep the work going for five years. While $1.2 billion will be spent on the center’s vaccine research and development projects , $ 400 million will be spent on supporting start-ups in drug development . Another $400 million will be spent on establishing a nationwide network of research centers and vaccine testing.

Japan Funds $2 Billion for New Vaccine Initiatives

Japan to Focus on Vaccine Initiatives for Many Viruses

SCARDA will initially focus on developing vaccines for eight infectious diseases, including COVID-19, monkeypox, SARS, dengue fever and Zika virus . Researchers will also investigate various vaccine technologies such as mRNA and viral vectors. The center aims to “find radical solutions for future vaccines,” but its ultimate goal is to be able to create diagnostic tests, vaccines and treatments within 100 days of identifying a potentially pandemic pathogen.

It was the UK government that first proposed the 100-day response target based on what it learned from COVID-19 . “The first 100 days when faced with the threat of a pandemic or epidemic are crucial to change course and ideally to prevent a pandemic from happening,” Britain told the G7 in its pandemic preparedness report . he said. More than 2.5 million cases and 200,000 deaths have been recorded 100 days after COVID-19 was declared an international public health emergency, according to the World Health Organization . A quick response from the start could have prevented these numbers from rising even higher.