Global Research in Japan

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Summary of Past and Present NIAID-Funded Research

NIAID has a long history of partnership with Japan, a country with a strong biomedical research community. The U.S. – Japan Cooperative Medical Sciences Program (USJCMSP), one of the oldest bilateral programs in the history of the National Institutes of Health, was established in 1965 to address the public health issues of importance in the Asia-Pacific region.  

The East Asia Science and Innovation Area (e-ASIA) Joint Research Program (JRP) is a regional program with 24 member organizations from 15 countries involved in facilitating and supporting research cooperation among scientists in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. NIAID and the National Cancer Institute are actively engaged in the e-ASIA JRP and USJCMSP.  

The NIAID Office of Biodefense Research and Surety has been engaged with Japan in biomedical research involved with biosecurity and biodefense under the U.S. – Japan Biodefense Research framework. This includes exploring future opportunities for information sharing, research collaboration, and public health response to disasters and national security. 

Other current NIAID supported research collaboration with institutions in Japan include research projects focused on immunology, hepatitis, HIV, malaria, and other emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Sites in Japan have participated in NIAID supported clinical trials and studies on COVID-19. Institutions in Japan also participate in other NIAID supported networks and programs including the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG), the International Center of Excellence in Malaria Research (ICEMR), and the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA).  


Remdesivir for the Treatment of COVID-19 

Analysis of the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT) data showed that the investigational antiviral remdesivir is superior to the standard of care for the treatment of COVID-19. This randomized, controlled trial was conducted in Japan and nine other countries and, in 58 days, enrolled 1,063 hospitalized adults with COVID-19 with evidence of lower respiratory tract involvement. Investigators found that remdesivir was most beneficial for hospitalized patients with severe disease who required supplemental oxygen. This trial was funded by NIAID, other U.S. federal agencies, the government of Japan, and other foreign governments. 

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Domestic Cats 

This study evaluated nasal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 from inoculated cats and the subsequent transmission of the virus by direct contact between virus-inoculated cats and cats with no previous infection with the virus. The data showed the ease of transmission between domestic cats, and the public health need to recognize and further investigate the potential chain of human–cat–human transmission. This study was conducted by investigators in Japan with funding, in part, from NIAID. 

Microbiota as Predictor of Mortality in Allogeneic Hematopoietic-Cell Transplantation 

Using 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing, NIAID-supported investigators profiled the microbiota composition of fecal samples obtained from patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplantation at four centers in Japan, Germany, New York, and North Carolina. They found that patterns of microbiota disruption during allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplantation were similar across the transplantation centers and geographic locations and that they were characterized by loss of diversity and domination by single taxa. Higher diversity of intestinal microbiota at the time of neutrophil engraftment was associated with lower mortality. 

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