While social distancing is the best way to slow the spread of Coronavirus and flatten the curve of infections to make sure that hospitals are not overwhelmed, to return to full normalcy, we need to discover, test, and administer a vaccine in large quantities. The good news is that there are currently 35 companies racing to create a vaccine and at least 52 vaccine programs underway.
Last summer, I met with Dr. Tomoya Saito in Tokyo to learn about outbreak and bioterror preparedness in Japan.
Our conversation will be posted in two parts. Part I (below) is about the role that different Japanese institutions play to prevent and respond to biological threats. In Part II (to be posted soon) we will discuss how dual-use technologies change the risk of biothreats.
Dr. Saito is Chief Senior Researcher at the Department of Health Crisis Management of the National Institute of Public Health of Japan (NIPH). His current area of research is biosecurity, public health emergency preparedness and response, and simulation epidemiology. He is based in Saitama, Japan.
This is the second part of my conversation with Professor Benjamin J. Cowling about influenza pandemic prevention and preparedness. The first part was about pandemic preparedness and genomics. In this part, Prof. Cowling focuses on national and global responses.