Nagasaki University has been making university-wide efforts for Planetary Health by collaborating with ten distinctive faculties, university hospitals, research institutes, etc., to solve the global issues we currently have. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 was indeed a reminder that “infectious disease” is one of the global challenges. Now, two and a half years after its beginning, humanity, in its collective wisdom, has begun the journey toward an end. However, new infectious diseases will continue to emerge, even after the COVID-19 pandemic.The University has a long history of researching infectious diseases since it was established in 1857 as the Nagasaki Medical Training Institute. Today, the Institute of Tropical Medicine, the National Research Center for the Control and Prevention of Infectious Diseases (CCPID), the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health, the University Hospital, and several other departments conduct advanced research in basic research, clinical research, drug development, epidemiology, etc., as well as establishing infrastructures and education in the fields of infectious diseases. In response to the recommendations of the external expert panel organized on the occasion of the completion of the BSL-4 experimental facility at the CCPID in 2021, the DIDA was established in April 2022 as an alliance to strengthen and accelerate research by enabling the integrated operation of infectious disease research resources across other departments in the University and visualizing helpful human resources.
This organizational reform will strengthen and streamline research on infectious diseases during regular times inside and outside the university. In an emergency such as a pandemic, we aim to rapidly develop vaccines and therapeutics from pathogen isolation and identification to clinical trials while also utilizing the BSL-4 facility. In addition, we aim to reform our organization into one capable of making policy recommendations in collaboration with the Interfaculty Initiative in Planetary Health by promoting deep collaboration with extramural research institutions and private companies. In the recent pandemic, Western countries could quickly commercialize vaccines and therapeutics through rapid research and development, but Japan lagged far behind. We hope the DIDA will play an essential role in future pandemics by strengthening collaboration both within and outside the university and with the world.