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Japanese gov't to boost domestic coronavirus vaccine development as 'national strategy'

This supplied electron micrograph shows the new coronavirus that was first identified in central China's Wuhan city. (Photo courtesy of Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is quickly crafting a new strategy to boost development of domestic coronavirus vaccines, the Mainichi Shimbun learned on May 13.

    The government has created a framework for the new strategy to boost coronavirus vaccine development and a production system, based on lessons learned from delays in developing domestic vaccines.

    Setting the development of domestic vaccines as a "national strategy to tackle on a long-term and continuous basis," the government intends to incorporate items such as forming and funding a research and development hub to boost vaccine development with new technologies, arranging a clinical trial environment and revising the pharmaceutical approval system.

    The government also has a policy to reassure pharmaceutical firms that it will buy vaccines so that the companies can advance development without fear of taking risks. Coordination of the new strategy is hurriedly underway with hopes to have it officially finalized before a "vaccine summit" on June 2 to be co-hosted by the Japanese government and international organizations.

    Four Japanese companies have started clinical trials on coronavirus vaccines, but as it has not been clear when they will come into practical use, the country has been relying on imported vaccines, which is one of the factors behind the delay in vaccinations in the country.

    (Japanese original by Ai Yokota, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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