Extraction of issues and countermeasures for COVID-19 vaccine development in Japan
In order to clarify the background surrounding the development of vaccines against new coronavirus infections (referred to as COVID-19), we first collected and organized relevant information. As a result, the disease structure (disease-specific mortality rate) in Japan is characterized by the prominence of cancer, and the number of infections and deaths due to COVID-19 is lower than in Europe and the United States. Furthermore, in terms of R&D, although the number of papers and preprints on
... D-19 is small compared to other countries, the global share of papers in the fields of clinical medicine and basic life sciences is high, and the international share of patents on infectious diseases is also high. However, the total R&D expenditures of vaccine development companies are low compared to those of the top companies in the global vaccine market. It is said that bio start-ups are important for drug discovery, but in Japan, there are very few bio start-ups that are listed on the stock exchange. Sixty percent of the listed bio start-ups are engaged in drug discovery, and the target disease for development is often cancer. In overall, there are more exploratory stages than clinical development stages. Next, in order to clarify the cause of the delay in the development of domestic COVID-19 vaccine compared to Europe and the US and examine future issues and their solutions, we conducted semistructured interviews with experts who are responsible for vaccine R&D in universities and companies in Japan. The following points are pointed out why COVID-19 vaccines have not been developed quickly in Japan; Both academia and industry in Japan have one of the world's leading drug discovery capabilities and have outstanding potential for vaccine development in the world, However, t Japan does not have an emergency system to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with all its might, and, in particular, has not prepared in peacetime a research system for pandemic, The position of infectious diseases in medical research has declined and the decrease of researchers and research projects in the field of the diseases due to the change of disease structure (the number of infectious disease patients and deaths has decreased.), There are various issues to be addressed in academia, hospitals, industry, and government.