Overcoming COVID-19 Pandemic through Collaboration between Academia and Local Government
Professor, Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine
Director, Department of Clinical Laboratory, Department of Infection Prevention, Kyoto University Hospital
Miki Nagao is a professor of Clinical Laboratory Medicine at Kyoto University Graduate School of medicine. She also serves as a director of infection control team and clinical laboratory department at Kyoto University Hospital. She is a physician specializing in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology and is responsible for antimicrobial stewardship program in KUH. She also serves as a chief in COVID-19 research project organized by Kyoto University and local government in Kyoto. The principal areas of her research are infection prevention strategy for nosocomial pathogens, molecular epidemiology of multi-drug resistant pathogens and development of novel diagnostic tools.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the weakness of molecular diagnostic systems at medical institutions in Japan. In addition, various issues including the medical delivery system for emerging infectious diseases and the shortage of human resources specializing in infection prevention were identified. Since the beginning of the pandemic, our group has concluded comprehensive agreements with Kyoto City, Osaka Prefecture, and related hospitals to tackle with COVID-19, and has promoted cooperation in COVID-19 testing and infection control. First, we established a large-scale molecular diagnostic system for mass testing and have been providing supports for infection control measures in elderly care facilities. Using mass testing system, we conduct administrative testing that exceeds the capacity of local governments and whole genome analysis which accounts for 20% of the total number of whole genome analysis in Japan at our hospital alone. Next, Kyoto City Public Health Center and Kyoto University collaborated to digitize the public health center’s investigation of close contacts and developed an application that can centrally manage COVID-19 cases from identification to release from quarantine.
Overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic requires the collaboration of various technologies and experts, and these responses are expected to inform countermeasures against further emerging infectious diseases.