Countermeasures against bioterrorism have increased
since September 11 and anthrax attacks in the United
States of America in 2001. The “Strategy to Make Japan
the Safest Country in the World” was approved by the
Cabinet in 2013. Strengthening countermeasures against
naturally-occurring infectious disease outbreaks implies
strengthening countermeasures against bioterrorism;
however, the latter bears particular challenges. One of these
challenges is the approval of counter-terrorism therapeutic
or prophylactic agents, since the use of these agents is rare.
To move up the market for innovative drug candidates, the
“SAKIGAKE” designation scheme was introduced on a
pilot basis by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
in 2015. It is hoped that this scheme will be also applicable
for counter-terrorism agents.
A new commercial rapid diagnostic test for 10-min for
adenovirus (ADV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is
now available for rapid diagnosis. The sensitivity and the
specificity of these rapid diagnostic tests were compared to
real-time PCR which is a “golden standard” for detecting
ADV and RSV. Here, we assessed the 150 of real-time PCRpositive
samples for ADV and 100 for RSV, and 81 (54%)
and 63 (63%) of them were positive with rapid diagnostic
test, respectively. The sensitivity of the rapid diagnostic test
was 54% for ADV and 63.0% for RSV. Accordingly, the
samples showing over 30 Ct in real-time PCR were detected
by the ADV rapid diagnostic test and over 24 Ct by the
RSV rapid diagnostic test. These results indicated that
these test kits performed well enough to be used for rapid
diagnosis of patients infected with ADV and RSV after 10-
min with simple step.
Less than 2 years after graduating from a medical school, I worked in Ethiopia for the smallpox eradication program under WHO. My work was to find out infected villages, and give vaccination to uninfected children. People there lived in rocky mountainous areas with extreme poverty. The experiences were so tough that it has left a permanent ‘scar’ in my brain which influences my behavior/decision thereafter.
Then I worked with WHO for a filariasis program in Samoa. I learned a lot and influenced heavily, but a bit negatively: I
decided to do pure research rather than doing office work.
The emotional and shocking experiences in developing countries have given me the energy which is necessary to continue arrogant ways of work in the field of tropical medicine.