March 17, 2023
On March 13, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Record of Discussions with the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and Oswaldo Cruz for the Project for the Enhancement of Genomic Monitoring Network for COVID-19, a technical cooperation project.
Brazil has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a remarkably high cumulative number of both cases and deaths. In addition, the country sees frequent outbreaks of other infectious diseases such as Zika fever, influenza, dengue fever, and chikungunya fever, and outbreaks of infectious diseases with high fatality rates, such as yellow fever and rabies, have been constantly reported. Therefore, the response to viral infections is one of the greatest public health challenges in Brazil.
Given the fact that COVID-19 has evolved and mutant strains have emerged one after another, and that other viruses may cause global epidemics in the future, genome analysis that enables rapid identification of viral mutations is essential for faster and more effective public health policy and drug development.
From FY1980 to FY1984, JICA provided technical cooperation to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)—a Brazilian national institution responsible for education and research in the medical field as well as the development and production of drugs including vaccines—to support the production and quality control of measles and polio vaccines. In addition, from FY2021 to FY2022, JICA implemented a technical cooperation project aimed at improving Fiocruz’s capacity for testing, diagnosis, treatment, vaccine adaptation and development, as well as for understanding the pathophysiology of the disease.
In March 2020, Fiocruz established the COVID-19 Genome Monitoring Network, which conducts genome analysis at eight Fiocruz units (laboratories) nationwide and provides information to the Ministry of Health and state health authorities, etc. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Fiocruz has become a center for genome analysis in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and the institution’s activities include contracted genomic analysis of neighboring countries’ COVID-19. Therefore, strengthening Fiocruz’s genome monitoring network is expected to improve the ability to detect infectious diseases that may cause pandemics, not only in Brazil but also worldwide.
This project will contribute to the achievement of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Goal 3 (Good health and well-being).
Details for the project are provided below.
|Country||Federative Republic of Brazil|
|Project title||Project for the Enhancement of Genomic Monitoring Network for COVID-19|
|Planned implementation period||48 months|
|Executing agency||The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation|
|Target region||Areas covered by the priority Units of Fiocruz (Fiocruz Amazônia, Bahia, Ceará, Pernambuco, and Oswaldo Cruz Institute)|
|Specific project details (provisional)||This project aims to strengthen the sustainable and rapid genomic monitoring network for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the target regions by establishing an effective system for monitoring infectious disease-related genomes in the Fiocruz units in these regions, conducting joint research between Japan and Brazil that demonstrates the importance of genomic monitoring, and sharing knowledge on how to utilize genomic information between the two countries.|