Fiocruz News Agency
Wednesday (July 27) was the last day of the visit of a delegation from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to Fiocruz. The group visited the Foundation to discuss the detailed design of the COVID-19 Genomic Surveillance Network Improvement Project. After a series of meetings and visits to Fiocruz laboratories and units, the terms were established in the draft of the meetings, signed on Wednesday. The document is a basis for the final agreement, to be signed in a few months.
The Jica delegation visited the Moorish Castle (photo: Fiocruz)
The general consul of Japan in Rio de Janeiro, Ken Hashiba, and the vice-consul, Hiroki Muya, also attended the first day of the visit. The discussions pointed to the special interest in strengthening the Genomic Network, a national research effort led by Fiocruz, with the goal of decoding the genome of the Sars-CoV-2, in a scientific collaboration between the institutions, with the possibility of exchange of researchers, among other forms of cooperation. The draft includes, as a general goal, establishing a cooperation network for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 and other emerging diseases, as well as strengthening and improving the capacity of genomic science regarding infectious diseases in Brazil.
At the end of the visits and debates, the head of the Japanese mission and senior director of the Jica Department of Human Development, Osuke Komazawa, emphasized the relevance of the work carried out by Fiocruz: “We comprehend the importance of Fiocruz’s work in Brazil and its contribution to medical assistance in the country. One of our missions is to promote people’s health in the world, so we hope this project with Fiocruz can improve the health of people in Brazil. We will be focusing specifically on communicable diseases and I believe our project will contribute to improving prevention and control systems.”
The document is a basis for the final agreement, to be signed in a few months (photo: Fiocruz)
As he signed the draft of the conversations, Rodrigo Corrêa, vice-president for Fiocruz Biological Research and Collections (VPPCB), said he was excited about the collaboration between the Foundation and Jica. He highlighted the strong partnership between the two institutions: “Jica has become closer and closer to Fiocruz in the past few years, proof of the relevance of the work we are doing. It is also very important to be able to apply this process of experience exchange to the field of public health,” he stated.
During the day of visitation to Fiocruz laboratories, Corrêa drew attention to the need to expand health surveillance beyond COVID-19: “This is a significant moment and we should be integrated”, he pointed out.
The Japanese delegation visited the Inflammation Laboratory, the Laboratory of Compared and Environmental Virology, and the Laboratory of Respiratory Viruses and Measles, of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz); the COVID-19 Diagnostic Support Unit (Unadig); the Biobank; and the Diagnostic Technology Laboratory of the Immunobiological Technology Institute (Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz). At the latter and at the Inflammation Laboratory, the group got to know the equipment acquired through a partnership with Jica. The representatives of the Japanese agency also visited the units of Fiocruz Amazônia (Leônidas and Maria Deane Institute), in Manaus, Fiocruz Ceará, in Eusébio, and Fiocruz Pernambuco (Aggeu Magalhães Institute), in Recife.
The Japanese delegation visited some of Fiocruz's laboratories (photo: Fiocruz)
Other members of the Japanese delegation were Mika Kamijo, responsible for the health-related program of Jica’s Department of Human Development; Makoto Kuroda, director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) of Japan; and Akina Ogamino, researcher of the NIID Center for Pathogens Genomics. Fiocruz’s representatives, researchers Wim Degrave, Marcelo Pelajo, Marilda Siqueira, Fernando Motta, Felipe Naveca and Fabio Miyajima, were present for the negotiations.