From April 1, 2021, the “Research and Education Center for Prevention of Global Infectious Diseases of Animals” has been reorganized into the “Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Research”. The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Miyazaki Prefecture in 2010 led to the establishment of centers for research and education on infectious diseases of animals at veterinary universities across Japan. Our center was one of them. We have been conducting research on all types of organisms, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, plants, and mucus, with a focus on infectious diseases of domestic animals. During this time, we have reported more than 40 “novel virus” papers, accounting for 0.1% of the world’s novel virus discovery papers. We have also developed a method for the comprehensive detection of infectious diseases in cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats, which is being used by universities and other institutions in Japan and abroad. In the summer of 2019, as we approach a decade-long milestone, we have decided that it is “time to shed our skin. What is required of research on infectious diseases now? It was also the time when the second wave of the new coronavirus was hitting Japan. What is needed now is research that looks to the future. It is important to study infectious diseases that have already developed, but we should also study infectious diseases that will develop in the future. Originally, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology had a culture of establishing a new discipline called “Epidemiology and Prevention” and making it useful to the world. “Epidemiology and Prevention” is an academic discipline that predicts infectious diseases that will emerge in the future so that countermeasures against infectious diseases that have been taken in the past can be conducted ahead of time. Moreover, in April 2021, we will be reborn as the “Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Research”. This is where our new challenge begins. Our goal is to be recognized worldwide as a center for disseminating information on unknown viruses in the next decade. We will continue to predict the next infectious disease of the new coronavirus and disseminate information on countermeasures.
Center Director Tetsuya Mizutani