Since 2020, the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has transformed the world. The research field, especially the development of therapeutic agents such as mRNA vaccines and antibody drugs, has been remarkable in speed and scale, and a kind of revolution has taken place. The ripple effects are beginning to spread from molecular (academic) to ethical (social interface) research fields, and new trends are emerging in basic biology, medical research, clinical research, and social science fields previously unrelated to infectious disease and vaccine research. The G7 and WHO have set high goals, such as delivering safe and effective medicines and vaccines to the world in 100 days when the next pandemic strikes.
On the other hand, in Japan, the Cabinet decided in June 2021 on a future vaccine development strategy to prepare for the next pandemic, and a command post organization for infectious disease research and vaccine development, SCARDA, was established at AMED in 2022 with a supplementary budget. The new organization will be established in 2022. The SCARDA will support development projects of infectious disease vaccines, new modalities, adjuvants, delivery systems, and pre-clinical studies, as well as start-up companies and domestic vaccine development companies that connect basic and clinical development. In addition to support for infectious disease vaccines, new modality development projects, adjuvants and delivery systems, and non-clinical studies, support for start-ups and domestic vaccine development companies that link basic and clinical development has been enhanced.
This forum was started in 2001 as a forum for discussion across the boundaries of infectious disease and immunology prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be held 21 times in 2023. Over the years, the Forum has provided a forum for researchers in bacteriology, parasitology, virology, and immunology to meet and discuss, and has served as an important platform for the formation of networks that transcend the boundaries of academic societies to which they belong, and for the development of collaborative research and joint projects. In addition, the Forum is held in English, inviting advanced researchers from overseas, and has become an international forum with many researchers from neighboring countries and diverse research institutions outside Japan.
This year, the Institute of Medical Science of the University of Tokyo, a member of the organizers, has taken the lead in collaborating with various projects of AMED-SCARDA, and we are pleased to have lectures by top researchers from Japan and abroad in a wide range of fields related to infectious diseases, immunology, and vaccines, from basic to clinical, as well as from professors from various AMED-SCARDA centers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof. Coban, Prof. Sato, Prof. Sorimachi, and Prof. Hase of the University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science, and Prof. Akeda, at National Institute for Infectious Diseases for their excellent recommendations of speakers as program committee members.
I hope that by having you all gather locally, not only for lectures, but also for poster presentations, coffee breaks, and other discussions among researchers that were not possible at the online meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic. For this purpose, we would be happy if as many researchers as possible from industry, academia, and government, who are involved in a wide range of fields beyond infectious diseases and immunology, could participate from all over Japan and from all over the world. In particular, we plan to increase the number of presentations and opportunities for young researchers to interact with each other, as well as to provide travel support for young researchers in Japan.