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Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters Launched

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Published: August 11, 2020

On June 5th, the Institute of Innovative Research (IIR), Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), launched the Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters with the aim of resolving social issues caused by COVID-19. Work is already underway on 18 research themes including "A diagnostic device for SARS-CoV-2 with a one-dollar/one-minute sample," "Observation of social and economic phenomena in the spread of COVID-19 and future predictions based on models," and a "Human nature and altruism in a post-corona society." Researchers from a wide range of sciences and technologies at Tokyo Tech are working together to resolve the unprecedented crisis posed by a novel coronavirus.

Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters Launched

How can science and technology help with the various social crises brought on by an infectious disease (COVID-19) caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which is now threatening human life and forcing major cities all over the world to lock down? This is an urgent research subject that universities must undertake. In order to resolve the social issues caused by this COVID-19 disaster, in addition to the development of vaccines and therapeutic agents that are urgently needed, a response is needed from various fields such as medical devices, future predictions, working styles, and an understanding of the new normal, and the strengths of both science and technology and the humanities and social sciences will be required. Furthermore, it is extremely important to consider the "essence of the problem."

Therefore, the IIR launched the "Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters" to address issues related to COVID-19. This project includes 18 research themes, and discussions are currently underway regarding these research themes to find correlations among the various themes, for acquiring external funds, and establishing/strengthening collaborative research with companies. Proposals for new research themes are also being accepted. The 18 research themes cover diverse fields including "diagnosis/antiviral drugs and vaccines" and "virus removal/inactivation," which directly relate to viruses themselves, "medical devices" for treatments, and "work style reforms" and "future projections," which are fields for achieving an ideal future society. It is expected that these efforts by Tokyo Tech to fuse dissimilar fields will result in a positive effect.

As an implementation model for this Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters, the IIR will establish the "Research Organization for Immediate Response to Social Issues (tentative name)" as a system for swiftly implementing research to various social issues based on a short-term perspective in one-year units or a medium-term perspective of about three years based on fundamental research, and will proceed with research required by society.

Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters

Main Research Themes of the Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters

    Diagnosis, Antiviral Drugs, and Vaccines

  • Chemically modified fluorescent immunosensors
  • A diagnostic device for SARS-CoV-2 with a one-dollar/one-minute sample
  • Biological detection methods using MRI/NMR probes
  • Inhibitors for bioactive proteins derived from SARS-CoV-2
  • Innovative RT-PCR method for SARS-CoV-2

Virus Removal and Inactivation

  • Rapid and non-contact inactivation of coronaviruses with low-temperature plasma
  • Highly structurally controlled porous carbon material and its application to remove toxic substances
  • Examination of highly sanitary DLC coating
  • Antiviral material using borophene

Medical Devices

  • Magnetically levitated centrifugal blood pumps for ECMO and its multifunctional use
  • Flexible near-infrared image sensors

Work Style Reform

  • Video conferencing service that allows multiple conversations
  • Technology that contributes to the improvement of the telework environment

Future Projections

  • Observation of social and economic phenomena in the spread of COVID-19 and future predictions based on models

New Normal

  • Human nature and altruism in a post-corona society

Contact

Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters

Email covid-19research@iir.titech.ac.jp

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