Date:April 8, 2020

Japan Successfully Isolates Novel Coronavirus – A Step Closer To Developing Vaccine And Test Kit


This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (CDC via AP)

Initially starting in the city of Wuhan, China, a confirmed case of a person infected with coronavirus has appeared in Japan as well. Using this case, on Friday, The National Institute of Infectious Diseases said that it has succeeded in cultivating and isolating the novel coronavirus, reported The Japan Times.

Thanks to this achievement, now the institute can begin developing a vaccine and a drug for the coronavirus. And it also can deliver test kits capable of offering a quick diagnosis.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases plans to share the findings with researchers and other companies. The researchers from the institute found that 99.9% of the isolated virus gene matched those released by the Chinese government. In other words, there was no gene mutation leading to higher infectiousness or toxicity.

Meanwhile, the first death of a 44-year-old Chinese citizen, outside the territory of China, has been reported in the Philippines. “This is the first reported death outside China,” Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the World Health Organization representative to the Philippines, told The Guardian. “However, we need to take into mind that this is not a locally acquired case. This patient came from the epicenter of this outbreak.”

Ever since the virus breakout, 426 cases of deaths have been recorded, and also the infected cases jumped to 20,000, according to Johns Hopkins University,  reported The Guardian. Meanwhile, 489 patients were recovered.

Since the death tolls by coronavirus surpassed deaths from the SARS epidemic by 349 people and countries are conducting stricter border controls, and also suspending flights and business operations. These events have sparked fear of a slowdown and even decline in China’s economy. Which in fact, as The Guardian reported, the Chinese stock market plunged at least 7% after reopening for the first time since they closed for the Lunar new year on 23 January.

The U.S., Australia, Singapore, and Israel have banned non-citizens from visiting if they have been in China over the previous 14 days. Among other countries is New Zealand, whose prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Monday, February 03, 2020, cited “the range of unknowns in the way the virus is being transmitted” to justify her country’s decision.

Meanwhile, Mongolia, Russia, Nepal, and Papua New Guinea have banned entry to anyone from airports across Asia. Other regions have also imposed restrictions on people who have visited the Hubei province in the past 14 days.