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2.
J Med Internet Res ; 25: e44966, 2023 06 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20238916

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous countries, including the likes of Japan and Germany, initiated, developed, and deployed digital contact tracing solutions in an effort to detect and interrupt COVID-19 transmission chains. These initiatives indicated the willingness of both the Japanese and German governments to support eHealth solution development for public health; however, end user acceptance, trust, and willingness to make use of the solutions delivered through these initiatives are critical to their success. Through a case-based analysis of contact tracing solutions deployed in Japan and Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic we may gain valuable perspectives on the transnational role of digital technologies in crises, while also projecting possible directions for future pandemic technologies. OBJECTIVE: In this study, we investigate (1) which types of digital contact tracing solutions were developed and deployed by the Japanese and German governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) how many of these solutions are open-source software (OSS) solutions. Our objective is to establish not only the type of applications that may be needed in response to a pandemic from the perspective of 2 geographically diverse, world-leading economies but also how prevalent OSS pandemic technology development has been in this context. METHODS: We analyze the official government websites of Japan and Germany to identify digital solutions that are developed and deployed for contact tracing purposes (for any length of time) during the timeframe January-December 2021, specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We subsequently perform a case-oriented comparative analysis, also identifying which solutions are published as open-source. RESULTS: In Japan, a proximity tracing tool (COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application [COCOA]) and an outbreak management tool (Health Center Real-time Information-sharing System on COVID-19 [HER-SYS]) with an integrated symptom tracking tool (My HER-SYS) were developed. In Germany, a proximity tracing tool (Corona-Warn-App) and an outbreak management tool (Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System [SORMAS]) were developed. From these identified solutions, COCOA, Corona-Warn-App, and SORMAS were published as open-source, indicating support by both the Japanese and German governments for OSS pandemic technology development in the context of public health. CONCLUSIONS: Japan and Germany showed support for developing and deploying not only digital contact tracing solutions but also OSS digital contact tracing solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the open nature of such OSS solutions' source code, software solutions (both OSS and non-OSS) are only as transparent as the live or production environment where their processed data is hosted or stored. Software development and live software hosting are thus 2 sides of the same coin. It is nonetheless arguable that OSS pandemic technology solutions for public health are a step in the right direction for enhanced transparency in the interest of the greater public good.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Public Health , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Japan/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Contact Tracing , Germany/epidemiology
3.
BMJ Glob Health ; 8(5)2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20238047

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: We investigated the effect of social media-based interventions on COVID-19 vaccine intention (VI) and confidence in Japan. METHODS: We conducted a three-arm randomised controlled trial between 5 November 2021 and 9 January 2022 during a low incidence (<1000/day) of COVID-19 in Japan in the midst of the second and the third waves. Japanese citizens aged ≥20 who had not received any COVID-19 vaccine and did not intend to be vaccinated were randomly assigned to one of the following three groups: (1) a control group, (2) a group using a mobile app chatbot providing information on COVID-19 vaccines and (3) a group using interactive webinars with health professionals. VI and predefined Vaccine Confidence Index (VCI) measuring confidence in the importance, safety and effectiveness were compared before and after the interventions under intention-to-treat principle. Logistic regression models were used to investigate the effect of each intervention on postintervention VI and changes of VCI compared with control. RESULTS: Among 386 participants in each group, 359 (93.0%), 231 (59.8%) and 207 (53.6%) completed the postsurvey for the control, chatbot and webinar groups, respectively. The average duration between the intervention and the postsurvey was 32 days in chatbot group and 27 days in webinar group. VI increased from 0% to 18.5% (95% CI 14.5%, 22.5%) in control group, 15.4% (95% CI 10.8%, 20.1%) in chatbot group and 19.7% (95% CI 14.5%, 24.9%) in webinar group without significant difference (OR for improvement=0.8 (95% CI 0.5, 1.3), p=0.33 between chatbot and control, OR=1.1 (95% CI 0.7, 1.6), p=0.73 between webinar and control). VCI change tended to be larger in chatbot group compared with control group without significant difference (3.3% vs -2.5% in importance, OR for improvement=1.3 (95% CI 0.9, 2.0), p=0.18; 2.5% vs 1.9% in safety, OR=1.1 (95% CI 0.7, 1.9), p=0.62; -2.4% vs -7.6% in effectiveness, OR=1.4 (95% CI 0.9, 2.1), p=0.09). Improvement in VCI was larger in webinar group compared with control group for importance (7.8% vs -2.5%, OR=1.8 (95% CI 1.2, 2.8), p<0.01), effectiveness (6.4% vs -7.6%, OR=2.2 (95% CI 1.4, 3.4), p<0.01) and safety (6.0% vs 1.9%, OR=1.6 (95% CI 1.0, 2.6), p=0.08). CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that neither the chatbot nor the webinar changed VI importantly compared with control. Interactive webinars could be an effective tool to change vaccine confidence. Further study is needed to identify risk factors associated with decreased vaccine confidence and investigate what intervention can increase VI and vaccine confidence for COVID-19 vaccines. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: UMIN000045747.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mobile Applications , Vaccines , Humans , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Intention , Japan
4.
Adv Ther ; 40(8): 3525-3542, 2023 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236924

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: During the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, preferences for factors associated with vaccines have been evaluated. Three oral antiviral drugs have been approved in Japan for patients with mild-to-moderate I COVID-19 symptoms. Although preferences for the drugs may also depend on various factors, these have not been fully evaluated. METHODS: A conjoint analysis was performed based on an online survey in August 2022 to estimate the intangible costs of factors associated with oral antiviral drugs for COVID-19. Respondents were individuals aged 20-69 across Japan. The attributes included the company (Japanese/foreign) that developed the drug, formulation and size of the drug, frequency of administration per day, number of tablets/capsules per dose, number of days until no longer infectious to others, and out-of-pocket expenses. A logistic regression model was applied to estimate the utility of each level for each attribute. The intangible costs were calculated by comparing the utility to the out-of-pocket attribute. RESULTS: Responses were collected from 11,303 participants. The difference between levels was the largest for companies that developed a drug; the intangible costs were JPY 5390 higher for the foreign company than for the Japanese company. The next largest difference was in the number of days until one is no longer infectious. For the same formulation, the intangible cost was lower for small sizes than large sizes. For similar-sized tablets and capsules, the intangible cost was lower for tablets than capsules. These tendencies were similar regardless of COVID-19 infection history and the presence of risk factors for severe COVID-19 in the respondents. CONCLUSION: Intangible costs for factors associated with oral antiviral drugs among the Japanese population were estimated. The results may change as the number of people with a history of COVID-19 infection increases and significant progress is made regarding treatments.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Japan , Capsules , Health Expenditures , Ritonavir
5.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 9: e42143, 2023 07 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236909

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Distributing COVID-19 vaccines to the public was an important task for the governments of each country. Because of various limitations, priority settings for vaccination were determined at the time of mass vaccination. However, trends between vaccine intention and uptake, as well as reasons for getting vaccinated or not getting vaccinated, among these groups were understudied, undermining verification of the legitimacy of priority selection. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to illustrate a trend from prior COVID-19 vaccine intention, when the vaccine was not available, to the actual uptake within 1 year when all residents had access to the vaccine, to illustrate a change of reason for getting vaccinated or not getting vaccinated and to examine whether priority settings predicted subsequent vaccination uptake. METHODS: Prospective cohort, web-based, self-administered surveys were conducted in Japan at 3 time points: February 2021, September to October 2021, and February 2022. In total, 13,555 participants (age: mean 53.1, SD 15.9 years) provided valid responses, with a 52.1% follow-up rate. On the basis of the information obtained in February 2021, we identified 3 types of priority groups: health care workers (n=831), people aged ≥65 years (n=4048), and those aged 18 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions (n=1659). The remaining patients were treated as nonpriority (n=7017). Modified Poisson regression analysis with a robust error estimated the risk ratio for COVID-19 vaccine uptake after adjusting for socioeconomic background, health-seeking behavior, attitude toward vaccines, and COVID-19 infection history. RESULTS: In February 2021, a total of 5182 out of 13,555 (38.23%) respondents expressed their intention to get vaccinated. In February 2022, a total of 1570 out of 13,555 (11.6%) respondents completed the third dose and 10,589 (78.1%) respondents completed the second dose. Prior vaccine intention and subsequent vaccine coverage rates were higher in the priority groups. Protection of themselves and their families from potential infection was the most frequent reason for getting vaccinated, whereas concern about side effects was the most frequent reason for hesitation across the groups. Risk ratios for received, reserved, or intended for vaccination in February 2022 were 1.05 (95% CI 1.03-1.07) for the health care worker group, 1.02 (95% CI 1.005-1.03) for the older adult group, and 1.01 (95% CI 0.999-1.03) for the preexisting conditions group compared with the nonpriority group. Prior vaccine intention and confidence in vaccines were strong predictors of vaccine uptake. CONCLUSIONS: The priority settings at the start of the COVID-19 vaccination program had a significant impact on vaccine coverage after 1 year. The priority group for vaccination achieved higher vaccination coverage in February 2022. There was room for improvement among the nonpriority group. The findings of this study are essential for policy makers in Japan and other countries to develop effective vaccination strategies for future pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Humans , Aged , Middle Aged , COVID-19 Vaccines , Prospective Studies , Japan/epidemiology , Mass Vaccination , COVID-19/prevention & control , Vaccination
6.
Sci Rep ; 13(1): 9041, 2023 06 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236794

ABSTRACT

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, guidance ("Japanese Guide") has been published by a working group of several academic societies and announced by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. Steroids as a candidate treatment for COVID-19 were noted in the Japanese Guide. However, the prescription details for steroids, and whether the Japanese Guide changed its clinical practice, were unclear. This study aimed to examine the impact of the Japanese Guide on the trends in the prescription of steroids for COVID-19 inpatients in Japan. We selected our study population using Diagnostic Procedure Combination (DPC) data from hospitals participating in the Quality Indicator/Improvement Project (QIP). The inclusion criteria were patients discharged from hospital between January 2020 and December 2020, who had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and were aged 18 years or older. The epidemiological characteristics of cases and the proportion of steroid prescriptions were described on a weekly basis. The same analysis was performed for subgroups classified by disease severity. The study population comprised 8603 cases (410 severe cases, 2231 moderate II cases, and 5962 moderate I/mild cases). The maximum proportion of cases prescribed with dexamethasone increased remarkably from 2.5 to 35.2% in the study population before and after week 29 (July 2020), when dexamethasone was included in the guidance. These increases were 7.7% to 58.7% in severe cases, 5.0% to 57.2% in moderate II cases, and 1.1% to 19.2% in moderate I/mild cases. Although the proportion of cases prescribed prednisolone and methylprednisolone decreased in moderate II and moderate I/mild cases, it remained high in severe cases. We showed the trends of steroid prescriptions in COVID-19 inpatients. The results showed that guidance can influence drug treatment provided during an emerging infectious disease pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Steroids , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Dexamethasone , East Asian People , Inpatients , Japan/epidemiology , Methylprednisolone , Steroids/therapeutic use , Practice Guidelines as Topic
7.
PLoS One ; 18(5): e0285107, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236780

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic not only encouraged people to practice good hygiene but also caused behavioral inhibitions and resulted reduction in both endemic and imported infectious diseases. However, the changing patterns of vector-borne diseases under human mobility restrictions remain unclear. Hence, we aimed to investigate the impact of transborder and local mobility restrictions on vector-borne diseases through a descriptive epidemiological study. The analysis was conducted using data from the National Epidemiological Surveillance of Infectious Diseases system in Japan. We defined the pre-pandemic period as the period between the 1st week of 2016 to the 52nd week of 2019 and defined the pandemic period as from the 1st week of 2020 to the 52nd week of 2021, with the assumption that human mobility was limited throughout the pandemic period. This study addressed 24 diseases among notifiable vector borne diseases. Datasets were obtained from weekly reports from the National Epidemiological Surveillance of Infectious Diseases, and the incidence of each vector-borne disease was examined. Interrupted time series analysis was conducted on the epidemic curves for the two periods. Between the pre- and post-pandemic periods, the incidence of dengue fever and malaria significantly decreased, which may be related to limited human transboundary mobility (p = 0.003/0.002). The incidence of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, scrub typhus, and Japanese spotted fever did not show changes between the two periods or no association with human mobility. This study suggests that behavioral control may reduce the incidence of new mosquito-borne diseases from endemic areas but may not affect tick-borne disease epidemics within an endemic area.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Malaria , Animals , Humans , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Japan/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Malaria/epidemiology
8.
Health Syst Reform ; 9(2): 2173551, 2023 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235871

ABSTRACT

In response to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, hospitals around the world proactively or reactively developed and/or re-organized their governance structures to manage the COVID-19 response. Hospitals' governance played a crucial role in their ability to reorganize and respond to the pressing needs of their staff. We discuss and compare six hospital cases from four countries on different continents: Brazil, Canada, France, and Japan. Our study examined how governance strategies (e.g., special task forces, communications management tools, etc.) were perceived by hospital staff. Key findings from a total of 177 qualitative interviews with diverse hospital stakeholders were analyzed using three categories drawn from the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies framework on health systems resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic: 1) delivering a clear and timely COVID-19 response strategy; 2) coordinating effectively within (horizontally) and across (vertically) levels of decision-making; and 3) communicating clearly and transparently with the hospital's diverse stakeholders. Our study gleaned rich accounts for these three categories, highlighting significant variations across settings. These variations were primarily determined by the hospitals' environment prior to the COVID-19 crisis, namely whether there already existed a culture of managerial openness (including spaces for social interactions among hospital staff) and whether preparedness planning and training had been routinely integrated into their activities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , Hospitals , Japan
9.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20234983

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, which broke out globally in 2019, is an infectious disease caused by a novel strain of coronavirus, and its spread is highly contagious and concealed. Environmental vectors play an important role in viral infection and transmission, which brings new difficulties and challenges to disease prevention and control. In this paper, a type of differential equation model is constructed according to the spreading functions and characteristics of exposed individuals and environmental vectors during the virus infection process. In the proposed model, five compartments were considered, namely, susceptible individuals, exposed individuals, infected individuals, recovered individuals, and environmental vectors (contaminated with free virus particles). In particular, the re-positive factor was taken into account (i.e., recovered individuals who have lost sufficient immune protection may still return to the exposed class). With the basic reproduction number R0 of the model, the global stability of the disease-free equilibrium and uniform persistence of the model were completely analyzed. Furthermore, sufficient conditions for the global stability of the endemic equilibrium of the model were also given. Finally, the effective predictability of the model was tested by fitting COVID-19 data from Japan and Italy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Japan/epidemiology , Italy/epidemiology , Basic Reproduction Number
10.
J Med Internet Res ; 25: e45705, 2023 06 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244999

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Technology can assist in providing effective infectious disease management, but it can also become a source of social injustice and inequality. To control the rapidly increasing SARS-CoV-2 infections and promote effective vaccine administration, both South Korea and Japan have been using several technology-based systems and mobile apps. However, their different approaches to technology use have yielded contrasting social implications. OBJECTIVE: Through comparative studies of the use of digital technologies for pandemic management and its social implications in Japan and South Korea, this study aimed to discuss whether the active and optimal use of technology for pandemic management can occur without subverting or compromising important social values, such as privacy and equality. METHODS: This study compared the social implications of Japan's and South Korea's contrasting approaches to technology implementation for COVID-19 pandemic management in early 2022. RESULTS: Digital technologies have been actively and comprehensively used in South Korea, enabling effective COVID-19 management, but have raised serious concerns about privacy and social equality. In Japan, technologies have been more carefully implemented, thereby not causing similar social concerns, but their effectiveness in supporting COVID-19 regulations has been criticized. CONCLUSIONS: Potential social implications such as equality concerns, the balance between public interest and individual rights, and legal implications must be carefully assessed in conjunction with effective and optimal infectious disease control to achieve sustainable use of digital health technologies for infectious disease management in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Digital Technology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Japan , Republic of Korea
11.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 05 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244394

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in children can be compounded by concurrent diseases and immunosuppressants. For the first time, we aimed to report the clinical features of concurrent COVID-19 and pediatric rheumatic disease (PRD) in Japan. Pediatric Rheumatology Association of Japan members were surveyed between 1 April 2020 and 31 August 2022. Outcome measurements included the clinical features of concurrent PRD and COVID-19. Questionnaire responses were obtained from 38 hospitals. Thirty-one hospitals (82%) had children with PRD and COVID-19. The female-to-male ratio in these children (n = 156) was 7:3, with half aged 11-15 years. The highest proportion of children with PRD and COVID-19 was accounted for by juvenile idiopathic arthritis (52%), followed by systemic lupus erythematosus (24%), juvenile dermatomyositis (5%), scleroderma (4%), and Takayasu arteritis (3%). Of children with PRD, a significant majority (97%) were found to be asymptomatic (10%) or presented with mild symptoms (87%) of the COVID-19 infection. No severe cases or deaths were observed. Regarding the use of glucocorticoids, immunosuppressants, or biologics for PRD treatment before COVID-19, no significant difference was found between asymptomatic/mild and moderate COVID-19 in children with PRD. Therefore, COVID-19 is not a threat to children with PRD in Japan.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Rheumatic Diseases , Rheumatology , Child , Humans , Male , Female , COVID-19/epidemiology , Rheumatic Diseases/diagnosis , Rheumatic Diseases/epidemiology , Rheumatic Diseases/drug therapy , Japan/epidemiology , Immunosuppressive Agents/therapeutic use , Surveys and Questionnaires
12.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 04 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20243887

ABSTRACT

This study evaluated the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the occurrence of maternal primary cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in Japan. We performed a nested case-control study using data from maternal CMV antibody screening under the Cytomegalovirus in Mother and infant-engaged Virus serology (CMieV) program in Mie, Japan. Pregnant women with negative IgG antibodies at ≤20 weeks of gestation who were retested at ≥28 weeks were enrolled. The study period was divided into 2015-2019 as the pre-pandemic and 2020-2022 as the pandemic period, and the study site included 26 institutions conducting the CMieV program. The incidence rate of maternal IgG seroconversion was compared between the pre-pandemic (7008 women enrolled) and pandemic (2020, 1283 women enrolled; 2021, 1100 women; and 2022, 398 women) periods. Sixty-one women in the pre-pandemic period and five, four, and five women during 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively, showed IgG seroconversion. The incidence rates in 2020 and 2021 were lower (p < 0.05) than that in the pre-pandemic period. Our data suggest a transient decrease in the incidence of maternal primary CMV infection in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic, which could be due to prevention and hygiene measures taken at the population level.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cytomegalovirus Infections , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , Pregnancy , Female , Humans , Cytomegalovirus , Incidence , Pandemics , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/prevention & control , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/diagnosis , Case-Control Studies , Japan/epidemiology , Immunoglobulin G , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cytomegalovirus Infections/epidemiology , Cytomegalovirus Infections/prevention & control , Cytomegalovirus Infections/diagnosis , Antibodies, Viral
13.
Environ Health Prev Med ; 28: 35, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20243867

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Many previous studies have reported that COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness decreased over time and declined with newly emerging variants. However, there are few such studies in Japan. Using data from a community-based retrospective study, we aimed to assess the association between vaccination status and severe COVID-19 outcomes caused by the Omicron variant, considering the length of time since the last vaccination dose. METHODS: We included all persons aged ≥12 diagnosed with COVID-19 by a doctor and notified to the Chuwa Public Health Center of Nara Prefectural Government during the Omicron BA.1/BA.2 and BA.5-predominant periods in Japan (January 1 to September 25, 2022). The outcome variable was severe health consequences (SHC) (i.e., COVID-19-related hospitalization or death). The explanatory variable was vaccination status of the individuals (i.e., the number of vaccinations and length of time since last dose). Covariates included gender, age, risk factors for aggravation, and the number of hospital beds per population. Using the generalized estimating equations of the multivariable Poisson regression models, we estimated the cumulative incidence ratio (CIR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for SHC, with stratified analyses by period (BA.1/BA.2 or BA.5) and age (65 and older or 12-64 years). RESULTS: Of the 69,827 participants, 2,224 (3.2%) had SHC, 12,154 (17.4%) were unvaccinated, and 29,032 (41.6%) received ≥3 vaccine doses. Regardless of period or age, there was a significant dose-response relationship in which adjusted CIR for SHC decreased with an increased number of vaccinations and a longer time since the last vaccination. On the one hand, in the BA.5 period, those with ≥175 days after the third dose had no significant difference in people aged 65 and older (CIR 0.77; 95% CI, 0.53-1.12), but significantly lower CIR for SHC in people aged 12-64 (CIR 0.47; 95% CI, 0.26-0.84), compared with those with ≥14 days after the second dose. CONCLUSION: A higher number of vaccinations were associated with lower risk of SHC against both BA.1/BA.2 and BA.5 sublineages. Our findings suggest that increasing the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine can prevent severe COVID-19 outcomes, and that a biannual vaccination is recommended for older people.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Japan/epidemiology , Independent Living , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Jpn J Infect Dis ; 76(3): 204-206, 2023 May 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20242887

ABSTRACT

The Omicron variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in late 2021 and gradually overtook the Delta variant, which was the predominant variant at that time. The Omicron variant has been consecutively replaced by related sublineages. The real-time RT-PCR assays developed by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Japan (i.e., the NIID-N2 and NIID-S2 assays) are the reference assays that have been used in Japan since the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. To evaluate the applicability of the NIID assays for the Omicron variants, trends in the prevalence of nucleotide mismatches in the primer/probe sequences were traced using sequences registered in the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data database. Approximately 99% of the deposited Omicron variant sequences did not have any mismatches in the NIID assay primer/probes from January to August 2022. This indicates that the NIID assays have been able to detect the changing SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Animals , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Japan/epidemiology , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing
15.
Vaccine ; 41(29): 4199-4205, 2023 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20231139

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Long duration trial data for two-dose COVID-19 vaccines primary series' are uncommon due to unblinding and additional doses. We report one-year follow-up results from a phase 1/2 trial of AZD1222 (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) in Japan. METHODS: Adults (n = 256) seronegative for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) were stratified by age, 18-55 (n = 128), 56-69 (n = 86) and ≥70-year-old (n = 42), and randomized 3:1 to AZD1222 or placebo. Safety, immunogenicity, and exploratory efficacy data were collected until study Day 365. RESULTS: Safety was consistent with previous reports. In AZD1222 vaccinees, humoral responses against SARS-CoV-2 steadily declined over time. By Day 365, anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike-binding (spike) and receptor-binding domain (RBD) mean antibody titers remained above Day 15 levels and pseudovirus neutralizing antibodies were undetectable in many participants. CONCLUSIONS: AZD1222 is immunogenic and well tolerated in Japanese adults. Expected waning in anti-SARS-CoV-2 humoral responses was observed; spike and RBD antibody titers remained elevated. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04568031).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , Adult , Humans , Adolescent , Young Adult , Middle Aged , Aged , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Japan , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Immunogenicity, Vaccine
16.
J Infect Public Health ; 16(8): 1301-1305, 2023 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2328324

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Human astrovirus (HAstV) infection is one of the leading causes of acute gastroenteritis in young children. The present study reports the outbreak of HAstV in children with acute gastroenteritis in Kyoto, Japan, during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021. METHODS: A total of 61 stool samples were collected from children with acute gastroenteritis who visited a pediatric outpatient clinic in Maizuru city, Kyoto, Japan from July to October, 2021. HAstV was screened by RT-PCR, and the genotypes were identified by nucleotide sequence analysis. RESULTS: Of 61 cases of acute gastroenteritis, 20 were mono-infected with HAstV alone. In addition, mixed infection of HAstV and NoV, and HAstV and RVA were also detected in 15 and 1 cases, respectively. Of 36 HAstV strains detected in this outbreak, 29 and 7 were HAstV1 and MLB2 genotypes, respectively. All HAstV1 strains were closely related to the HAstV1 reported from Thailand and Japan in 2021 and all of them belonged to subgenotype HAstV1a. Among MLB2, they were most closely related to the MLB2 strains reported from China in 2016 and 2018. CONCLUSIONS: After the kindergartens and schools were re-opened at the middle of 2021 in Japan, an outbreak of HAstV was reported. Control measures against the COVID-19 pandemics might affect the spread of diarrheal virus infection. Here we report the outbreak of HAstV1 and MLB2 in Kyoto, Japan, during COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.


Subject(s)
Astroviridae Infections , COVID-19 , Gastroenteritis , Mamastrovirus , Child , Humans , Infant , Child, Preschool , Mamastrovirus/genetics , Japan/epidemiology , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Phylogeny , Feces , Gastroenteritis/epidemiology , Astroviridae Infections/epidemiology , Genotype
17.
J Infect Public Health ; 16(8): 1236-1243, 2023 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2328314

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To date, it is not fully understood to what extent COVID-19 has burdened society in Japan. This study aimed to estimate the total disease burden due to COVID-19 in Japan during 2020-2021. METHODS: We stratify disease burden estimates by age group and present it as absolute Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) lost and QALYs lost per 100,000 persons. The total estimated value of QALYs lost consists of (1) QALYs lost brought by deaths due to COVID-19, (2) QALYs lost brought by inpatient cases, (3) QALYs lost brought by outpatient cases, and (4) QALYs lost brought by long-COVID. RESULTS: The total QALYs lost due to COVID-19 was estimated as 286,782 for two years, 114.0 QALYs per 100,000 population per year. 71.3% of them were explained by the burden derived from deaths. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that the burden of outpatient cases was the most sensitive factor. CONCLUSIONS: The large part of disease burden due to COVID-19 in Japan from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2021 was derived from Wave 3, 4, and 5 and the proportion of QALYs lost due to morbidity in the total burden increased gradually. The estimated disease burden was smaller than that in other high-income countries. It will be our future challenge to take other indirect factors into consideration.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome , Japan/epidemiology , Cost of Illness , Quality-Adjusted Life Years
18.
Vaccine ; 41(27): 3954-3959, 2023 Jun 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2327891

ABSTRACT

This survey aimed to assess the prevalence of intention to receive smallpox vaccine against mpox and its relationship with sexual orientation in Japan. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted in September-October 2022, with 12,900 assigned males and 13,413 assigned females participating. Modified Poisson regression analyses were performed to determine the relationship between vaccine willingness and sexual orientation, adjusting for socioeconomics, trust in government, COVID-19 vaccination status, and frequency of brothel visits. Vaccine willingness was higher in homosexual respondents than heterosexual counterparts, with proportions of 23.1 % among assigned males and 13.4 % among assigned females. Homosexual orientation was significantly associated with vaccine willingness, with prevalence ratios of 1.37 (95 % CI: 1.23-1.54) among assigned males and 1.34 (95 % CI: 1.13-1.59) among assigned females. These findings highlight the need for targeted vaccine promotion campaigns and ongoing monitoring of attitudes towards mpox and vaccine compliance in high-risk groups.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Monkeypox , Smallpox Vaccine , Female , Humans , Male , Intention , Japan , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cross-Sectional Studies , Heterosexuality , Antigens, Viral , Vaccination
19.
Respir Investig ; 61(4): 487-489, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2327189

ABSTRACT

Legionella pneumonia is a fatal disease caused by Legionella pneumophila, a bacterium belonging to the genus Legionella. The incidence of this disease has been increasing since 2005 and has continued to increase following the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. Furthermore, Legionella pneumonia mortality rates have increased slightly since the pandemic due to some plausible reasons. The increased proportion of older patients with legionellosis might affect it because advanced age is a major risk factor for disease mortality. Additionally, physicians were focused on COVID-19 while examining febrile patients; therefore, they might have missed the early diagnosis of other respiratory infections, including Legionella pneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Legionella , Legionnaires' Disease , Humans , Japan/epidemiology , Pandemics , Legionnaires' Disease/epidemiology , Legionnaires' Disease/microbiology
20.
BMC Psychiatry ; 23(1): 302, 2023 05 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2327014

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Burnout and depression among medical students is linked to serious problems that require appropriate solutions. Subthreshold autism traits or autistic-like traits (ALTs) may be possible factors associated with burnout and depression. The effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for burnout and depression has been widely reported. The treatment aims to improve psychological flexibility, a concept indicating engagement in personal value-based behaviors without avoiding uncomfortable private experiences. This study examined whether ALTs were associated with burnout or depression among medical students during clinical clerkships in Japan, and then investigated what psychological flexibility processes might mediate these associations. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was administered to 284 medical students at Nagoya City University School of Medical Sciences who had been in clinical clerkships for 10 months or longer. Linear multiple regressions were performed with each burnout factor or depression as the outcome variable using validated tools measuring burnout (Maslach Burnout Inventory), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), ALT (Autism-Spectrum Quotient Japanese version-21), and psychological flexibility processes (Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire-7 and Valuing Questionnaire). Additionally, a mediation analysis was conducted using structural equation modeling. RESULTS: A linear multiple regression analysis that controlled for age and gender found that ALTs were significantly associated with lower personal accomplishment, a factor of burnout, and depression. Lower personal accomplishment was also associated with males and lower progress toward values of the psychological flexibility process. Depression was also associated with males and higher cognitive fusion, lower progress towards values, and higher obstruction to values of the psychological flexibility process. Surprisingly, emotional exhaustion and depersonalization were not significantly associated with ALTs. The mediation analysis revealed that the relationship between ALTs and personal accomplishment was partially mediated by a process of progress toward values, while the relationship between ALTs and depression was partially mediated by both processes of progress toward values and cognitive fusion. CONCLUSIONS: ALTs were significantly associated with lower personal accomplishment of burnout and depression among medical students in clinical clerkships. Consideration should be given to the psychological flexibility processes that focus on interventions targeting psychological flexibility for medical students with ALTs to reduce burnout and depression.


Subject(s)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy , Autistic Disorder , Burnout, Professional , Clinical Clerkship , Students, Medical , Male , Humans , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/psychology , Universities , Students, Medical/psychology , Japan , Burnout, Professional/psychology , Burnout, Psychological , Surveys and Questionnaires
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