The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading exponentially worldwide, and Japan is no exception. With the alarming number of affected patients increasing predominantly in the cities, it is difficult for us to see when the situation will return to normal. Hospitals in some countries are struggling to cope with the demand for medical care and are facing a medical crisis. As I watch the hardworking frontline health care workers carrying on their duties amid the adversity, I am deeply grateful for everything they are doing to save lives.
At the University of Tokyo, the health and safety of all our members are our highest priority. We have swiftly shifted to online education to ensure continuous learning opportunities for our students. We have implemented special measures to help students with individual technological needs for internet access so that no student is disadvantaged. I am asking all students to act as independent individuals responsible for their own behavior, which can have an impact on other people and society, as well as being compassionate toward others. We should not forget that this pandemic will wind down someday, and together, we can overcome it.
To prevent the spread of the disease, there is a pressing need to develop new medicines and vaccines. With the University’s robust research capabilities, we are leveraging our expertise to advance research and development in various fields to stem the spread of COVID-19, including identifying effective drugs for treatment, developing testing technologies, and improving epidemiological analysis. As announced earlier, we have successfully identified drugs that are already available domestically that can be effective to combat the spread. At the University of Tokyo Hospital, we have raised the level of medical care by deploying screening equipment capable of accelerating PCR tests, prepared and equipped the ICU for treatment of COVID-19, and opened clinical facilities to treat patients with moderate symptoms. All this could not have been achieved without the incredible efforts of doctors, nurses and staff across the medical divisions.
However, there is still so much more that needs to be done in addition to these actions we have mentioned. For instance, we need to extend our support to important University-launched startup companies that lack solid financial foundations. To address these and other issues, it is critical for us to secure more stable financial support.
In these unprecedented times, the University, serving as a base for knowledge collaboration over 140 years, is determined to concentrate our world-class intellectual excellence to fight off this new threat facing humanity.
In the hope of regaining our safe and normal lives as quickly as possible, we wish to enlist your continued support.
The University of Tokyo