Topics Dr. Kazuo Suzuki, Dr. Shoji Kawachi and Dr. Noriko Nakajima Awarded Medals For People’s Health by Vietnam


Dr. Kazuo Suzuki, Dr. Shoji Kawachi and Dr. Noriko Nakajima supported by AMED were each awarded the prestigious Medal for People’s Health by Vietnam’s Ministry of Health on November 3, 2016 in recognition of their immense contribution to the country’s medical development.

photoAt the award ceremony (fourth, sixth and seventh from left: Dr. Suzuki, Dr. Nakajima and Dr. Kawachi)

The three researchers successively served as the representative of the research group collaborating with the Vietnam National Children’s Hospital (VNCH) to investigate highly pathogenic avian influenza and its cause of death, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)*1. The research group was highly commended by the Vietnamese government for its more than 10 years of R&D activities undertaken since 2006. Presently, the R&D activities are supported by AMED’s International Collaborative Research Program: The e-ASIA Joint Research Program (e-ASIA JRP) and the Research Program on Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Kazuo Suzuki, director / professor of the Asia International Institute of Infectious Disease Control, Teikyo University, worked on elucidating the pathological mechanism of the aggravation of influenza using specimen blocks preserved at the VNCH’s pathological department, while introducing to the hospital’s laboratory the immunological microassay of cytokines and chemokines related to the aggravation of influenza and providing guidance on the testing method. He also promoted the hospital’s immunological and biochemical studies and technological sophistication of molecular biological testing. Subsequently, he invited a VNCH researcher, Dr. Phung Thi Bich Thuy, to the Graduate School of Medicine of Chiba University, and provided guidance for her doctoral dissertation on the pathological role of cytokines. Dr. Thuy currently serves as the Vietnamese project leader of AMED’s e-ASIA JRP.

Dr. Shoji Kawachi, professor at the Department of Anesthesia, School of Medicine, Teikyo University, revealed the clinical features of highly pathogenic avian influenza and identified severe ARDS to be its main cause of death. He also introduced such new therapies as the high-dose gamma-globulin therapy and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) at an early timing, supporting the advancement of the VNCH’s treatment technique.

Dr. Noriko Nakajima, chief of the Department of Pathology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, introduced to the VNCH molecular biological / pathological approaches needed for elucidating the cause and pathology of highly pathogenic avian influenza and severe respiratory infection, thereby locally establishing a molecular-pathological diagnosis system for unidentified infections.

International collaboration in medicine is known to be challenging due to profound barriers in language and customary practices, especially in the field of clinical research. In the research group represented by the awarded researchers, clinicians and researchers collaborated to participate in the local research, maintaining an excellent relationship with the VNCH for more than 10 years. The collaborative research is ongoing to date and is expected to bear even more fruit.

*1. Fiscal 2006 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Health Science and Labor Research Grants (HSLRG) program: Research on pathological analysis of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which causes death from influenza (H5N1), and the production of model animals

Comments by awarded researchers

“For 11 years, since I first visited Vietnam to investigate the H5N1 avian influenza in 2005, I have been engaged in international research on influenza and pulmonary infection in collaboration with the VNCH with support from the HSLRG program, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT),  and AMED’s e-ASIA JRP. I am delighted that the initiative was acknowledged, and that I have been able to help promote the health of Vietnamese people. I am also very grateful to Dr. Nguyen Thanh Liem, former director of the VNCH, Dr. Le Thanh Hai, present director of the VNCH, Dr. Tran Minh Dien, current deputy director of the VNCH, and Dr. Phung Thi Bich Thuy, the research leader. I hope to continue supporting Vietnamese graduate students in acquiring their PhD at Teikyo University Graduate School of Medicine under the collaborative sponsorship of MEXT and AMED, as well as contribute to the health of Vietnamese people.”(Dr. Kazuo Suzuki)

Dr. Kazuo Suzuki

“Counting from the special research conducted in 2006, our research team for highly pathogenic avian influenza marks its 11th year this year. I believe the Vietnamese government has recognized our persistent efforts in our joint research with the VNCH, which resulted in the presentation of such a prestigious award to the successive research leaders. The award was a great encouragement for me, propelling me forward to pursue further collaborative research. I feel grateful for the Japanese government’s research support.”(Dr. Shoji Kawachi)

Dr. Shoji Kawachi

“When I first visited Vietnam, I felt a strong urge to contribute to the country’s pediatric medical care. Upon receiving the prestigious award from Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, I was delighted that our long collaborative research with partner researchers was acknowledged by Vietnam. I would like to express my appreciation to my research team members, as well as the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and AMED personnel, who supported our team. I now feel a renewed commitment to make even greater efforts.” (Dr. Noriko Nakajima)

Dr. Noriko Nakajima

Last updated 05/15/18