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Infectious diseases are one of the main issues of Korea as well as of the world. Recently, the globe was terrified by new and mutated infectious diseases including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS, 2002), avian influenza (2003, 2013), novel swine-origin influenza (2009), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS, 2012), and Ebola virus (2014). In 2015, Zika virus broke out in Latin America, leaving behind complications such as microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. In addition, these new and mutated infectious diseases are easily spreading to other countries through frequent foreign exchanges. A clear illustration of this occurred in 2015 when because of one man who traveled to the Middle East, the entire country of Korea suffered an outbreak of MERS that left behind a total of 186 patients and up to 38 deaths.
On the other hand, a current concern in the medical field is tropical-subtropical infectious diseases as caused by recent climate changes from global warming. If tropical-subtropical climate regions expand due to the global climate change, there is a high possibility that tropical-subtropical infectious diseases such as dengue and tropical malaria will break out worldwide. In fact, in 2014 there was already a case of number of dengue patients reaching 162 in Tokyo, Japan.
Infectious diseases cause extensive damages to various aspects of a country. They result in many adverse effects including loss of human lives, socially pathological phenomenon, economic downturn, and so on. Thus, it is important to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases and, if they do occur, to respond to them quickly to keep them from spreading any further. In order to stop the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases, it is especially critical to initiate and mobilize research on infectious diseases. It is absolutely necessary to actively develop diagnostics, cures, and vaccines as well as conduct clinical tests and implement clinical verifications.
However, establishing a foundation and conducting clinical research on infectious diseases are difficult for one country to accomplish on its own. For example, even if one country has developed proper diagnostics, the country needs to test samples obtained from actual clinical settings and then apply them to real patients, but in most cases the country capable of developing diagnostics has insufficient clinical resources of infectious diseases. On the contrary, countries that already experienced many outbreaks of infectious diseases and consequently possess an abundance of clinical resources are not capable of developing new diagnostics, cures, or vaccines. Thus, in order to respond to infectious diseases appropriately, it is necessary for multiple countries to develop diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines together and put them to practical use through international cooperative relationships.
The Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, becoming aware of these problems, began a project in 2015 to establish international cooperation networks against infectious diseases. This mission was subsequently entrusted to KOICID, which is an organization (?) attached to Inje University.
The purpose of KOICID is to improve mutual cooperation between government agencies, universities, institutes, and hospitals related to infectious diseases in order to develop the diagnoses, treatments, and preventive methods of infectious diseases as well as to inhibit the spread of infectious diseases among countries.