This Project is supported by J-GRID from AMED
Infectious Diseases Research Center of Niigata University in Myanmar

Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)

Japan Initiative for Global Research Network on Infectious Diseases (J-GRID)

Approach to Respiratory Infection Control in Myanmar

Main organization involved:

Japan side: Niigata University
Myanmar side: National Health Laboratory

Project period:

April 2015 - March 2020 (FY 2015 to FY2019)

Based on a cooperative framework of more than 10 years under an MOU with the Ministry of Health in Myanmar, Niigata University launched the project for respiratory infectious diseases in Myanmar in 2015. With the recent occurrence of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, it is necessary to enhance control measures more than ever before. Niigata University (NU) in Japan and National Health Laboratory (NHL) in Myanmar shall aim to promote the Joint Research Project for the prevention and control of infectious diseases leading to mutual benefits of Myanmar and Japan.

The aims of the project are as follows:

  1. Supporting technologies of medical research for improving public health.
  2. Exchanging medical researchers and health workers between Myanmar and Japan to establish mutual trust by sharing knowledge and achievements.
  3. Developing research base in Myanmar for promoting translational research between basic science and medical practice.

Through this project NU and NHL will clarify the epidemiology of respiratory infectious diseases by bacterial and viral origin, and to analyze pathogens to see antigenic characteristics, genetic evolutions and to find out relationship with host factors. By establishing surveillance systems for respiratory infectious diseases, both Myanmar and Japan can build a capacity for early detection of emerging infectious diseases that may appear at any time and may cause serious impact to lives of people. At the end, we hope our project will help develop new antibiotics/antivirals, vaccines, and diagnostic devices that contribute to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of respiratory infectious diseases.

Hisami Watanabe (MD, Ph.D)
Hisami Watanabe


Infectious Diseases Research Center of Niigata University in Myanmar・Specially Appointed Prof., Graduate School of Medical and Dental Science, Niigata University

Reiko Saito (MD, Ph.D)
Reiko Saito

Project Leader

Division of International Health (Public Health), Graduate School of Medical and Dental Science, Niigata University



Research Subject:

Research on influenza and other respiratory viruses

Research overview:

We aim to enhance the surveillance of influenza and other respiratory viruses. We intend to evaluate current seasonal vaccines by analyzing match with circulating strains and to contribute to the development of new vaccines through the analysis of antigenic changes of viruses, and to share information with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan. Through analysis of influenza virus genome, we will create distribution maps (Geographic Information System, GIS) of genotypes including information from surrounding countries, and assess risks of spread of influenza in Asia.


  • Reiko Saito (MD, Ph.D) *
  • Takashi Odagiri (Ph.D)*
  • Akinobu Hibino*
  • Khin Thu Zar Htwe (MD)*
  • Yugo Shobugawa (MD, Ph.D)*

(*Division of International Health, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Science, Niigata University・Link)

  • Hiroshi Suzuki (MD, Ph.D)/ Niigata Seiryo University・Link
  • Tsutomu Tamura (Ph.D)/ Niigata Prefectural Institute of Public Health and Environmental Science・Link
  • Latt Latt Kyaw (MD, Ph.D)/ National Health Laboratory (NHL)
  • Yadanar Kyaw (MD, Ph.D) /Sanpya Hospital
  • Nay Lin (MD, Ph.D) /Pyinmana Township Hospital (200 bedded)

②Severe acute pneumonia in children

Research Subject:

Research on severe pediatric pneumonia

Research overview:

We intend to identify microorganisms isolated from the respiratory organs and blood specimens of patients with severe pediatric pneumonia in Myanmar. At the same time, we will compare characteristics of viruses or bacteria (such as genetic information or antimicrobial resistance) with those in Japan and surrounding Asian countries to assess risk of their spread in Asia, and to make recommendations for the judicious use of antimicrobial drugs.


  • Akihiko Saitoh (MD, Ph.D) *
  • Taketo Otsuka (MD, Ph.D) *
  • Yuta Aizawa (MD, Ph.D) *
  • Tomomi Ota (MD)
  • Kanako Watanabe (Ph.D)**

(*Division of Pediatrics, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Science, Niigata University・Link, **Graduate School of Health Science, Niigata University・Link)

  • San Mya (MD, Ph.D) / National Health Laboratory
  • Khin Nyo Thein / Yankin Children Hospital
  • Kyaw Zin Wai / Yankin Children Hospital
  • Le Le Tun / Yankin Children Hospital
  • Yadanar Kyaw (MD, Ph.D) / Sanpya Hospital

③Tuberculosis (Scheduled)

Research subject:

Development of new diagnostic methods for tuberculosis and acid-fast bacteria (under planning)

Research overview:

We intend to develop non-invasive diagnostic methods using saliva and urine to assess prognosis, presumptive diagnosis, and treatment of patients with tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacterial infections, and the detection of patients prior to the onset of disease.


  • Sohkichi Matsumoto (DDS, Ph.D)*

(*Division of Bacteriology, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Science, Niigata University・Link)

Research Center / Research Partners in Myanmar


Niigata / Tokyo

  • Niigata University
  • Niigata Seiryo University
  • Niigata Prefectural Institute of Public Health and Environmental Sceiences
  • National Institute of Infectious Diseases(NIID)

Infectious Diseases Research Center of Niigata University in Myanmar(in NHL)

Office and laboratory for our joint project is located in National Health Laboratory (NHL) of Myanmar. We plan to establish laboratory for cell culturing and molecular biology.


  • Prof. Dr. Hisami Watanabe / Project Professor
  • Ms. Junko Ishida / Project Assistant
  • Dr. Tomomi Ota / Project Assistant
  • Dr. Su Mon Kyaw Win / Project Medical Officer・Virology Unit・Resident
  • Dr. Nay Chi Win / Project Medical Officer・Bacteriology Unit・Resident

The National Health Laboratory (NHL)

The National Health Laboratory (NHL)

The NHL was established in 1963 as a union of five institutes including the Burma Pasteur Institute. Currently the institute is affiliated to the Department of Medical Services of the Ministry of Health. The NHL is comprised of various departments which support the medical and public health systems in Myanmar. These include the Sections of Virology, Bacteriology, Serology (Sexually Transmitted Infected Diseases, STI), Parasitology, Immunology, and Clinical Pathology. Since 2007, Niigata University has been actively providing technical support for the Virology Section, through the mutual effort NHL was designated as a National Influenza Center by WHO. At present, joint researches with various organizations including Niigata University, Institute Pasteur, KOIKA (South Korea), JICA, and the National Center for Global Health and Medicine (Japan) is underway, and these organizations are actively promoting international cooperation and researches for public health.


  • Prof. Dr. Htay Htay Tin / Deputy Director General of NHL
  • Dr. Win Thein / Director・Division Manager of Pathology
  • Dr. Latt Latt Kyaw / Deputy Director・Division Manager of Virology
  • Dr. San Mya / Deputy Director・Division Manager of Bacteriology
  • Dr. Eh Htoo Pe / Deputy Director・Division Manager of Sexual Transmitted Infection

University of Medicine 2

University of Medicine 2

University of Medicine 2 (UM2), Yangon was established as Medical College 2 in Mingaladon Township on July 15 1963. Although it was initially founded as a faculty of Rangoon University, under the Ministry of Education, in 1964, it was transformed as an independent Institute of Medicine 2, Yangon. Thingangyun Sanpya General Hospital became the fourth affiliated hospital of the Institute of Medicine 2 in 1996. Since June 10, 2005, Institute of Medicine 2, Yangon was upgraded as University of Medicine 2, Yangon. Institutional aim of UM2 is to produce competent basic doctors and highly qualified post-graduate physicians. School vision is to become an internationally recognized university of medical profession, and school mission is to keep abreast with the standard of international medical profession by producing highly qualified medical doctors. In 2013, UM2 signed a letter of intent with the School of Medicine of Niigata University, and research exchanges with Niigata University are ongoing.

Sanpya Hospital

Sanpya Hospital

Thingangyun Sanpya Hospital is a 500-bed public hospital that opened in Yangon in March 1994. It covers a population of 1.3 million, the hospital has 17 diagnostic and treatment departments and wards for 12 diagnostic and treatment departments. As an affiliated hospital of UM2, it plays an important role in the clinical training of undergraduate students and young doctors. Dr. Yadanar Kyaw, head and professor of Department of Respiratory Medicine studied at and received her PhD degree from the School of Medicine of Niigata University and is currently participating in this project as one of main collaborators in clinical side.


  • Prof. Dr. Yadanar Kyaw / Division Manager of Respiratory Medicine (Sanpya Hospital)・Clinical Professor (UM2)

Yankin Children Hospital

The Yankin Children Hospital (YHCH), a 550-bed hospital for children, opened in March 2011 at the former building of the Ministry of Mining. Like Sanpya Hospital, YHCH is an affiliated hospital of UM2, YHCH plays an important role in the clinical training of students and young doctors. Dr. Khin Nyo Thein, professor of the Department of Pediatrics, is participating in this project as one of key collaborative doctors in charge of research on severe pediatric pneumonia.


  • Prof. Khin Nyo Thein / Division Manager of Pediatrics (YHCH) / Professor of Pediatrics (UM2)
  • Prof. Kyaw Zin Wai / Clinical Prof. of Pediatrics
  • Dr. Le Le Tun / Senior Consultant of Pathology

Pyinmana Township Hospital (200 bedded)


  • Dr. Nay Lin


  • Hassan Zaraket, Hiroki Kondo, Akinobu Hibino, Ren Yagami, Takashi Odagiri, Nobuhiro Takemae, Ryota Tsunekuni, Takehiko Saito, Japanese Influenza Collaborative Study Group, Yi Yi Mynt, Yadanar Kyaw, Khin Yi Oo, Htay Htay Tin, Nay Lin, Nguyen Phuong Anh, Nguyen Le Khanh Hang, Le Quinh Mai, Mohd Rohaizat Hassan, Yugo Shobugawa, Julian Tang, Ghassan Dbaibo, Reiko Saito. Full genome characterization of human influenza A/H3N2 isolates from Asian countries reveals a rare amantadine resistance-conferring mutation and novel PB1-F2 polymorphisms. Frontiers in Microbiology. (in press)