The government is considering setting up an integrated database to facilitate the prompt treatment of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, sources said Saturday.
If implemented, the database will also assist researchers in the development of vaccines.
Information on medical material such as blood samples and the mucus of infected people will be stored in the database, which will be operated by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, the sources said.
The National Institute of Infectious Diseases is currently responsible for the analysis of genetic information of the coronavirus, while the National Center for Global Health and Medicine is conducting studies on severe COVID-19 symptoms based on data from some 830 hospitals and medical institutions nationwide.
The two operations will be integrated under the new proposed system, enabling pharmaceutical companies and research institutes to gain information from a single data source.
The government is looking to revise the law on infectious diseases to strengthen research on epidemics and make study results available to the public in a more proactive way, the sources said.
Coordinated rules on how to collect samples and how to obtain consent from donors of samples will be created.
Experts have urged the government to take measures for privacy protection, as donors could be identified by analyzing the genetic material of a virus.
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