File photo taken on Feb. 21, 2019, shows the Japanese prime minister's office in Tokyo, with tall buildings seen in the background. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The Japanese government is considering setting up an integrated database system to facilitate the prompt treatment of, and the development of vaccines for, infectious diseases such as COVID-19, government sources said Saturday.

Information such as blood samples and the mucus of infected people will be stored in the new system to be operated by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, both currently taking a leadership role in taking countermeasures against the coronavirus, the sources said.

At present, the former takes charge of the analysis of genetic information of the coronavirus and the latter conducts 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 system and pharmaceutical companies and research institutes will be able to gain information from the 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 set.

Donors could be identified by analyzing the genetic material of a virus and measures for privacy protection should be taken, experts said.

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