Shimadzu's Response to
the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our Role: Helping People Respond to the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for the communities and economies worldwide, causing a profound effect on the health and well-being of people.

Science is more important now than ever before. Shimadzu Corporation has been committed to contributing to society through science and technology since its founding in 1875.

Today, we see many frontline healthcare workers and researchers focus their efforts toward caring for people, finding a treatment, and developing a vaccine and pharmaceuticals. We will harness the power of science and utilize our full capabilities to support and respond to these efforts.

This website introduces the current efforts and technologies for virus detection, pneumonia diagnosis and drug analysis that Shimadzu can offer in responding to this global pandemic.

Science will get us through this pandemic.

Virus Detection
2019 Novel Coronavirus Detection Kit

Speed and accuracy are crucial for the detection and containment of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus. Shimadzu has developed the “2019 Novel Coronavirus Detection Kit” based on Shimadzu’s unique gene amplification reagent, Ampdirect® technology for PCR analysis, and the pathogen detection manual from the Japanese National Institute for Infectious Diseases.

As compared to regular kits, this detection kit eliminates the need for RNA extraction and purification and halves the overall time required for PCR detection.

Shimadzu will continue to contribute to measures against infectious diseases by developing reagents that detect pathogens quickly and efficiently.

(*) The kit (Research Use Only) is only available in Japan.
On September 8, 2020, we obtained approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare for the marketing of "Ampdirect™ 2019-nCoV Detection Kit" for in vitro diagnostics in Japan.

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Message from Shimadzu People

Clinical & Biotechnology Business Unit, Life Science Business Department, Analytical & Measuring Instruments Division Masamitsu Shikata

Clinical & Biotechnology Business Unit, Life Science Business Department, Analytical & Measuring Instruments Division
Masamitsu Shikata

* This interview was conducted in June 2020.

Contributing to PCR Analysis

We have been working on the development of gene-detecting reagents for use in the PCR analysis of infectious diseases. With the spread of COVID-19, the demand for PCR testing has increased, and it is becoming difficult for clinical laboratories to obtain existing reagent kits in Japan. We were eager to assist clinical researchers at the forefront of the struggle against COVID-19 by developing a reagent kit that can detect the new coronavirus. The kit would be based on a proven technology, unique to Shimadzu, which shortens the time required for PCR analysis.

PCR analysis requires amplification of viral genes. Based on our experience in developing reagent kits for detecting pathogens such as norovirus, I initially thought that our technology could be applied to the new coronavirus without much difficulty. However, as development progressed, we found the amplification of the new coronavirus was not as easy as expected. To overcome this obstacle, our team intensified its effort into devising reagent compositions to detect the virus with high sensitivity.

The newly-developed novel coronavirus detection kit (*) eliminates the steps of RNA extraction and purification, significantly reducing the amount of work required to prepare samples. Moreover, it halves the overall time required for PCR detection from over 2 hours to approximately 1 hour. It can detect viruses not only using samples taken from the back of the nose or throat, but also those taken from saliva.

Customers using this product have told us that their workload has been reduced and that they are satisfied with the kit’s performance, as the sensitivity is equivalent to or higher than that of conventional methods.

(*) The kit (Research Use Only) is only available in Japan.
This interview was recorded in June 2020.
On September 8, 2020, we obtained approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare for the marketing of "Ampdirect™ 2019-nCoV Detection Kit" for in vitro diagnostics in Japan.

Pneumonia Diagnosis
Mobile Digital X-Ray System

In the event of a pandemic infection, like COVID-19, existing CT or fixed X-ray facilities in hospitals may not be easily accessible or disinfected.

For this reason, a “mobile” X-ray system is a very important tool for pneumonia diagnosis as it can be used to examine patients in an isolated patient room or ICU. In addition, a mobile system is easier to disinfect after exams than fixed systems.

This rechargeable diagnostic imaging system is a highly effective, powerful tool in emergency medical care because of its ability to examine patients who cannot be easily moved to a radiography room due to infectious concerns or physical difficulties.

A Shimadzu service engineer setting up a mobile x-ray system delivered urgently for COVID-19 diagnosis.
Related Information:

Message from Shimadzu People

Manufacturing Department Shimane Shimadzu Corporation Mikio Adachi

Manufacturing Department, Shimane Shimadzu Corporation
Mikio Adachi

Increasing the Production of X-ray Systems Needed Urgently

Shimane Shimadzu (located in Shimane Prefecture, Japan), which manufactures medical imaging equipment, has been directing its energies towards production increase of the Digital Mobile X-ray System. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an urgent need for this equipment in medical institutions around the world.

A patient with an infectious disease such as COVID-19 risks infecting others if they need to go to a general x-ray examination room. There is a need for equipment that can be moved to an isolation ward or intensive care unit (ICU) so that x-rays can be taken at the patient's bedside.

In response to this rapid increase in demand, Shimane Shimadzu was quick to draw up a plan in early February 2020 to increase production, and this plan has been in place since March. By changing the layout of our factory and allocating workers from other product lines, we work hard to maintain a production output double that of usual. In June, travel restrictions between prefectures were eased, allowing staff from Shimadzu Kyoto factory to come and support us, further bolstering the production line.

Looking back on our struggle, we faced a situation in late March where the supply of equipment components seemed to be stagnant, due to our factory outside Japan that manufactures important parts being closed by the government order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But that problem was resolved with the support of Shimadzu's Kyoto factory and partner companies, and now our production is proceeding smoothly.

In order to deliver that required equipment to medical institutions around the world as quickly as possible, we will continue our efforts to maximize our manufacturing output while taking measures to prevent infection.

Message from Shimadzu People

Service Engineer, Shimadzu Medical Systems (Oceania) Pty. Ltd, NSW, Australia Yogesh Kaleliya

Service Engineer,
Shimadzu Medical Systems (Oceania) Pty. Ltd,
NSW, Australia
Yogesh Kaleliya

* This interview was conducted in mid-June 2020.

Provide best field support for healthcare workers

Being in the service team my role is to support the healthcare team by completing installation as planned and making sure our equipment is running as per the high standards set by Shimadzu to provide quality care to customers.

Due to the coronavirus, sites with our systems have been extremely busy, and as the systems are being used more than usual, maintenance becomes more and more important. Also maintaining social distancing can sometimes be challenging inside the office and at the hospital.

So, what comes next? Will this become the new normal? When will we find a vaccine? When will we be able to travel domestic and international? There is lot of uncertainty and unanswered questions in my mind and I am sure there is in everyone’s mind as well. I believe this is a time when we need to stay together and look after our wellbeing and stay in touch with our family, friends and colleagues.

In my recent install when I handed over the system the clinicians were very happy with the results that can be achieved using our systems. I feel proud to see that our systems are being used in the frontline COVID-19 clinics and are helping clinicians effectively treat patients. Also, I am lucky to be a part of a motivated team led by a very supportive manager who helps us maintain work life balance during this busy times.

Healthcare workers are true heroes who have risked their own lives to save ours. Their tireless efforts will contribute to a reduction in the number of new cases and the COVID-19 may become less of people’s concern. However, we should never forget the selfless care and dedication of our frontline Healthcare workers who helped us come out stronger on the other side.

Message from Shimadzu People

Application Specialist, Shimadzu Medical Systems USA Wayne Stecker

Application Specialist,
Shimadzu Medical Systems USA
Wayne Stecker

* This interview was conducted in early July 2020.

Ensure the Peak Performance of Your Equipment

Shimadzu Corporation pioneered the mobile digital x-ray machines that have become vital tools for serving COVID-19 pneumonia diagnosis. When Shimadzu mobile units and x-ray rooms are installed into hospitals and clinics it is my responsibility to ensure they are operating at peak performance and that all imaging staff are proficient in their use.

As an application specialist at Shimadzu Medical Systems USA (SMS), traveling around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic has become very challenging. All airlines have reduced flights and airplane capacity, and some states in the USA have instituted 14 day quarantines when traveling to or from those states. To counter these necessary measures, the SMS Applications team has worked diligently to implement new remote support measures for conducting applications on newly delivered systems, using online platforms such as web conference systems.

It is a monumental challenge for governments, businesses, and individuals to strike a good balance between protecting human lives and protecting our economy so that we may continue to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. As an employee of SMS, I am very proud of our role in serving COVID-19 pneumonia diagnosis.

I have seen firsthand how the Shimadzu family here in the USA rallied together to meet the exploding demand for mobile x-ray equipment, even at the risk of their own health. I am very proud to be a part of that dedicated team.

Shimadzu has a well-defined and noble philosophy to “contribute to society through science and technology”. We must continue and carry out that mission as new global health crises arise in the future.

Drug Analysis and Research
Supporting Assay of the Drug Candidates for COVID-19

The development of COVID-19 drugs is an urgent task for humankind. Many laboratories and hospitals around the world have been conducting studies to find a solution against the spread of COVID-19. Several drugs, such as Remdesivir, Favipiravir or Hydroxychloroquine, are on the test bench.

Alsachim, a Shimadzu group company located in France with expertise in the R&D of stable isotope labeled compounds, has synthesized the internal standards necessary for the assay of the drug candidates tested against COVID-19.

COVID-19 Drug Candidates
Corresponded by Alsachim Stable Isotope Reagents
Generic name Use
Remdesivir Ebola virus disease
Fabipiravir Novel influenza
Nafamostat Acute Pancreatitis
Lopinavir, Ritonavir HIV
Chloroquine Antimalarial agent
Hydroxychloroquine Antimalarial, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Stable isotope reagent corresponding to Remdesivir

* Research Use Only. Not for Use in Diagnostic Procedures.
* To confirm the details of your regional availability, please contact your local representative.

Shimadzu and Alsachim are supporting drug development and clinical trials by providing instruments and internal standards for LC/MS of anti-COVID-19 drug candidates.

CLAM-2030

LC-MS
for Faster, Safer, and Simpler Bioanalysis

Product Information

* Research Use Only. Not for Use in Diagnostic Procedures.

Message from Shimadzu People

Project Leader, Organic Chemistry Business Unit, Alsachim, France Claire Trécant (left), and Pierre-Olivier Schwartz

Project Leader, Organic Chemistry Business Unit,
Alsachim, France
Claire Trécant (left), and
Pierre-Olivier Schwartz

For Responding to Urgent Need of Drug Development

Since the beginning of this pandemic, many research organizations around the world have been carrying out studies to find a solution to prevent the spread of the virus. To support their effort to reduce the time required to develop a treatment, which generally takes several years, and to validate the efficiency of new medicines in a short period of time, we have been working on the production of stable isotope-labeled standards* of drugs tested for their effectiveness against COVID-19. We developed synthesis methods for labelled standards* to be used in the assay of the drug candidates such as Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine and Favipiravir.

(*) Research Use Only. Not for Use in Diagnostic Procedure.

With the spread of the virus in Europe, clinical trials to find an effective treatment have begun at record speed, and it became very urgent to supply labeled standards to research institutes and CROs for the analysis of drug candidates. All chemists at Alsachim were mobilized. It was a race against time.

In addition to our daily chemical synthesis workload, we’ve had to face new challenges during this period: namely working with a reduced number of people and following strict health protocols to avoid virus transmission. During the lockdown, Alsace became a red region in terms of virus spread in France. It was a little hard to stay focused thinking about what was going on outside.

Even in this particular situation, Alsachim and Shimadzu continue to uphold on keeping the common thread of innovation. Shimadzu’s corporate philosophy, “contribute to society through science and technology” was fully implemented on this occasion and we can be proud of it.

These challenging times prove that Shimadzu can be a reliable and active company when coping with worldwide health and sanitary issues. In the future, this crisis must serve as an example to show us that it is essential to combine our group’s technological skills in order to provide customers with an all-in-one solution as quickly as possible for developing their analysis method of blood level of pharmaceuticals easily and rapidly (device, column, consumables, calibrators, standards, etc.)

We would like to warmly thank all of those who have participated, directly or indirectly, in the fight against COVID-19. Many thanks for everything you done; your courage and your devotion are priceless. From our side, we will continue our hard work to contribute to your efforts.

Message from Shimadzu People

Analytical Engineer, Reagent Kit Business Unit, Alsachim, France Fanny Dayot

Analytical Engineer, Reagent Kit Business Unit,
Alsachim, France
Fanny Dayot

Support Customer’s Research through Analytical Method Development

My role during this period was to develop an application note quickly for an LCMS method to measure the molecules in plasma samples used in the assays of different drug candidates tested against COVID-19. In addition to requests for labeled molecules, there were also requests for LC-MS analytical methods for these molecules. With this application note we wanted to help research institutes in their research and contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

At first, it was difficult to find a consensus on the molecules of interest, because each country and each customer has different requests and points of view. We looked at the clinical trials developed and our own market analysis to find a list of molecules covering the most requests. Some of these were new molecules that were still very unknown in their range of concentration and mass response. A compromise had to be found quickly to combine them all in a single method.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health crisis. We still do not know how it will develop or how we will have to live with it. Nevertheless, we redoubled our efforts during this period to meet the strong and urgent needs for these new molecules during this period. Working hard on a topical issue of such magnitude and helping to save lives has been a source both of motivation and significant pressure during this period.

This exceptional situation has confirmed that we are working together to do our best to advance science and contribute to the sustainability of society. In their desire to contribute to society through science and technology, Alsachim and Shimadzu wanted to support research teams around the world as quickly as possible.

For more details about the application note, visit Alsachim website:
https://www.alsachim.com/en/blog/get-the-analytical-method-for-covid-19-drugs-by-lc-msms-n24

Quality & Safety Testing
Supporting Quality Control of Hygiene Products

Human safety and health are of utmost importance during this period of COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the practice of good hand hygiene as one of the basic protective measures against COVID-19. This includes washing hands with soap and water or cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Shimadzu analytical instruments support quality testing and safety inspection of sanitizers and disinfectants to ensure and protect our health and well-being.

For more information:
Testing of pharmacopoeial ethanol (disinfectant ethanol)

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Please contact us to confirm the availability of these products in your country.

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