OIST Responses to COVID-19: Helping Local Community

Over the last three months, OIST scientists, students and staff have proactively used their scientific and creative skills to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Okinawa and protect the local community.  


With their expertise and OIST’s resources, scientists has been contributing to Okinawan medical and governmental institutions by providing PCR testing, antibody testing, 3D printed face shields and mask sterilization units.

Furthermore, students and staff have communicated openly and clearly with both government officials and the local community about the crisis. This ensured that the residents of Okinawa could make informed decisions. OIST President, Dr. Peter Gruss, contributed a special column to a local newspaper, which showed the results of COVID-19 spread modeling in Okinawa and thus the necessity of the lockdown. Meanwhile, groups of students developed promotional materials for handwashing and social distancing, and the communications team made fun science videos for children stuck at home.


Prof. Keshav Dani, who leads the project to develop UCV sterilization units said, “I realized that it was important to first think of what one could do locally for the Okinawan community. Moreover, being a part of OIST – an interdisciplinary institute with leading scientists in many different fields, I felt we were well placed to respond to the unique challenges created by COVID-19, which seem to require a mix of knowledge in biology, physics, chemistry, engineering and other fields.”

To learn more about the COVID-19 projects at OIST, see: https://www.oist.jp/covid-19/community-projects