The Institut Pasteur in Paris is developing numerous research collaborations with China, in particular with the Hong Kong University-Pasteur Research Centre, as well as with many other Chinese scientific centres and laboratories.
An agreement was signed on 16 October 1999 to create the Hong Kong University-Pasteur Research Centre. This Centre, a non-profit institution located on the premises of Hong Kong University, was officially opened on 24 October 2000. It started its research programmes in 2000, under the direction of Antoine Danchin for three years. Today it is managed by Ralf Altmeyer and assisted by Kwok Yung Yuen, Professor and Director of the Microbiology Department at Hong Kong University. The Hong Kong University-Pasteur Research Centre brings together about 20 scientists. Their research is focused on crucial public health problems in China (SARS and other respiratory infections, hepatitis C, etc.). Like the Institut Pasteur in Paris and establishments in the Institut Pasteur International Network, the HKU-Pasteur Research Centre has an additional educational mission. In particular, Noël Tordo (Institut Pasteur, Paris) and Ralf Altmeyer organised a virology course (Pasteur-Asia Virology Course) there in July 2004: given by Pasteur experts and other internationally-known scientists, it assembled high level students from across Asia (Malaysia, Hong Kong, territorial China, Cambodia, and Vietnam).
The Institut Pasteur is also participating in an initiative for a Franco-Chinese Genomics and Life Sciences Centre in Shanghai. Three French partners (CNRS, INSERM, and the Institut Pasteur) and Chinese partners came together to create this Research Centre, an agreement for which was signed 28 October 2002.
Apart from these two centres, numerous other collaborations are uniting Institut Pasteur researchers and Chinese scientists.
A Franco-Chinese network, coordinated by Arnaud Fontanet from the Institut Pasteur, Paris, and Hu Zhihong from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, was created at the end of 2003 with its principal goal the identification of a possible animal reservoir of the SARS virus. Knowledge about this reservoir is essential, because it will make it possible to take the necessary preventive measures in order to avoid the resurgence of epidemics. The network links French and Chinese epidemiologists, virologists, immunologists, zoologists, and veterinarians. This network is financed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.
In addition, collaborations have for years been joining Institut Pasteur researchers specializing in the study of rabies with Chinese scientists. In particular, a programme supported by the Franco-Chinese Scientific and Technological Research Association enables researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products to come to the Institut Pasteur in Paris for an internship at the Rabies Laboratory, directed by Hervé Bourhy, and Pasteur researchers to carry out missions in China. The collaborations mainly involve analysing strains of the rabies virus circulating in China, and aiding the development of appropriate diagnostic tools. The Paris Institut Pasteur's Rabies laboratory is also organising education and practical workshops that will take place a few months from now in China in collaboration with the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai-Chinese Academy of Sciences, the CDC in Shanghai, and the World Health Organisation. Participating in this will be Chinese regional authorities involved in controlling rabies, a disease that caused a thousand human deaths in the country last year.
Several other cooperative programmes between the Institut Pasteur and China are under way:
- Anthropology/Epistemology/History of Science: Institut Pasteur /Beijing University, Zhong Shan University, Guangzhou University
- Database: Institut Pasteur/Beijing University Bioinformatics Centre
- Bacterial subtractive genomics (Bacillus subtilis, Penicillium marneffei): Institut Pasteur/Hong Kong University Research Centre/Pasteur
- Determining the sequence and annotating the bacterial genome Leptospira interrogans: Institut Pasteur /Chinese National Human Centre, Shanghai
- Study of mutants
of Interleukin-2 and genes induced by IL-2: Institut Pasteur/Shanghai
Institute of Biochemistry
- Recombinant Salmonella : Institut Pasteur/Yangzhou University
- Regulation of gamma 54-dependent promoters by CRP: University of Beijing/Institut Pasteur
Furthermore, the Institut Pasteur in Paris welcomes Chinese students, interns, and researchers. Throughout the past ten years, 70 Chinese scientist interns have been brought to the Institut Pasteur and two Chinese researchers are now working there full-time.
More than 400 days of short-term missions (less than 2 months), and 144 days of long-term missions have been carried out in China by Pasteur researchers between 2002 and 2003.
to the press release