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Today, Monday January 23, 2012, in Vientiane the launch of the Institut Pasteur in Laos was officiated by the Lao Minister of Public Health, professor Som Ock Kingsadat and the President of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, professor Alice Dautry. This is the Institut Pasteur International Network’s 32nd institute. The new research center for infectious and parasitic diseases aims to reduce the risks of pandemic outbreaks in Southeast Asia where such diseases are rife.
The Institut Pasteur in Laos' primary mission is to anticipate the risks of pandemics in Laos and throughout Southeast Asia, a region that has been hit particularly hard by infectious diseases such as measles, the flu, chikungunya, and Japanese encephalitis, as well as other vector transmitted diseases such as dengue and malaria. Virology, vaccine-preventable and infectious diseases, and medical entomology and parasitology: these are the focuses of the three laboratories that will boost the country’s research capabilities as well as its autonomy in terms of diagnostics and prevention.
The virology laboratory will study the evolution of viruses in the natural environment and virus adaptation mechanisms in hosts. Animal reservoirs will also be studied to foresee any possible risks of disease emergence.
The laboratory dedicated to vaccine-preventable and infectious diseases, financed by Luxembourg, focuses on diseases with a high impact on Lao public health (measles, mumps, etc.). This laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art tools used to study infectious agents.
Last, but not least, the laboratory for medical entomology and parasitology, backed by Japan, focuses on the study of vector-transmitted diseases. In collaboration with the National Center of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology, the laboratory will study the impact of environmental changes on mosquito populations. Mosquito vector monitoring is being developed in close collaboration with the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia and Vietnam.
The Institut Pasteur in Laos also houses a teaching center staffed, in part, by teams from the Institut Pasteur in Paris to locally educate scientists, technicians and field staff.
The Institut Pasteur in Laos is the 32nd member institute of the Institut Pasteur International Network, the first of which was created in Vietnam in 1891. It will be directed by Dr. Paul Brey who was appointed by the Institut Pasteur in Paris following approval from the Lao government. As a scientist, and former Institut Pasteur laboratory head, Paul Brey held positions as the regional advisor for the Institut Pasteur International Network in Asia before taking the helm of the Institut Pasteur in Laos and its medical entomology laboratory.
The Institut Pasteur in Laos' board of directors includes three members appointed by the Lao Minister of Public Health and two members appointed by the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
The Institut Pasteur in Laos is a Lao National Institute with a budget sourced from Lao government funding, donations, and sponsorship. It is also being backed by the Institut Pasteur in Paris, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the French Ministry of Public Health, private donors including Japanese businesses, and several international institutions including the French Development Agency. In future, funds streaming from development and research contracts should be sufficient to meet the Institute's financial needs.
One thousand six hundred square meters of laboratory space and offices for roughly sixty staff members are set on a lush one hectare campus right in the center of Vientiane, a site provided by the Lao Minister of Public Health.
The teaching center includes a wet laboratory, a high security laboratory for training (BSL-2), and a classroom equipped with videoconferencing technology for distance learning purposes.
Institut Pasteur International Network
The Institut Pasteur International Network is a partnership of 32 research and public health institutes located on all five continents. They have all signed a charter declaring their commitment to Pasteurian values. Member institutes aim to help prevent and fight against infectious diseases through research, teaching, and public health activities. Special focus is placed on major pandemic diseases (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, etc.), upstream research for new vaccines and therapies, emerging diseases (dengue, encephalitis, hemorrhagic fevers, chikungunya, etc.), monitoring activities and public health alerts in the event of epidemics, and monitoring and researching anti-infectious treatment resistance and “neglected” diseases (rabies, diarrhea, leishmaniasis, etc.).
To get more information about the Institut Pasteur International Network, click here.
To view the list of the Institut Pasteur International Network, click here.
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