The International Network of Instituts Pasteur and Associated Institutes consists of 21 institutes spanning the five continents. Through its research and public health activities, that interactive human community serves people and their health. The International Network is also contributing to the emergence of true scientific and health monitoring on a global scale.

In order to strengthen its research potential, emphasis has been placed on setting up a system for exchanges between researchers, promoted by concerted inter-Pasteur actions and the work of the thematic studies group. Such operations are complex to set up due to the geographical dispersion of those involved, but the stakes are high and the expected benefits clearly reflect the public health and economic, social and cultural development concerns of the countries involved and their peoples. This system helps to alleviate the isolation of scientists, to stimulate their commitment to new research strategies and topics, thus strengthening the critical mass. Under the auspices of the Institut de France the International Network of Instituts Pasteur and Associated Institutes was awarded the Fondation Louis D. Grand Prix, to encourage the development of its multicentre and co-ordinated research programmes on malaria (biodiversity of Plasmodium falciparum) and tuberculosis (multidrug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis), and the mobility of the Network researchers. The award honours the reasons for the existence of the International Network, namely the fight against infectious diseases and training of researchers.

Scientific activities in the Network

The study groups

The creation of study groups bringing together Network institute researchers has the following objectives: acquisition and/or development of skills and expertise; involvement in public health; research activities.

In order to keep pace with changing needs and knowledge in fields of common interest (major diseases, AIDS-related diarrhoea, diagnosis and therapeutic management), 9 teams located in Africa (Central Africa, West Africa), South-East Asia (Cambodia, Vietnam) , Europe (Russia, Rumania) and in Paris have formed the group for the study of diarrhoeal infections (GEID). As a result of that action, the reference reagent production unit of the Cantacuzene Institute in Romania, is now operational for the production of two toxins (LT, 'cholera-like', and Shiga toxins). Subsequently, the unit activities will be expanded to include a panel of reference reagents. The unit thus meets the requirements of the ongoing multicentre projects (non-registered enteropathogenic agents, diarrhoea and AIDS, food safety and Escherichia coli, agents of enteritis). Several Asian and African Institutes (Phnom-Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, Yaoundé, Dakar, Bangui) are currently studying the natural history of AIDS, the way in which it spreads, opportunistic infectious diseases, and the diversity of HIV. The teams in Cameroon are addressing SIV. Following the first meeting on the 'role of birds in the transportation (migrations) and spread (migratory and non-migratory birds) of viruses pathogenic to man' in September 1999, the 'emergent viruses' study group met at Institut Pasteur, Paris, in April 2000. A presentation of the work on-going in each of the eight participating institutes, was followed by exchanges and discussions on the best tools to be developed in order to present the project to the scientific community (French Agency for the Safety of Foods, Institute of Research for Development, Institut Pasteur, Paris, hospital practitioners, national hunting authority, etc.). The study group for food and environmental hygiene (GEHAE) met at the Institut Pasteur in French Guyana in November. Thirteen teams attended. The seminars were devoted to an assessment of the action taken by the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) following a workshop in that field at the Institut Pasteur, Guadeloupe, and a workshop on quality control in food and environmental hygiene laboratories. The objective is to make the group a unique international reference centre, since food and environmental hygiene is an extremely vast field in which no single establishment can have all the expertise.

Inter-Pasteur concerted actions (ACIPs)

Their objectives are: to increase the potential of the research, both basic and applied, conducted in the Network institutes with a view to an integrated offensive against infectious diseases; to prompt international scientific collaboration; to encourage mobility of young scientists between the institutes. Since the groups were launched in 1995, 25 actions have been supported and each institute has participated at least once in an ACIP. The ACIPs have addressed studies on dengue, leptospirosis, HIV-1, polioviruses, non-polio enteroviruses, plague, hepatitis C, diarrhoeal aetiologies in AIDS, poisoning, Aedes aegypti, E. coli in food, diphtheria, herpesvirus 8, immunodeficiencies and HLA, malaria, tuberculosis, control of carriers etc. Most of those actions were extended by the incorporation of new skills into the Network, exchanges of researchers, and collaboration between the different teams.

Training and teaching

Training and teaching activities remain a major objective for the International Network. During the year 2000, 43 scientists from the Network Institutes attended training or a course at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, or in the Network. In addition, courses open to doctors and scientists were held in the various institutes: international medical mycobacteriology course at the Institut Pasteur, Algiers (September 2000); course on antibody engineering, coorganised by the Institut Pasteur, Tunis, and the Network (February 2000); training and establishment of operational structures for microbiological diagnosis and assistance in the management of opportunistic infectious diseases during HIV infection/ AIDS at Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom-Penh and Bangui (Vietnam, August 2000); Franco-African theoretical and practical course in molecular genetics at Dakar (December 1999).

Symposia

Transmissible diseases, pathogenic agents and experimental models (Cayenne, November 2000); Joint Seminar of the Instituts Pasteur of Iran and Paris (April 2000).

Other key events in the year 2000

In partnership with the International Youth Foundation, grants were given to enable young French scientists to attend the Network Institutes outside France, thus contributing to the receptiveness of young researchers in developing countries and strengthening the Network research potential. In all, eight students will attend courses, lasting from four months to one year, in the Instituts Pasteur in Cambodia, Dakar, Bangui and Madagascar.

29th Council of the Directors of the Instituts Pasteur and Associated Institutes. During this event, held in Cayenne from November 18 to 21, 2000, new prospective avenues were defined, with a view to enhancing the scope for development of the Instituts Pasteur belonging to the International Network and involving them in national public health programmes:

Quality approach and technical resources

Irrespective of its location, size and mode of operation, each Institut Pasteur must make its mark as a centre of excellence in all its fields of activity, both in the services it provides (medical tests, food and water microbiology) and research. The Institutes must also build up collections (sera, cells, DNA banks) in each Institute, meeting the scientific quality requirements (freezing and computerisation) and controlled by ethics committees.

Communication, information technology and documentation

The objectives are to develop modern means of communication in the Network in order to strengthen the cohesion between the Institutes and promote collaborative activities in the context of the inter-Pasteur concerted actions (ACIPs) and transversal research programmes (PTRs). A further objective is to assist the Network researchers in their bibliographical research and to include each Network institute in the communication strategy of the Institut Pasteur, Paris.

Teaching and training

We need to enrich Pasteur training and dispense it in all countries where Network Institutes are located, and validate the courses by awarding a qualification jointly with the universities.

Microbiological monitoring and environment

It is appropriate: to confirm the Network Institutes specific commitment to the research areas related to emergent and re-emergent infectious diseases; to expand, upstream, the epidemiological monitoring activities and include an environmental approach to natural biotopes and man in his environment; and ensure that the microbiological monitoring programmes are relevant to the regions where they are conducted, in terms of their potential impact on priority problems in public health.

Therapeutic and vaccinal assessment

This avenue is intended to legitimise all the research activities

the ends of which are sometimes poorly understood by the general public
whilst not missing the opportunity of getting Network Institutes involved in future clinical trials on tuberculosis and AIDS and vaccinal trials on dengue and HIV infection.

The International Network of Instituts Pasteur and Associated Institutes

Instituts Pasteur City or country Director

Institut Pasteur Paris Philippe Kourilsky

Institut Pasteur of Algeria Algiers Miloud Belkaid

Institut Pasteur of Bangui Central African Republic Antoine Talarmin

Institut Pasteur of Cambodia Phnom-Penh Yves Buisson

Institut Pasteur of Dakar Senegal Christian Mathiot

Institut Pasteur of French Guyana Cayenne Jean-Louis Sarthou

Institut Pasteur of Guadeloupe Pointe-à-Pitre Jean-Louis Cartel

Hellenic Institut Pasteur Athens Christos Stournaras

Institut Pasteur of Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Ha Ba Khiem

Institut Pasteur of Iran Teheran Mohammad Taghikhani

Institut Pasteur of Ivory Coast Abidjan Armand Ehouman

Institut Pasteur of Madagascar Tananarive Philippe Mauclère

nstitut Pasteur of Morocco Casablanca Mohammed Hassar

Institut Pasteur of Nhatrang Vietnam Bui Trong Chien

Institut Pasteur of New Caledonia Nouméa Philippe Pérolat

Institut Pasteur of Saint-Petersburg Russia Anatoly Jebroun

Institut Pasteur of Tunis Tunisia Koussay Dellagi

Associated Institutes

Cantacuzene Institute Bucharest André-Aubert Combiescu

Pasteur Centre of Cameroon Yaoundé Jocelyn Thonnon National Public-Health and Reference Laboratory

Institut Pasteur - Cenci Bolognetti Foundation Italy Maurizio Brunori University of Rome Scientific director

National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology of Hanoi Vietnam Hoang Thuy Long