The Institut Pasteur and the University of Hong Kong have built the Centre for Immunology & Infection, C2i. This interdisciplinary research center is the continuation of a 20-year partnership established with HKU on the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole (HKU-PRP). Housed within the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, its ambition is to advance medical innovation to meet future public health challenges. Its activities are structured into four major research programs, including the development of new vaccine platforms against influenza viruses based on the expertise acquired by the HKU-PRP in this field, and the Healthy Human Global Project based on the success of the Institut Pasteur's Milieu Intérieur project.
The Centre for Immunology & Infection (C2i) has been established within the InnoHK research cluster. The creation of this center, initiated by the Institut Pasteur and the Faculty of Medicine LKS of the University of Hong Kong (HKUMed), is a continuation of the partnership established more than 20 years ago with the HKU-PRP.
InnoHK is a collaborative scientific research program set up by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It is a major asset for the development of medical innovations by C2i in order to improve the effectiveness of future public health initiatives. The Institut Pasteur and the University of Hong Kong will thus contribute to the transformation of Hong Kong into an international center of innovation and technology in the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.
Led by Prof. Malik Peiris (School of Public Health, HKU) and Prof. Roberto Bruzzone (Institut Pasteur), C2i will be organized around four major research programs. They aim to make Hong Kong a global center of excellence for population-based strategies in precision medicine by developing innovative solutions.
“C2i research programs address significant public healthcare challenges through the establishment of a novel technology platform for biomarker discovery and the development of new vaccine and therapeutic strategies” specifies Prof. JS Malik PEIRIS, Managing Director.
A multidisciplinary expertise through four major research programs:
- The “Healthy Human Global Project” is an ambitious and innovative translational research program led by Professor James Di Santo and Dr Darragh Duffy of the Institut Pasteur, which will help redefine the boundaries of functional immune responses to infectious agents and their components in a healthy Asian population – taking into consideration human population diversity. Knowledge of these parameters in healthy humans is essential to develop new personalized patient management strategies.
- The aim of the “Development of novel vaccine platforms for influenza” program led by Professor Leo Poon (HKU) is to overcome the limitations of existing influenza vaccines to accelerate the development of vaccine candidates that will allow a more effective control of seasonal outbreaks of influenza and other respiratory diseases, such as COVID-19. This program aims to generate a broadly protective “universal” vaccine that can be deployed as both a seasonal vaccine and a first responder in the event of pandemics involving new virus subtypes.
- With Program 3, “Mosquito borne viruses: Epidemiology, pathogenesis and interventions” led by Dr Tommy Lam, C2i will establish a broad public health capacity to respond to vector-borne virus threats. A number of mosquito-borne viruses that cause diseases in humans have been documented in China, but the evolution of these viruses have been poorly investigated. The aim of this program is to delve into threats of mosquito-borne viruses – spanning field research, epidemiology, transmissibility, and basic research on virus pathogenesis.
- The “Novel experimental platform of human respiratory tract for emerging infectious diseases and precision medicine” program led by Dr Michael Chan aims to study in mechanistic terms the pathogenesis of acute lung injury and improve its treatment by producing innovative, physiologically relevant disease models for screening drug candidates and developing molecules for treating acute lung injury