Pr Christian Bréchot, President of the Institut Pasteur, will be in Guinea Friday 28th November 2014, alongside François Hollande, President of the French Republic. Two agreements will be signed, one with the government of Guinea and the other one with the French Agency for Development (AFD), allowing for the creation of a new Pasteur Institute in Conakry in late 2016. On Saturday 29th, Pr. Bréchot will visit the Macenta treatment Center where the Institut Pasteur is setting-up a diagnostic laboratory.
Paris, November 27th 2014
The Ebola outbreak currently sweeping across West Africa, from which the first cases have been confirmed by scientists from the Institut Pasteur, shows the need to reinforce local capacity to react against emerging infections.
In response to the cooperation demand of the Guinean government, Pr. Christian Bréchot, President of the Institut Pasteur has proposed to create a Pasteur Institute in Conakry. An agreement will be signed on Friday 28th to allow the creation of that new institute and more largely define the framework of the scientific and technical cooperation between the Institut Pasteur and the government of Guinea. Pr. Bréchot will take the opportunity to visit Donka Hospital in Conakry, where the Institut Pasteur in Dakar has been setting up a diagnostic laboratory for several months.
Beyond its capability to quickly mobilize resources in case of epidemic outbreak, this institute will provide a long-term support to Guinean public health: “this centre will durably reinforce infectious diseases capabilities of surveillance, detection and prevention in Guinea but also in all the subregion” comments Bréchot,” it will also, and this is of utmost importance, enable the initiation of research programmes and training of local human resources. In this regards, the support of the Institut Pasteur in Dakar that is still at the forefront of the current Ebola outbreak will be essential”.
This new Pasteur Institute will initially focus its activities on diseases with a high epidemic potential that have been responsible for several major and severe outbreaks over the last years. The teams will be in particular involved in the study of arbovirosis and viral hemorragic fevers (Ebola fever, Lassa Fever, Yellow fever, Rift Valley fever…). The first two research units that will be created in this institute will be dedicated to virology and entomology with international quality standards laboratories.
“The ambition that we both share with the local authorities is to make this new Institut Pasteur a major public health and research player in Guinea while being totally integrated with existing national structures and institutions”, explains Marc Jouan, Secretary-General of the Institut Pasteur International Network. “It will join the 32 other institutes that across the world are members of our network”.
On Saturday 29th, Pr. Bréchot will visit the Macenta treatment centre, coordinated by the Red Cross with the support of both Guinean and French authorities, in Guinea’s forest region. The Institut Pasteur is in charge of setting up a diagnostic laboratory there. Last week, the first volunteer team of three experts from the Institut Pasteur arrived on site with the mission to start the laboratory activities. During the next nine months, a turn over of volunteer teams composed of one chief scientist and two technicians will be organized every three weeks.
Funding for this project of creating an Institut Pasteur in Conakry has been made available by the French Agency for Development (AFD) for an amount of 4 millions euros. The AFD also participated in the funding of the laboratory in Macenta.