As part of her trip to France for the fourth Paris Peace Forum – which includes three round tables on the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic –, Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, visited the Institut Pasteur on November 9, 2021. She met several of the Institut Pasteur's scientists and saluted the unprecedented response of the Institut Pasteur's scientific community in tackling the COVID-19 epidemic over the past two years. The visit was also a tribute to her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a renowned scientist who worked with French researchers in the 1980s, including a team from the Institut Pasteur.
Vice President Kamala Harris met several Institut Pasteur scientists from a number of different countries (including France and the United States) who have invested considerable time and energy in advancing research and finding new ways of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accompanied by Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur, and Christophe d’Enfert, Scientific Director, Kamala Harris was able to speak to:
- Hélène Strick-Marchand and James di Santo – who are conducting research on the immunology of SARS-CoV-2 infection and testing vaccine candidates in animal models;
- Olivier Schwartz and Nathalie Aulner – who are using imaging to investigate SARS-CoV-2 and its variants and to evaluate therapeutic tools (monoclonal antibodies);
- Jean-Baptiste Masson – who is exploring the potential of new imaging technologies for facilitating and improving the diagnosis of some forms of cancer.
For the Vice President of the United States, this visit was also a way of reconnecting with the work of her mother, a leading scientist of Indian origin who was involved in research on breast cancer in France in the 1980s, working in partnership with a number of French teams – including a team at the Institut Pasteur – and in the laboratory of Professor Etienne-Emile Beaulieu, who Kamala Harris was able to meet during the visit for a private discussion.
Kamala Harris' trip to France is an opportunity to reiterate the vital role played by international scientific cooperation, on a scale never seen before in the history of humanity, in paving the way for meaningful responses to the COVID-19 epidemic. As a key stakeholder in this effort, the Institut Pasteur's scientific community in Paris and within the Pasteur Network, working in collaboration with fellow scientists – including several US teams and universities –, has made a significant contribution, especially in terms of our understanding of the infection, diagnosis, therapeutic avenues and the vaccination rollout in Europe.
The links between Louis Pasteur, the institute that bears his name and the United States go back a very long way. In 1886, Louis Pasteur treated American children thought to have contracted rabies and was instrumental in setting up local centers to treat rabies patients in the United States. The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was founded in 1901 in New York on the model of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, established in 1888.
Over the ensuing decades, further links continued to be fostered between the Institut Pasteur and the United States. In the early 1960s, the research visits of François Jacob to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and François Gros to Harvard University led to the discovery of mRNA.
Some of our current scientists are working on projects involving collaboration between the Institut Pasteur and US-based teams, supported by the NIH or DARPA, in a variety of fields, including vector-borne diseases, phage therapy and the PICREID project (Pasteur International Center for Research on Emerging Infectious Diseases).
- SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 epidemic: the Institut Pasteur's response, scientific research and discoveries in 2020
- Browse the COVID-19 section on pasteur.fr
- The work of Pasteur Network member institutes supported by the Institut Pasteur in Paris
- A Center for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases, funded by NIH at the Institut Pasteur in Paris
To end this pandemic and prepare for the next one, scientific collaboration with our partners and allies is essential. I thanked the scientists and researchers at Institut Pasteur in Paris, whose innovation contributed to developing today’s life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. pic.twitter.com/N4iGSf2lEC
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) November 10, 2021
Visite de la @VP Kamala Harris à l'@institutpasteur qui accueille de nombreux scientifiques Drapeau des États-Unis. De la production de vaccins pendant la #1GM à la recherche sur la COVID-19, la collaboration USA-France est indispensable pour répondre aux défis de santé publique.
— INSTITUT PASTEUR (@institutpasteur) November 10, 2021