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30 Jun 2017

An innovative vaccine design to attenuate RNA viruses

Evolutionary virologists from the Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris worked in close collaboration with computational biologists and proposed an innovative way to challenge RNA viruses' great adaptive capacity. Precisely by using this adaptive potential (high mutation rates) that makes their strength but also their weakness: they can't correct errors in case of detrimental mutations.

Working on Coxsackie B3 and influenza A viruses, they engineered the viruses' genomes to drive their evolutionary trajectories towards detrimental regions in sequence space (the whole possible sequences for a gene). The modified viruses generated more Stop mutations, significantly reducing their viral fitness. In vivo experiments showed reduced virulence, the viruses generated high levels of neutralizing antibodies, and mice were protected against lethal challenge.

This is an innovative vaccine method, for which the Institut Pasteur has filed a patent application.

Marco Vignuzzi, head of the Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit at the Institut Pasteur, will be joining the faculty of our 14th HKU-Pasteur Virology course (6-14 July 2017). His lecture, "Genetic Diversity and Quasispecies" will be open to the public (11 July 2017, 9am).

On the left, a cell culture dish with wild-type enteroviruses. On the right, a dish containing genetically modified enteroviruses ("stop" mutations) with reduction in viral multiplication © Institut Pasteur

Attenuation of RNA viruses by redirecting their evolution in sequence space, Nature Microbiology, June 5, 2017.
Gonzalo Moratorio1, Rasmus Henningsson1,2,3*, Cyril Barbezange1*, Lucia Carrau1,4, Antonio V. Bordería1,2, Hervé Blanc1, Stephanie Beaucourt1, EnzoZ.Poirier1,4, Thomas Vallet1, Jeremy Boussier2,5,6, BryanC.Mounce1, Magnus Fontes2,3 and Marco Vignuzzi1
1. Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit, Institut Pasteur, CNRS UMR 3569, 28 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France.
2. International Group for Data Analysis, Institut Pasteur, C3BI, USR 3756 IP CNRS, 28 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France.
3. Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Lund University, 22100 Lund, Sweden.
4. Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Diderot, Cellule Pasteur, 75013 Paris, France.
5. Unité d’Immunobiologie des Cellules Dendritiques, Institut Pasteur, Inserm 1223, 25 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris cedex 15, Paris, France.
6. Ecole doctorale Frontières du vivant, Université Paris Diderot, 75013 Paris, France.

More on the Research Journal of the Institut Pasteur.

19 Jun 2017

MosKeyTool: a free and interactive tool to identify mosquitoes

Vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of infectious diseases, and cause more than one million deaths each year worldwide. Mosquitoes are among the main vectors of diseases, especially arboviruses (dengue, chikungunya, etc). The precise identification of mosquito species is an essential step for the laboratories involved in the surveillance and control of these diseases with high epidemic potential.

As part of the Medilabsecure project coordinated by the Institut Pasteur, a free software was developed by a team from IRD in Montpellier to identify the 128 species of mosquitoes (including the larval stage) currently recorded in all countries of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.

©IRD/Michel Dukhan

MosKeyTool allows the identification through an intuitive multicriteria approach (morphology and distribution features) using a set of proposed choices. More than 1000 illustrations (photos, diagrams and distribution maps) are provided in this tool.

This user-friendly tool has been designed for teachers, students, medical entomologists, parasitologists and all human or animal health agents involved in mosquito surveillance and control.

Funded by the European Commission, Medilabsecure aims to build capacity within a network of 55 laboratories working on emerging viruses in 19 countries of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region. It encompasses laboratories from the Institut Pasteur in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

For more information, please visit Medilabsecure

15 Jun 2017

Conference at the University of Hong Kong: Next generation informatics for global health

The Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine (HKU) is organizing the international conference Next Generation Informatics for Global Health: Disease Dynamics and Digital Epidemiology which will be held at The University of Hong Kong on 17-19 July 2017. This conference aims to bring together leading scientists in epidemic modeling, phylodynamics and digital epidemiology to present their recent breakthroughs in and share their visions for global health informatics.

Keynote speakers include:

Simon Cauchemez (Institut Pasteur)
Scott Dowell (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
Evgeniy Gabrilovich (Google)
Jennifer Gardy (The University of British Columbia)
Deirdre Hollingsworth (University of Warwick)
Katia Koelle (Duke University)
Muhammad Mamdani (St. Michael’s Hospital)
Oliver Pybus (University of Oxford)
Steven Riley (Imperial College London)
Colin Russell (University of Cambridge)
Marcel Salathe (École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne)
Elad Yom-Tov (Microsoft Research)

The tentative program is online. Please visit the website for more details and registration (deadline: 30 June 2017).

14 Jun 2017

“A world free of human suffering from vector - borne diseases”

The 70th World Health Assembly took place from 22 to 31 May in Geneva. Delegates have adopted a resolution on Global Vector Control Response (GVCR) that aims to prevent, detect, report and respond to outbreaks of vector-borne diseases worldwide through an integrated, comprehensive approach.

The major vector-borne infectious diseases are responsible for the loss of more than 700,000 lives every year, mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. Taking into account the socio-economic, demographic and environmental factors that interfere with infectious diseases transmission characteristics, more than 80% of the global population now live in areas at risk from at least one major vector-borne disease, and more than 50% at risk from two or more.

Excerpt from: Golding N, Wilson AL, Moyes CL, Cano J, Pigott DM, Velayudhan R et al. Integrating vector control across diseases. BMC Med. 2015; 13:249. doi:10.1186/s12916-015-0491-4.

These diseases could be better prevented through efficient vector control. Designing a response plan for vector control was the objective of extensive consultation process led by the WHO since June 2016. You can find here the draft Global vector control response 2017–2030, addressing the challenge of "a world free of human suffering from vector - borne diseases".

The response will support technical capacity, strengthen monitoring and surveillance systems, improve infrastructure, and above all, tackle multiple vectors and diseases cost–effectively and in an integrated manner across many sectors beyond health – including environment, urban planning and housing, education and information sharing.

© WHO

On another note, during the 70th World Health Assembly, the Pasteur International Network association made its first statement during the session "Research and Development on Potentially Emerging Diseases" thanks to Nadia Khelef, representative of the Institut Pasteur at WHO.

The recognition in 2016 of Pasteur International Network association as a non-state actor in official relations with WHO enables it to sit in the World Health Assembly and its executive bureau and thus increase the visibility of its actions toward the United Nations’ health institution and other major international stakeholders.

During the same meeting, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopia) was elected as WHO Director-General for a five-year term beginning July 1st, succeeding to Margaret Chan (Hong Kong).

13 Jun 2017

International Conference: TRANSMISSION OF RESPIRATORY VIRUSES, Hong Kong, 19-21 June 2017

We are excited to announce that the international conference on Transmission of respiratory viruses: From basic science to evidence based options for control will take place in Harbour Grand Hotel, Hong Kong on 19-21 June 2017.

The Conference will bring together researchers working with different respiratory viruses and interested in transmission from different perspectives, including experimental animal models, experimental human infections, basic virology, evolution, the animal-human interface, studies of transmission in hospitals and in the community, infection control and aerobiology of transmission.

Our conference registration is open till 18 June 2017: see here

The Conference aims to cut across the divisions to bring together researchers to discuss 4 main themes:

  • Respiratory virus transmission among human
     
  • Animal models for virus transmission
  • Determinants of transmission
     
  • Control of respiratory virus transmission

See details on the conference website.

For any question, please contact the Conference Secretariat by email (transmission2017@hku.hk)

We cordially invite you to join us in the beautiful city of Hong Kong!

Prof. Malik Peiris
Conference Chair

06 Jun 2017

The Institut Pasteur in Bangui identifies multiple mechanisms of insecticide resistance in malaria vector mosquitoes

In the Central African Republic (CAR), malaria is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Vector control remains one of the strategies to reduce the transmission of this infection. Unfortunately, no data on insecticide resistance of malaria vectors is available. Researchers from the Institut Pasteur in Bangui led by Mamadou Osmane Diath working in collaboration with the universities of Denver in the United States and Abomey-Calavi in Benin provide the first assessment of insecticide resistance status in Anopheles gambiae in Bangui.

Their paper, published in Parasites and Vectors (January 2017), shows that the populations of Anopheles gambiae present in Bangui are resistant to DDT and pyrethroids. The coexistence of these mechanisms of resistance constitutes a serious obstacle to the anti-vectorial fight.

(© Institut Pasteur de Bangui)

During the year 2014 in Bangui the capital city of CAR, the scientist collected samples of An. gambiae in seven districts of the city. In the laboratory, they conducted insecticide susceptibility tests to assess the level of sensitivity (or resistance) of mosquitoes to different types of insecticides by measuring mortality rate after 24 hours exposures. Bioassays have shown that all tested An. gambiae populations are resistant to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and and pyrethroids. Pyrethroids are the only family of insecticides recommended for impregnated mosquitoe nets. There is an urge for new studies on vector control strategies. On the contrary, they are sensitive to malathion and fenitrothion, suggesting that these insecticides can be used for vector control measures. They subsequently performed biochemical analysis to investigate the mechanisms underlying the resistance to DDT and pyrethroids. They found a common mutation and a high level of detoxification enzymes inhibiting effects of insecticides.

The publication:
Evidence of multiple insecticide resistance mechanisms in Anopheles gambiae populations in Bangui, Central African Republic
, Parasit Vectors. 2017; 10: 23.
Olé-Sangba ML, Sidick A, Govoetchan R, Dide-Agossou C, Ossè RA, Akogbeto M, Ndiath MO

From the Institut Pasteur in Bangui (18 May 2017, in French)