Network News

24 Nov 2020

Work In Progress at Science Park!

The Institut Pasteur and HKU are joining forces to establish the Center for Immunology & Infection (C2I) at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks.
This new translational program, which is distinct from HKU-Pasteur, was announced during the ceremony of the 20th Anniversary of HKU-Pasteur on October 21, 2020.
This major initiative is funded by Health@InnoHK with a goal to boost innovative strategies to identify and contain emerging infectious diseases and enhance Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area position as a global hub of knowledge-based economy.
We are very excited to share with you in images the work in progress at C2I.
See you in 2021 for the grand opening! 
In the meantime, stay tuned on HKU-Pasteur's website for more news, updates and career opportunities at C2I. 

18 Sep 2020

Institut Pasteur International Network In Asia Pacific’s Involvement In The Fight Against Covid-19

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak – caused by a newly identified coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 – which emerged at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China, the Institut Pasteur International Network in Asia Pacific have been at the forefront of the research conducted on the topic. 
In addition of our work on coronaviruses here at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, the Institut Pasteur International Network in Asia Pacific has been deeply active since the beginning of the pandemic on testing, detection tools, immunity, as well as vaccine and treatment research.
Highlights of selected studies by the IPIN in Asia Pacific
Institut Pasteur du Cambodge – Besides the conduction of studies on the surveillance of Covid-19 in Cambodia and in Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge is part of the Institut Pasteur Task Force on Covid-19 in the project “Covid-19 Serosurvey”. This project is aiming at developing simple serological screening tools and a targeted serosurvey of at-risk individuals. 
Institut Pasteur Korea – On July 6 2020, the Institut Pasteur Korea has launched a joint research and clinical trial for development of COVID-19 treatment, in collaboration with Chong Kun Dang Pharm, and the Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences. A clinical trial, using “Nafamostat” as a treatment against Covid-19, has been launched in Senegal, through a collaboration between Institut Pasteur Korea, Institut Pasteur de Dakar and the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. On May-June 2020, the Institute has conducted a major study on the identification of antiviral drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2, using FDA-approved drugs, further investigated in August 2020.
Institut Pasteur du Laos – As part of the Institut Pasteur Covid-19 Task Force, the Institut Pasteur du Laos is monitoring the origins and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Laos and Vietnam. The aim of this project, entitled “SPILLOVER-CORONA”, is to search for SARS-like viruses and detect antibodies invertebrates. 
Institut Pasteur de Nouvelle-Calédonie – The Institut Pasteur de Nouvelle-Calédonie is involved in the “EPICOVID Project”, in collaboration with the Institut Pasteur de la Guyane and the Institut Pasteur de la Guadeloupe, as part of the Institut Pasteur Covid-19 Task Force. This project investigates on SARS household transmission in French overseas territories. 
Institut Pasteur in Ho Chi Minh City – The Institut Pasteur in Ho Chi Minh City has conducted a significant study on the clinical features and the genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 through an investigation from the first two patients in Vietnam. 
Institut Pasteur of Shanghai – The Institut Pasteur of Shanghai has launched a large number of decisive studies on SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19, notably on the evolution of the virus and its characteristics, as well as on the development of a vaccine. Along with several studies conducted on the immune response to the Covid-19 infection, the institute is also part of the Institut Pasteur Covid-19 Task Force within the “NABCOV project” on the identification and isolation of potent human neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. 
National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) – The NIHE in Hanoi, Vietnam, has led several significant studies on Covid-19, with for instance analysis of the first 100 days of SARS-CoV-2 control in Vietnam, or an identification of the factors associated with the duration of hospitalisation among COVID-19 patients in Vietnam. 

03 Aug 2020

Need For Sustainable Biobanking Networks For COVID-19 And Other Diseases Of Epidemic Potential

Doctor Amadou Sall, director of the WHO Collaborating Center for arboviruses and viral haemorrhagic fevers, Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Senegal, co-signed a publication in The Lancet Infectious Diseases presenting a sustainable model for a global network of country-owned biobanks with standardised methods for collection, characterisation, and archiving of specimens and pathogens to facilitate and accelerate diagnostics development and evaluation for COVID-19 and other diseases of epidemic potential. 
Outbreaks of infectious diseases are occurring with increasing frequency and unpredictability. The rapid development and deployment of diagnostics that can accurately and quickly identify pathogens as part of epidemic preparedness is needed now for the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO has developed a global research and innovation forum to facilitate, accelerate, and deepen research collaboration among countries and funders. Great progress has been made in the past decade, but access to specimens remains a major barrier for the development and evaluation of needed quality diagnostics. 
We present a sustainable model for a global network of country-owned biobanks with standardised methods for collection, characterisation, and archiving of specimens and pathogens to facilitate and accelerate diagnostics development and evaluation for COVID-19 and other diseases of epidemic potential. 
The biobanking network should be run on the guiding principles of transparency, equitable access, ethics, and respect for national laws that support country ownership and sustainability. Adapting the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits, sharing of specimens from national biobanks can be rewarded through mechanisms such as equitable access to diagnostics at negotiated prices. Such networks should be prepared for any pathogen of epidemic potential. 

21 Jul 2020

Institut Pasteur And HKUMed Working Together On A New Approach For Malaria Diagnosis

Institut Pasteur, Paris, and the LKS Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) the results of their collaboration to develop a new approach for Malaria Diagnosis.
They have demonstrated that evolved specific non-biological molecules could target a malaria biomarker. They are able to carry tasks that normal biological molecules are not able to do and can for example be used to determine the type of malaria infecting a patient. 
Professor Julian Tanner, Professor and Associate Director (Teaching & Learning) of the School of Biomedical Sciences, Assistant Dean (Biomedical Sciences Curriculum), HKUMed (right); with his research team members, Dr Andrew Kinghorn (1st from left) and Mr Young Lo (2nd from left). Photo: HKUMed

23 Jun 2020

COVID-19: Dexamethasone Shows Promising Results In Critically Ill Patients

The RECOVERY trial (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy) led by Professor Peter Horbyand Professor Martin Landray made a major breakthroughin the treatment of COVID-19.

Dexamethasone, a low-cost and widely available drug, showed excellent results in critically patients, cutting the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators and a fifth for those on oxygen.

Already used to reduce inflammation in other conditions (like arthritis, asthma and some skin conditions), Dexamethasone appears to help high-risk patients with COVID-19 but does not seemsto help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus who do not need assistanceforbreathing. The UK government has 200,000 courses of the drug in its stockpile and says the NHS will make dexamethasone available to patients.

The study, led by a team from Oxford University, monitored 2,000 hospitalized patients who were given the drug and compared it to more than 4,000 other patients. According to Professor Landray, one life could be saved in every eight patients on ventilator and in every 20 to 25 patients treated with oxygen. 

Martin Landray also emphasis on the price of this treatment: up to 10 days of Dexamethasone costs about 5 Pounds. The price and availability of Dexamethasone could be a crucial benefit for developing countries with high numbers of COVID-19 cases. 

10 Jun 2020

Many thanks to the Consul General of France for highlighting the donation of BNP Paribas to PFA at the Residence de France

Alexandre Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, hosted a lunch to underscore the impact of the donation made by BNP Paribas Hong Kong to the Pasteur Foundation Asia (PFA) in support of research on SARS-COV-2.
In keeping with the regional goals of PFA, this donation will support two PhD students at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole and a One Health project to identify potentially zoonotic coronaviruses in the wild animal value chains at the Institut Pasteur of Cambodia.
After discussing research, funding and strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PFA and BNP Paribas committed to further their collaboration to keep Hong Kong at the forefront of biomedical research on infectious diseases.
To support our efforts in the long run to overcome the pandemic and prepare a safe and secure environment for everyone, you can donate to the ongoing campaign: 
Photo: Hugo Leung, CEO BNP Paribas Hong Kong, Alexandre Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Eric Raynaud, Head of Asia Pacific, Member of the Group Executive Committee, Malik Peiris, Co-Director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, Roberto Bruzzone, Co-Director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, Diane-Sophie Trevoux, Attachée for Education, University and Science, Paul Yang, CEO Corporate & Institutional Banking APAC BNP Paribas, Benoit Etienne, Consul (Culture, Education and Science).

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