Network News

31 Mar 2017

Institut Pasteur International Network: a Task Force for responding to outbreaks such as Zika

Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are a threat to public health, as we saw with SARS in 2003, the influenza (H1N1pdm09) pandemic in 2009, MERS-CoV in 2012, and Ebola in West Africa in 2013, and as we are currently witnessing with Zika on the American continent. Frequent travel and increasing global economic interdependence have only served to add to the complexity of managing such threats. The Outbreak Investigation Task Force is the Institut Pasteur's response to outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

© Institut Pasteur

Read about the roles of this Outbreak Investigation Task Force, as described by Arnaud Fontanet, director of the Center for Global Health at the Institut Pasteur: here (The Research Journal of the Institut Pasteur, 30 March 2017).

27 Mar 2017

Health and environment in South East Asia: ECOMORE, part 2 is launched!

Population growth and economic activity are factors that largely influence ecosystem changes. These changes can in turn have consequences for human populations, particularly their health.

Between 2013 and 2016, the ECOMORE (ECOnomic Development, ECOsystem MOdifications, Emerging Infectious Diseases Risk Evaluation) project, financed by the French Development Agency (AFD) and implemented by the Institut Pasteur, helped to better understand and document the environmental impact of human economic activities and their possible link with the emergence of infectious diseases in Southeast Asia.

Financed by up to 4 million euros (4,5 million USD) for 3 years, the ECOMORE2 project will be led by the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia (Phnom Penh), in Laos (Vientiane), the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Vietnam (Hanoi) and the National Health Laboratory in Myanmar (Yangon). It will also integrate the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila, The Philippines.

Please click on the image to visit the ECOMORE website.

17 Mar 2017

Tuberculosis and antibiotic resistance: the Institut Pasteur in Lille leads a research to develop a new prototype drug

Researchers from the Institut Pasteur in Lille, France and their co-workers (including a scientist from the Institut Pasteur Korea)* have developed a drug candidate able to reverse resistance to ethionamide, an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis. They have published their work in Science (17 March 2017), bringing a strong contribution in the global fight against antibiotic resistance.

Like many antitubercular drugs, ethionamide is a pro antibiotic. These drugs have to be activated inside the bacteria before they can be able to kill the pathogen. Resistance to ethionamide occurs when mutations alter the bioactivation process.

« Through the close interactions between our teams of biologists and medicinal chemists,  we have succeeded in designing a prototype molecule - SMARt-420 - that triggers a new bioactivation pathway of ethionamide. This causes a full resensitisation of bacteria with ethionamide-acquired resistance. » Dr Alain  Baulard (Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille, Institut Pasteur/Inserm/CNRS/Université de Lille) and Prof Nicolas Willand say (Drugs and Molecules for Living Systems Unit, Insitut Pasteur/Inserm/Université de Lille).

Combination of both SMARt-420 and ethionanamide has enabled to efficiently treat mice infected with tuberculosis bacilli that has become resistant to the sole antibiotic.

This work paves the way to a new drug candidate, currently being developed in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Bioversys.

The publication:
Reversion of antibiotic resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis by spiroisoxazoline SMARt-420
, Science. 2017 Mar 17;355(6330):1206-1211. doi: 10.1126/science.aag1006
Blondiaux N, Moune M, Desroses M, Frita R, Flipo M, Mathys V, Soetaert K, Kiass M, Delorme V, Djaout K, Trebosc V, Kemmer C, Wintjens R, Wohlkönig A, Antoine R, Huot L, Hot D, Coscolla M, Feldmann J, Gagneux S, Locht C, Brodin P, Gitzinger M, Déprez B, Willand N, Baulard AR.

* Université de Lille (France), French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden), Scientific Institute of Public Health (WIV-ISP, Brussels, Belgium), Tuberculosis Research Laboratory at the Institut Pasteur Korea, Bioversys AG (Switzerland), University of Basel (Switzerland), Université Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium), VIB Center for Structural Biology (Brussels, Belgium), Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Basel, Switzerland).

From Inserm press release, 16 March 2017, in French.

14 Mar 2017

Cellular therapy: identification of circulating human Innate Lymphoid Cell Precursors

The innate immune response provides an important natural defense system that protects the organism against various types of infectious threats. Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are an important cellular actor in these early immune responses. Scientists in the Innate Immunity/Inserm U1223 Unit at the Institut Pasteur have discovered the existence of human ILC precursors (ILCP) that circulate in the blood and are therefore easily obtained. Using purified ILCP, it now becomes possible to generate different types of mature ILCs that could be used in cellular therapies.

James Di Santo, head of the Innate Immunity Unit/Inserm U1223. © DR

02 Mar 2017

Getting ready to open another long-term chapter…

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole is very pleased to inform you that on Friday 3 March 2017, the University of Hong Kong and the Institut Pasteur have renewed their partnership agreement for the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole under the School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU. This new agreement, which will run over a 10-year period, extends the  Pole's successful research and training activities in the long term.

Professor Peter Mathieson, Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Hong Kong and Professor Christian Brechot, President of Institut Pasteur, and Mr Leo Kung Lin-Cheng, BBS, JP, Officier de la Légion d'Honneur and benefactor of the Pole met at the Convocation Room of the Main Building of HKU for a signing ceremony. On this important occasion, they had the pleasure to welcome Professor Gabriel Leung, Dean of Medicine, HKU, and Mr Eric Berti, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau as distinguished officiating guests.

The co-directors of HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, Professors Malik Peiris and Roberto Bruzzone, were also pleased to welcome Professor Keiji Fukuda, former Assistant Director-General for Health, Security and Environment at WHO, and Clinical Professor at the Division of Community Medicine and Public Health Practice (School of Public Health, HKU).

From left to right: Prof Roberto Bruzzone, Prof Keiji Fukuda, Mr Eric Berti, Mr Leo Kung, Prof Peter Mathieson, Prof Christian Brechot, Prof Gabriel Leung, Prof Malik Peiris

Prof Peter Mathieson addresses the audience

Prof Peter Mathieson addresses the audience

Prof Christian Brechot addresses the audience

Prof Christian Brechot addresses the audience

The 3 parties sign the 10-year agreement for HKU-Pasteur Research Pole. From left to right: Mr Leo Kung, Prof Peter Mathieson, Prof Christian Brechot

Prof Peter Mathieson and Prof Christian Brechot exchange the signed agreement

Mr Leo Kung and Prof Christian Brechot exchange the signed agreement

Prof Christian Brechot

From left to right: Mr Leo Kung, Prof Peter Mathieson, Prof Christian Brechot

Prof Peter Mathieson

Mr Leo Kung, Prof Peter Mathieson, and Prof Christian Brechot

Mr Leo Kung, Prof Peter Mathieson, and Prof Christian Brechot

Prof Christian Brechot and Prof Peter Mathieson

Prof George Tsao (School of Biomedical Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine), Prof Malik Peiris and Prof Christian Brechot at the cocktail reception before the signing ceremony

Prof Keiji Fukuda, Prof Roberto Bruzzone, Mr Leo Kung, Prof Christian Brechot and Prof Gabriel Leung at the cocktail reception before the signing ceremony


Prof Christian Brechot during the visit at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole before the signing ceremony. From left to right: Dr Suki Lee, Dr Sumana Sanyal, Prof Malik Peiris, Prof Roberto Bruzzone, Dr Barbara Gayraud-Morel, Dr Chris Mok

Photo credits: H.Wong, G.Benet