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                The Institut Pasteur
               International Network Newsletter
 
July 2020
 
COVID-19 - NEWS
The Institut Pasteur International Network mobilized in the surveillance and research on the SARS-CoV-2 virus
 
 
In the current context of global health crisis, the spirit of international solidarity which animates the Institut Pasteur International Network has enabled the exchange of information, especially on diagnostic techniques, and support for the institutes so that SARS-CoV-2 molecular tests can be available in due course in every institute. Since mid-February, the institutes of the Institut Pasteur International Network submitted research projects, most often collaborative within the network. Most institutes in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia have been named COVID-19 Reference Centers, some being the WHO Collaborating Centers. Below you will find a selection of news published by the Institutes of the Network (non-exhaustive list).
 
WHO webiste page on coronavirus
COVID-19 dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University
Institut Pasteur disease webpage
The Institut Pasteur and the International Network's mobilization against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 : ongoing projects and latest news
Institut Pasteur Korea, Chong Kun Dang Pharm., and Korea Institut of Radiological & Medical Sciences, promote joint research and clinical trial for development of COVID-19 treatment
Fiocruz : study points to new answers on the onset of community transmission of SARS-Cov-2
HKU-Pasteur Research Pole : new groundbreaking findings with a coating that can kill SARS-CoV-2
Launch of the MediLabSecure COVID-19 study to strengthen surveillance and protection capacities in african hospital setting
Type-1 Interferon deficiency: a blood based signature for detecting patients at risk of severe COVID-19 for a therapeutic approach
COVID-19: no cross-protective immunity conferred by other coronaviruses in children
Existing drugs can prevent SARS-CoV-2 from hijacking cells
NEWS
Investigation of the dengue epidemic in Madagascar
 
 
A mission made up of entomologists and an epidemiologist from the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (IPM) left Antananarivo on May 4th, for Mahajanga in order to strengthen the capacities of the Ministry of Public Health in the response to a dengue epidemic. This mission was carried out as part of the RISE project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The objective of the mission was to describe the current dengue epidemic in the city by means of an entomo-epidemiological survey carried out among 150 households randomly selected.
 
Sleeping sickness: one step further in improving diagnosis
 
 
The African trypanosome Trypanosoma brucei gambiense is a parasite responsible for chronic Human African Trypanosomiasis, more commonly known as sleeping sickness. Diagnosing sleeping sickness generally involves two stages: serological screening (to search for antibodies against parasites in the bloodstream), followed by the microscopic detection of live parasites in the blood or a lymph node aspirate. But live parasites may remain undetected in some seropositive individuals. Following on from their previous discovery that the skin is a reservoir for trypanosomes, scientists from the Institut Pasteur and their colleagues in the TrypaDerm consortium have recently confirmed and quantified this phenomenon in humans, thereby improving our epidemiological understanding of sleeping sickness.
 
Aryl hydrocarbon receptor is a Zika virus host factor and a candidate target for antiviral therapy
 
 
Zika virus (ZIKV) has been linked to a congenital Zika syndrome characterized by fetal brain abnormalities, and also to Guillain–Barré syndrome. Despite its association with these severe outcomes, no therapy is currently approved for the treatment of ZIKV, highlighting the unmet clinical need for approaches to manage emerging flavivirus outbreaks. The development of effective therapies against ZIKV therefore requires a better understanding of virus–host interactions and antiviral immunity. 
In a new study, led by researchers from the Pasteur-USP Scientific Platform, it was shown that ZIKV infection induces the activation of AHR, leading to intrinsic immunity mechanisms that suppress viral replication. Conversely, in vivo treatment with AHR antagonists suppresses viral replication in animal model fetal tissues, reducing overall fetal malformations linked to congenital Zika syndrome. These results define AHR as a host-enabling factor for ZIKV replication and identify AHR antagonists as candidate therapeutics for the management of ZIKV infection.
 
Hepatitis B: natural controllers shed light on immunity mechanisms
 
 
Infections in humans caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) represent a major public health problem. Despite the availability of effective protective vaccines, more than 250 million individuals worldwide are chronically infected according to WHO estimates. HBV infection is associated with cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma, responsible for approximately a million deaths every year. To date there is no specific treatment to completely eliminate the virus and provide a cure for chronic HBV infection. Strikingly, however, about 1% of individuals with chronic HBV infection, are capable of recovering spontaneously. To improve our understanding of the antibody response conferring protection against HBV infection, scientists from the Institut Pasteur and Inserm, in collaboration with the Roche Innovation Center in Switzerland, produced and characterized human monoclonal antibodies specific to viral envelope antigens, referred as HBsAg, from blood memory B cells isolated from HBV vaccinees and natural controllers.
 
Living close to natural green space benefits gut bacteria of urban, formula-fed infants
 
 
This is the first study showing that formula-fed babies’ gut microbiome is comparable to gut microbiome of breastfed babies living near natural environments. Living close to natural green space can mitigate some of the changes in infant gut bacteria associated with formula feeding, according to a new research published in the journal Environment.
 
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Call for partnerships with African Higher Education 
Submission deadline : September 22th, 2020
 
 
The French National Research Agency (ANR) launches the first call on « Partnerships with the African Higher Education », funded by the French Development Agency (AFD), in the context of the « Bienvenue en France » strategy hold by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and Campus France. This actions aims at long-term partnership projects between one or more French Higher Education institutes and an African Higher Education institute, for graduate, master and PhD courses in some given activity sectors.
The PEA program is limited to the 18 African countries defined as priority from the French government Committee for international cooperation and development (CICID): Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comores, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Chad and Togo.
 
Africa Research Excellence Fund Research Development Fellowship 2020 
Submission deadline : September 23th, 2020
 
 
The AREF RDF Programme aims to enhance the research competitiveness of emerging African researchers who are working on important challenges for human health in Africa. In 2020, these challenges will include infectious disease and non-communicable diseases. AREF’s goal is to transform the opportunities for up to 15 talented postdoctoral scientists in Africa in 2020 to contribute to reducing the burden of disease through leading research that is responsive to African settings. 
 
ANRS 2021 first call for projects
Submission deadline : September 15th, 2020
 
 
The ANRS 2021 first call for projects is open from June 15th to September 15th, 2020.
The agency finances all research on : HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis as well as their co-infections, research on associated pathologies including tuberculosis and other sexually transmitted infections and  research on other viruses or pathologies when they are useful for understanding HIV/AIDS and/or viral hepatitis.
 
French National Research Agency : Call for Research-Action projects on COVID-19
Submission deadline : October 28th, 2020
 
 
In the continuity of the Flash call launched in March 2020, the French National Research Agency (ANR) is launching a new call for Research-Action projects on COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) responsible for an epidemic that started at the end of 2019 and caused by the coronavirus pathogen SARS-CoV-2. Open continuously until October, 28th 2020 and focused on WHO recommendations, this call aims to rapidly support the scientific communities mobilized on COVID-19 in an emergency context.
 
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
Pasteur Talent Network Awards 2020  
Submission deadline : August 5th, 2020
 
 
In order to support the career development of young scientists promising to become future leaders within the International Network, Institut Pasteur is pleased to announce the opening of the call for nomination for the Pasteur Network Talent Award 2020.
 
Calmette & Yersin Intra-Network Grants  
Submission deadline : October 2nd, 2020
 
 
The Calmette & Yersin Intra-Network Grants are dedicated to permanent scientists (researchers or engineers) or post-doct from the Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN, except Institut Pasteur) who wish to initiate, develop and/or consolidate a collaboration with a permanent researcher or engineer from another institute in the Network (except Institut Pasteur).
The annual call for applications for Intra-Network grants is now open.
 
INSTITUTIONNAL
Retirement of the director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole
 
 
On July 3rd, all staff of the HKU-Pasteur Research Polegathered for a very special happy hour to express their heartfelt and sincere thanks to Professor Malik Peiris, who is stepping down as Co-Director of HKU-Pasteur.
Malik Peiris co-directed the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole for 14 years alongside Professor Roberto Bruzzone, who welcome Malik by briefly remembering how his work has been significant to HKU-Pasteur and to science as a whole.
The evening was also the occasion to welcome his successor as co-director of HKU-Pasteur, Professor Leo Poon, Head of the Division of Public Health Laboratory Sciences at the HKUMed School of Public Health
 
 
The Institut Pasteur International Network Newsletter wishes you a happy summer ☀️ 
 
 
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