Five members of the Pasteur Network— the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, the Institut Pasteur de Bangui, the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, the Institut Pasteur de la Guyane and the Institut Pasteur—have collaboratively published the results of a study on mosquito ribosomal RNA. In addition to the release of 234 complete ribosomal RNA sequences from 33 mosquito species to public databases, the study presents the bioinformatics methodology used to assemble these sequences. The eLife article also assesses the use of ribosomal RNA as a molecular marker for taxonomic and phylogenetic studies on mosquitoes. These findings will facilitate the discovery and monitoring of viruses in all the mosquito species investigated as well as others.
Monitoring virus circulation with RNA sequencing (RNA-seq)
Mosquitoes are known to transmit many pathogenic viruses among humans and animals. Most of these viruses carry genetic information in the form of ribonucleic acid or RNA. By sequencing the RNA found in mosquitoes, a technique known as RNA-seq,
we can identify what viral pathogens are circulating in certain mosquito populations by detecting their RNA genomes. This also allows us to discover potential emerging viral pathogens.
However, the mosquito itself contain plenty of RNA, specifically the RNAs that make up protein-producing machines called ribosomes. This type of RNA is aptly called ribosomal RNA. The hyperabundant presence of ribosomal RNA constitute “background noise”, which can reduce the sensitivity of pathogen detection by masking the sequences of interest, and they need to be removed from the sample. To successfully remove or deplete ribosomal RNA, we need to know its reference sequence.
However, the lack of reference ribosomal RNA sequences for a large majority of mosquito species makes it difficult to perform RNA-seq in these species. Only a few vector species were listed on public databases—a collection of all known genetic sequences for all living things. This gap leads to a neglect of the transmission cycles perpetuated by other mosquito species endemic to more remote environments, which are responsible for the infection of reservoir animals. To allow for virus discovery and monitoring in a wider range of mosquito species, the team expanded the current collection of reference ribosomal RNA sequences.
Employing the collective expertise of the Pasteur Network members
By bringing together their expertise and resources, scientists from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, the Institut Pasteur de Bangui, the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, the Institut Pasteur de la Guyane and the Institut Pasteur, all members of the Pasteur Network, have released a large assemblage of ribosomal RNA sequences to public databases. Using a unique bioinformatics method described in the study, the team was able to assemble the complete ribosomal RNA sequences for all their specimens, even in the presence of contaminating biological material. This genomic resource constitutes a set of 234 complete ribosomal RNA sequences of 33 mosquito species.
The implications of this genomic resource
These novel sequences allow for the physical and computational elimination of interfering ribosomal RNA sequence reads, the aforementioned “background noise”, leading to the detection of target viral genomic RNA at increased sensitivity. In addition, ribosomal RNAs can be used for the molecular identification of the mosquito species under study. The accuracy of molecular identification of mosquito species using ribosomal RNA sequences is comparable to that of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene sequence—the gold standard and current reference in molecular taxonomy. The bioinformatics methodology and sequences resulting from this collaboration will thus help to discover and monitor known and potential new pathogens in a large number of insect species by RNA-seq metagenomics.
For more information:
Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequences from 33 globally distributed mosquito species for improved metagenomics and species identification
eLife, janvier 2023.
Cassandra Koh, Lionel Frangeul, Hervé Blanc, Carine Ngoagouni,Sébastien Boyer, Philippe Dussart, Nina Grau, Romain Girod, Jean-Bernard Duchemin and Maria-Carla Saleh.
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.82762 / https://elifesciences.org/articles/82762
The COS-Pasteur Network is organizing its 2023 webinar series on ticks and tick-borne diseases. 6 webinars are planned throughout the year with speakers from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, the Institut Pasteur de Bangui and the Institut Pasteur de Côte d’Ivoire, members of the Pasteur Network. These webinars are free but registration is required.
For more information:
Link to register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeRbzR7Hzmum5DVF7dTyrU7c-CMtUZ4hMuHh_oE0UHvQRmEhA/viewform
Leo Lit Man Poon, from the Hong Kong University (HKU)- Pasteur Research Pole, member of the Pasteur Network, was awarded the Pasteur Network LP200 Prize, a special prize in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Pasteur at a ceremony organized by the Institut Pasteur (Paris) on Thursday, January 26th, 2023. This prize is part of a set of 5 prizes awarded by the Institut Pasteur in the framework of the bicentenary with the support of the Carlsberg Foundation that funded the total Prize amount of € 200,000.
To celebrate the bicentenary of Louis Pasteur’s birth, a series of five prestigious scientific prizes have been created by the Institut Pasteur in 2022. The prizes award for achievements that capture the Pasteur ethos, or “l’esprit Pasteur”, in the fields of biomedical research, public health, or innovation. Among them, one was dedicated to the Pasteur Network: the Pasteur Network LP200 Prize.
The International Jury presided over by Pascale Cossart, Professor at the Institut Pasteur and honorary perpetual secretary of the French Academy of Sciences, with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (2008) and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Emmanuelle Charpentier (2020), chose Leo Lit Man Poon as laureate. He received the prize from Françoise Barré-Sinoussi.
“This award recognizes the essential contributions of Prof. Poon’s to preparedness, research, collaborations, and commitment to the Pasteur Network, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It Pr. Poon embodies Louis Pasteur’s vision of science without borders”.
Rebecca F Grais, Executive director of the Pasteur Network
Leo Poon is a professor in the School of Public Health of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong as well as co-director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, member of the Pasteur Network. He is a virologist and public health scientist dedicated to studying emerging viruses such as influenza viruses and coronaviruses.
Thus far, he has published about 300 peer-reviewed articles, with an H-index of 93. Since 2005, Leo has been in the Top 1% of most cited scientists and highly cited researcher since 2015. In 2022 Leo was named one of the Top 1,000 scientists by research.com.
Alongside, Leo Poon also serves as an expert in different working groups in international organization, such as the WHO, the WOAH and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for controlling emerging infectious diseases.
“There are so many great people who work together to combat infectious diseases. It is my honor to work with them to improve public health. Two centuries later, the spirit of Louis Pasteur still contagious”.
Leo Lit Man Poon, co-director of the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, member of the Pasteur Network
Beside the Pasteur Network Louis Pasteur Bicentenary Prize, this series rewarded one head of senior Institut Pasteur scientist, Arnaud Fontanet, one head of junior Institut Pasteur scientist, Mélanie Hamon, and two alumni of the Institut Pasteur, Bruno Canard and Serge Mostowy, respectively with the Senior Alumni Louis Pasteur Bicentenary Prize and the Junior Alumni Louis Pasteur Bicentenary Prize and the Pasteur Alumni Louis Pasteur Bicentenary Prizes.
For more information:
Read the biography of Leo Poon on HKU- Pasteur Research Pole website: https://www.hkupasteur.hku.hk/copy-of-poon-lab
Read the news on HKU – Pasteur Research Pole website: https://www.hkupasteur.hku.hk/post/the-pasteur-network-lp200-prize-awarded-to-leo-poon
Read the news on the Institut Pasteur website: https://www.pasteur.fr/en/research-journal/news/louis-pasteur-bicentenary-prize-five-scientists-rewarded
Listen to the podcast (Nature Biotechnology): https://bioengineeringcommunity.nature.com/posts/podcast-creative-grit-episode-2
Rebecca F. Grais, Executive Director of the Pasteur Network, has been appointed to WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE).
As a member of SAGE, Rebecca will be responsible for providing expert guidance and recommendations to WHO on global policies and strategies related to vaccines, technology, research and development, and the delivery of immunization and its linkages with other health interventions. This appointment is a testament to Rebecca’s expertise and commitment to advancing global health.
For more information:
In 2 minutes, the first video of the Pasteur Network gives a non-exhaustive overview of its activities. (Re)Discover the leitmotiv of the network, its fields of expertise and its vast diversity.
About the Pasteur Network
The Pasteur Network is a vast human and scientific community with more than 30 members in over 20 countries who together contribute to the improvement of global health. By pooling scientific, human and technical resources among its members, the Pasteur Network acts as a synergistic entity to respond to global challenges. Its members share strategic priorities such as epidemic intelligence and preparedness, and research and development to support manufacturing of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics. The Pasteur Network also supports the creation of diverse collaborative multi-disciplinary communities of knowledge through regional and global mobility. Located in the heart of endemic areas, the Network has privileged access to a large number of pathogens that it monitors and studies on all five continents. This exceptional diversity makes the Pasteur Network a global actor in public health, science, innovation, and education, especially in the fight against infectious diseases.
In 1891, Louis Pasteur’s vision of a stateless science was made real with the birth of the Institut Pasteur in Ho Chi Minh City, the first international milestone of the Pasteur Network. A few days before the bicentenary of Louis Pasteur’s birth, Rebecca F. Grais, Amadou A. Sall and Stewart T. Cole, current representatives of the Pasteur Network, co-wrote a comment that traces the network’s main developments from its inception to the present day. The Pasteur Network is more than ever committed to this global vision of science by combining the diversity of all its members with Pasteur’s legacy in research and epidemic management.
Read this comment in the 400th volume of The Lancet.
For more information:
Science knows no country: fulfilling Louis Pasteur’s legacy
The Lancet, December 17th, 2022.
Rebecca F. Grais, Amadou A. Sall, Stewart T. Cole.
According to WHO estimates, each year 60,000 people die of rabies worldwide. 99% of the victims are infected by a dog. 100% of the cases are preventable by vaccination. To contribute to the objective defined by the international organizations WHO, WOAH and FAO “Zero cases of human rabies of canine origin by 2030”, the Pasteur Network has set up a MOOC dedicated to rabies control. Accessible on the Fun MOOC platform, the first session of the MOOC “Rabies” is in English with subtitles in English, French and Portuguese. Registration is free and open until February 7, 2023.
A deadly but preventable disease
Rabies is a viral infection affecting the nervous system which, once declared, is invariably fatal and for which dogs are responsible for almost all transmissions to humans. Since 1885, when Louis Pasteur developed the rabies vaccine, much progress has been made and dog-mediated rabies is now preventable. Nevertheless, rabies retains its status as a neglected zoonosis in Africa and Asia where 95% of reported cases are concentrated. Lack of knowledge, inaccessibility to vaccination and lack of control of canine rabies are all factors that explain the high incidence of this infection.
Sharing experiences and expert knowledge
With the aim of sharing their knowledge and experience, Pasteur Network researchers have set up the MOOC “Rabies”. Designed in the framework of a call for course funding, this MOOC brings together 25 international experts , including 6 from Pasteur Network. It has been funded by Pasteur Network, Institut Pasteur, Institut Pasteur of Cambodia and Institut Pasteur of Guinea.
This MOOC is composed of 7 chapters addressing rabies control in both humans and animals in the respect of the “One Health” approach. It includes general knowledge of the disease, such as virology, epidemiology, and diagnosis; a description of available vaccines and their associated vaccine strategies; therapeutic perspectives; a presentation of the role of international organizations in the goal of elimination by 2030; and finally, concrete examples of multidisciplinary approaches implemented in the field.
Towards “Zero cases of human rabies of canine origin by 2030”
Faced with the global goal of eliminating human rabies of canine origin by 2030, all the experts and international organizations involved have recognized the urgent need to provide training to medical and veterinary personnel, the target of this MOOC, alongside students and scientists interested in the complex control of this zoonosis. The MOOC “Rabies” thus supports this ambition of eliminating human rabies of canine origin by 2030 by providing participants with the tools to raise awareness in their community. Indeed, following this training, participants will be able to:
- Present the disease: its transmission, symptoms and clinic;
- Explain the importance of the different animal reservoirs in the propagation of the virus;
- Describe rabies vaccination strategies;
- Identify the role of relevant international organizations;
- Discuss control strategies in different regions of the world.
Nearly 1,300 participants from 96 countries have already started to follow this online training either through the free ” Discovery Course” or through the ” Qualifying Course” in which the MOOC is followed by a certifying exam at a cost of 150€. The latter gives the opportunity to apply for the Institut Pasteur Online Diploma of Infectious Diseases (DNM2IP).
For more information:
MOOC “Rabies”: https://www.fun-mooc.fr/en/courses/rabies/
5 reasons to take the “Rabies” MOOC: https://www.fun-mooc.fr/en/actualites/5-raisons-de-suivre-la-formation-rage/
“Zero by 30”: https://rabiesalliance.org/resource/zero-30-global-strategic-plan-end-human-deaths-dog-mediated-rabies-2030
Contributing to a global vaccination strategy to eliminate rabies by 2030 – Pasteur Network Annual Report 2017-2018: https://pasteur-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/1906_00035-riip2018-220×280-va-web.pdf#page=23
 Among the 25 experts: 6 come from the Pasteur Network from the Institut Pasteur de Guinée, the Institut Pasteur, the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge and the Institut Pasteur du Laos, 5 come from international institutions and 14 from research institutes in Africa, Asia, America and Europe. The WHO rabies reference laboratories, WOAH ( former OIE) and FAO are represented by 8 of these speakers.
The Pasteur Network Annual Meeting, co-organized with the Institut Pasteur in Italy – Cenci Bolognetti Foundation, took place at the Sapienza University in Rome from 28 to 30 November 2022. The theme of this year’s meeting was “The Start of a New Chapter”, reflecting the recent development of the network while aiming for a more inclusive and participative governance. It was an opportunity for directors, scientific directors and all researchers from to network to exchange their collective objectives and to forge future partnerships and collaborations.
Presentations and photos from the event are available below. Further details regarding the event are available at the meeting’s official press release.
Speakers and Presentations
All information regarding the speakers of the meeting is available at the Official speakers’ leaflet.
Day 1 – Keynote speaker
The miracle of COVID-19 vaccines and the trillion-dollar gap > Prof. Rino Rappuoli
Dr Norosoa Razanajatovo, from the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar is the winner of the 2022 Pasteur Network Talent Award. Read the article about the Ceremony and Dr. Razanajatovo’s presentation to know more about it.
Session 1: Preparedness and Response to Outbreaks: Lessons and course of actions for the Pasteur Network
- Lessons learned from MonkeyPox > Emmanuel Nakoune
- Lessons learned from COVID-19 > Leo Poon
- Suggested key steps for strong and efficient global Pasteur Network preparedness and response to outbreaks > Ridha Barbouche
Session 2: Manufacturing and Strengthening the R&D Ecosystem
- Importance of anti-venom production in the Pasteur Network > Christophe Peyrefitte
- Building autonomy and promoting access to human vaccines through local manufacturing in Africa > Amadou Sall
- Strategic State Institution for Health > Savino Wilson
Plenary Session 3: Working better together
Sub-plenary 1: Focusing on science
- Brainstorming in the Pasteur Network > the role of the COS PN and Scientific Committees >
- Collaborative science with the Institut Pasteur > Fernando Arenzana-Seisdedos
Sub-plenary 2: Improving opportunities within the Network
- G4 leaders – return of experience and ways forward & Mobility in the Pasteur Network >
Lawrence Ayong & Tineke Cantaert
Sub-plenary 3: Mutualizing Technological Resources
- LAB+: from exceptional research at Institut Pasteur de Montevideo to world-class start-ups >
- Integrative Bioimaging Hub at Institut Pasteur de Montevideo: a new Research Infrastructure hub in South America > Alejandro Buschiazzo
- Overview of the Institut Pasteur Centre for Technological Resources and Research and of MOSBRI, the European Molecular-Scale Biophysics Research Infrastructure > Patrick England
- Institut Pasteur Korea’s technology platform accessible to Pasteur Network translational research > Regis Grailhe
- “Bioinformatics and Applied Genomics Unit”: A Versatile High-Throughput Sequencing and Single-Cell Genomics Platform > Timokratis Karamitros
More photos from the event will be available soon.
During the Pasteur Network Annual Meeting from November 28 to 30, 2022 in Rome, Dr. Norosoa Razanajatovo, from the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar received the Pasteur Network Talent Award 2022 issued by the President of the Institut Pasteur, Stewart Cole.
Dr Norosoa Razanajatovo joined the National Influenza Centre (NIC) of the Virology Unit of the Institut Pasteur of Madagascar in 2013 as a research engineer. She received her doctorate with an option of applied biochemistry in medical sciences, which she obtained in 2015. Carried out under the supervision of Dr. Jean-Michel Héraud, her thesis work, which focused on the identification and molecular characterization of respiratory viruses circulating in Madagascar, has helped to implement a better prevention strategy against respiratory diseases. Norosoa Razanajatovo has notably played a role for the implementation of the program to develop national surveillance of influenza in collaboration with the Ministries of Malagasy Public Health and Livestock.
From 2016, she became technical manager and deputy chief of the National Center for Influenza. The same year, she was also appointed WHO technical advisor. Over the years, she has acquired solid experience in the field of surveillance of respiratory viruses through the management of various epidemics such as H1N1 influenza, or more recently, COVID-19. In 2022, she was promoted researcher. She coordinates laboratory surveillance of viral respiratory infections and associated research programs.
“A good surveillance system is important to master an epidemic, but an effective and up -to -date research strategy is the keystone to achieve this.”
She studies the viral causes of acute respiratory infections, the identification of a seasonal characteristics for common respiratory viruses, the development of predictive diagnostic tools and molecular biology of human and zoonotic viruses.
Her latest project focuses on the dynamics of the introduction and dissemination of respiratory viruses relevant for human and animal health for the country and worldwide. In parallel, Dr. Norosoa Razanajatovo is invested in the transmission of her knowledge by the supervision of different students, by holding training workshops for local and regional laboratories and by training the staff of regional institutions in the executive training program in field epidemiology. With regard to her commitment and her career, she received the Pasteur Network Talent Award 2022 at the Annual Meeting on November 28, 2022 in Rome.
For more information:
Article from the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar: https://www.pasteur.mg/dr-norosoa-harline-razanajatovo-laureate-du-prix-pasteur-network-talent-award-2022/
 Each year, the Pasteur Network Talent Award recognizes one or two Pasteur Network researchers who are the future leaders of the network.
From 28 to 30 November 2022 the Annual Meeting of the Pasteur Network co-organized with the Institut Pasteur Italia will take place at Sapienza University in Rome. This meeting will bring together all directors, scientific directors and researchers of more than 30 Pasteur Network members in the world, located in over 20 countries across 5 continents. The theme this year is “The Start of a New Chapter”, which reflects the recent development of the Pasteur Network aiming for a more inclusive and participative governance.
The inaugural day will take place on Monday 28 November starting at 11:30 in the Aula Magna with the participation of Prof. Antonella Polimeni, Rector of Sapienza University of Rome, Prof. Luigi Frati, President of the Istituto Pasteur Italia Cenci Bolognetti Foundation, the French Ambassador in Italy Prof. Christian Masset, Prof. Silvio Brusaferro, President of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità and Prof. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008 and Honorary President of the Pasteur Network.
The new vision of the Pasteur Network will be presented by Dr. Rebecca F. Grais, the new Executive Director of the Pasteur Network with Prof. Amadou Sall, President of the Pasteur Network and Prof. Stewart Cole, President of the Pasteur Network Foundation.
The keynote speaker of the session “The new vision of the Pasteur Network” will be Prof. Rino Rappuoli, Scientific Director of the Siena Biotecnopolo Foundation who will deliver a lecture on “The miracle of COVID-19 vaccines and the trillion-dollar gap” to illustrate how new technologies and unprecedented public investment have transformed vaccine development and allowed fast delivery of safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines, mitigating the impact of the pandemic on health and the economy. A quantum change in public investment for vaccine development and widespread vaccine distribution are necessary to achieve global pandemic preparedness.
The day will end with a ceremony unveiling the winner of the Pasteur Network Talent Awards to support the career development of young scientists to become future leaders within the Pasteur Network.
An exhibition “From Louis to Pasteur: 1822-1895” will run in parallel to celebrate 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Pasteur.
On Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th, working sessions organized for members of the Pasteur Network will deal with its main strategic priorities such as epidemic intelligence and preparedness, and research and development to support regional manufacturing of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics. The Pasteur Network also supports thecreation of diverse collaborative multi-disciplinary communities of knowledge which will be discussed during a session called “Working Together” that illustrates the leitmotiv of the entire event.
For more information:
About Istituto Pasteur Italia
Istituto Pasteur Italia, part of the Pasteur Network, is committed to promotion of biomedical research, scientific education and dissemination. The research activity is mainly focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying the biological processes with the goal of expanding our knowledge on the molecular basis of many infectious and non-communicable diseases.
About the Pasteur Network
The Pasteur Network is a vast human and scientific community with more than 30 members in over 20 countries who together contribute to the improvement of global health. Located in the heart of endemic areas, the Network has privileged access to a large number of pathogens that it monitors and studies on all five continents. This exceptional diversity makes the Pasteur Network a global actor in public health, science, innovation, and education, especially in the fight against infectious diseases.
The Institut Pasteur International Network is evolving and becoming the Pasteur Network (2021)