First stone laid for the Institut Pasteur in Guinea？
On November 11 in Conakry, the President of the Republic of Guinea, His Excellency Professor Alpha Condé, laid the first stone of the Institut Pasteur in Guinea at a ceremony attended by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault. In the wake of the WHO's declaration that the Ebola outbreak in Guinea has ended, on June 1 this year, the event marks the official start of construction work, with the new building planned for completion in 2018.
The foundation of an Institut Pasteur in Guinea was decided in 2014 in response to the Ebola crisis and arises from the combined will of the Presidents of the Republics of France and Guinea to tackle emerging outbreaks. This will was reflected in a memorandum of understanding signed between the Republic of Guinea and the Institut Pasteur in September 2015.
As an independent department of Gamal Abdel Nasser University in Conakry, the Institut Pasteur in Guinea is under the joint aegis of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Ministry of Health. Currently headed up by Noël Tordo, a specialist in viral hemorrhagic fevers, it will work in complementarity and synergy with existing Guinean and international institutions. The mission of the Institute is to respond to epidemic emergencies, participate in monitoring and research on infectious diseases in association with laboratories across the region, particularly the Institut Pasteur laboratories in Dakar and Côte d’Ivoire, as well as to train Guinean scientists in outbreak prevention.
The Institut Pasteur in Guinea is the 33rd member of the Institut Pasteur International Network. It will house a virology research unit to investigate diseases with epidemic potential, in particular arboviruses and hemorrhagic fever viruses, which have been responsible for a number of severe major outbreaks in Guinea in recent years. There are also plans for a second unit specializing in entomology within the Institute.
Pending completion of the new building, Gamal Abdel Nasser University in Conakry has kindly provided premises to host a transitional laboratory and the Institut Pasteur in Guinea team. With the support of Expertise France, the laboratory will be able to begin research and training for Guinean students and scientists in 2017. It will then be transferred to the University to host training programs.
The project to set up the Institut Pasteur in Guinea currently receives funding from the French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI), with support from the Institut Pasteur in Paris.