Pasteur Institute to set up in Shanghai

30th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 29 (AFP) - France will set up a branch of its legendary research laboratory, the Pasteur Institute, in the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai, it was announced here Thursday.

PARIS, Jan 29 (AFP) - France will set up a branch of its legendary research laboratory, the Pasteur Institute, in the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai, it was announced here Thursday.

Scientists there will give "major priority" to newly emerging diseases, particularly those that are transmitted from animal to man, such as bird flu.

The announcement was made by the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, whose vice president, Chen Zhu admitted that China suffered "delays in building public-health infrastructure."

China did not have an "effective response mechanism" when Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) broke out in late 2002, Chen told the press.

"The virology sector has not developed properly" and this held up identification of the SARS virus, he said.

The lessons of SARS prompted the Academy to speed up collaboration with the Pasteur Institute, which was the first European research organisation to send experts to China last year to help it fight SARS, he said.

The Shanghai branch of the Institute will be managerially autonomous and, when it gets up to full speed, will have a payroll of about 250 people, said Professor Philippe Kourilsky, the institute's director general here.

It should take "18 months to two years" to start operations, he said.

In addition to virus work, the collaborative effort will also focus on Chinese herbal medicine, with the hope of discovering new compounds that could be useful "for the whole world," Chen said.

French experts will also train Chinese scientist in key aspects of public health.

The Pasteur Institute, set up in 1887, is named after Louis Pasteur, one of the greatest minds in bacteriology, vaccination and hygiene, after whom the process of pasteurisation is named.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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