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French aid injects 2 million euro into regional COVID-19 response

French Development Agency (AFD) recently authorised 2 million euro in grants to assist the Institut Pasteur in Laos and neighbouring countries to strengthen surveillance, diagnosis and response systems of South-East Asian countries to epidemics.
Due to significant disparities in health systems both nationally and regionally, South-East Asia is at high risk as COVID-19 continues to spread. This new funding will provide additional support, enabling the five partner countries of the region to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coordinated by Institut Pasteur, the ECOMORE II (Economic Development, Ecosystem Modifications, & Emerging Infectious Diseases Risk Evaluation) project is supporting laboratories on the front line in the fight against the pandemic in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.
AFD Regional Director in Southeast Asia, Mr Yazid Bensaïd said, “It is essential to delay the peak of the epidemic in Southeast Asia as much as possible, as recommended by the WHO, by supporting partner countries’ monitoring policies and strategies pertaining to the spread of the virus through laboratory capacity building.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, seven laboratories will receive direct support for the following: additional equipment, diagnostic kits, protection for personnel, reinforcement of human resources, training and skills transfer, deployment of mass diagnosis strategies complementing current molecular diagnosis, and support for data processing in partnership with the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) to strengthen surveillance of the epidemic.
International Director of the International Network of Pasteur Institutes, Prof. Pierre-Marie Girard said, “The ECOMORE II project is a perfect illustration of the very vocation of the International Network of Pasteur Institutes which, in parallel with the work of its researchers around the world, is committed to the fight to protect people from emerging infectious diseases.”
A recognised world leader in the fields of infectious diseases, microbiology, and immunology, Institut Pasteur is also dedicated to the study of certain cancers, genetic and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as genomics and developmental biology.
This work, which is dedicated to improving our knowledge of living organisms, enables the discovery and development of new means of prevention and therapeutic innovations.
Since its creation, 10 researchers working at Institut Pasteur have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, the latest in 2008 in recognition of their discovery in 1983 of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) responsible for AIDS.
As a French overseas aid platform for sustainable development and investment, AFD and its partners create shared solutions, with and for the people of the global South. Active in more than 4,000 projects and some 115 countries, the agency strives to promote health, education, and gender equality and are working to protect the common resources of peace, education, health, biodiversity, and a stable climate.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update May 15, 2020)

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