At a video-conference on May 15, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Institut Pasteur, which have been two key institutions of Sino-French Cooperation on Emerging Infectious Diseases since 2003, reached a consensus to make sustained common efforts to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both sides reiterated that mutual trust and continuous cooperation are key to Sino-French cooperation on infectious diseases, and will make sustained efforts to defeat COVID-19 and ensure the public health security of the two countries. “This is not just for our two countries, but also for the rest of the world, to fight against this global health crisis”, said Professor Zhang Yaping, Vice-President of CAS.

Professor Zhang expressed his gratitude to the French side for their long-term support for the CAS Institut Pasteur of Shanghai (IPS), which has become an important platform not just for CAS scientists to fight against COVID-19, but also for the cooperation between the two scientific communities. The detection kit for COVID-19 developed by IPS was listed as one of the leading detecting devices by the Chinese government, he said.

Professor Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur, congratulated CAS and IPS for the progress and scientific achievements that they have made on COVID-19. French scientists were as busy as their Chinese colleagues in developing vaccines and diagnostic tools, and in identifying antibodies and drugs, he said. He also introduced the recent major progress of the Institut Pasteur and the international contribution made by the Institut Pasteur International Network.

He thanked the IPS for its international contribution and was confident that with the support of CAS and the Shanghai Municipal Government, the Institute would achieve even greater development in the future.

Professor Tang Hong, Director General of IPS, highlighted the productive cooperation with the Institut Pasteur over three months of fighting against COVID-19, as well as the efforts made towards helping Africa and Iran.

CAS launched a special COVID-19 Emergency Prevention and Control Project at the very beginning of the epidemic. The combined efforts of 396 teams from CAS, involving over 2,600 researchers, has resulted in significant progress and science-based innovations for prevention and control work in the COVID-19 epidemic. “CAS scientists isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus early on in the epidemic and have developed about 18 detecting kits in cooperation with diagnostic companies,” said Professor Zhang Yongqing, Deputy Director-General, CAS Bureau of Frontier Sciences and Education.

The high-level biosafety laboratory, jointly constructed by China and France after SARS, has played an important role in fighting COVID-19. “The development of vaccine has entered clinical trials, and it is expected to achieve good results”, said Professor Yuan Zhiming, Director of the Wuhan P4 Laboratory of the CAS Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Professor Shi Zhengli, a coronavirus expert at Wuhan P4 Laboratory, showed her gratitude to the Institut Pasteur for hosting a student exchange and hoped for more cooperation in the near future.

The two institutions agreed to further strengthen IP-CAS scientific exchanges and cooperation through IPS development and projects like the G4 Program, Kunming joint center and their cooperation in Southeast Asia.

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

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