ERINHA national node, INSERM’s BSL4 Laboratory Jean Mérieux provided a talk on Nipah virus research at the First REACTing Symposium on Emerging Infectious Diseases, held on November 21, 2019 at the Insitut Pasteur in Paris.
REACTing (REsearch and ACTion targeting emerging infectious diseases) is a collaborative network of major French research institutions, coordinated by INSERM, under the aegis of AVIESAN.
More than 200 participants attended the Symposium which was organized into four sessions: REACTing against viral hemorrhagic fevers; How to better prepare for future epidemics; No research without communities, ethics and social sciences; and Stronger partnerships for a successful response.
The focus of the first session was the continuing work on Ebola from West Africa to DRC, including diagnostic capacity, cohorts of Ebola survivors, the reservoir of the virus, and Ebola vaccine trials in children and adults.
Presentations on a cohort of Lassa Fever infected patients in Nigeria and the impact of research on Public Health response during and between epidemics were followed by a session covering arboviruses, Nipah and plague and the importance of feedback from previous epidemics to better prepare for future outbreaks.
The pivotal questions of community engagement, ethics in an emergency situation, and social sciences for research were the focus in session three including a presentation of the Global Social Sciences Network for Infectious Threats and Antimicrobial Resistance (SoNAR-Global).
To end the Symposium, a panel session was held during which the key players in epidemic research came together to discuss “How to build better partnerships” during a public health emergency. Clear priorities surfaced, such as the need for collective action, co-construction of research projects and programs, capacity building and training, community engagement and the humility and importance of leading research under national leadership. The need for national research plans to improve sustainability and the continuation of WHO global coordination were also underlined.
Coordinator of the REACTing network, Eric D’Ortenzio, underlined: “It is clear that we need to innovate in our way of thinking the response to epidemics and this symposium was an excellent forum to reflect on that.”