Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases

Fondation Mérieux acts against Swine Flu

20 October 2009, Lyon (France)

Fondation Mérieux is currently intensifying its efforts towards the knowledge, research and diagnosis of the H1N1 virus. Accordingly, Fondation Mérieux chose to act on 3 priority actions:

  • New diagnostic techniques made available to the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratories in Mali and Haiti (PCR Real Time). Training in these techniques has been organized for the scientists of the network in Lyon as well as in Beijing.

  • Development of responsive molecular data of the human and animal flu virus by using the technology Affymetrix. This data will lead to more efficient monitoring of genetic modifications of the flu virus and a better anticipation of pandemics by international surveillance networks.

  • CoPanFlu programme coordinated by l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes de Santé Publique: Research project that will follow the risk of infection during 2 years by the new virus H1N1 in 1000 households in France) and participates in an epidemiological study via the Christophe Mérieux Infectiology Centre in Laos.

The 2009 flu strain H1N1 (Swine flu) is an acute contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus of the H1N1 family. This virus reappeared in 2009 in a new genetic form that can be transmitted from person to person. On a global scale, the rate of mortality is currently relatively low. Nevertheless, unlike seasonal flu viruses, the deaths are not just of those who are already vulnerable and weak, but also young healthy adults and pregnant women. In the majority of cases, the affected people have only shown minor symptoms and they have had a full and speedy recovery.

On 11 June 2009, WHO decided to raise the Swine flu alert to stage 6; the significance being that the 2009 flu strain (H1N1) is now considered a pandemic.

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