The center includes the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory, a clinical testing and research laboratory, and a conference center. It will soon be equipped with a high-level biosafety laboratory (BSL3) for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and other specialized testing.
It has three main objectives:
- Provide diagnostics and monitoring of patients living with HIV and hepatitis B and C through specialized testing.
- Contribute to training students in medicine and pharmacy by enabling them to conduct research in infectious diseases.
- Address public health issues in the country through projects in research and clinical biology.
Diagnostic testing and follow-up
The center plays a central role in the care of people living with HIV. In partnership with the National HIV Program and funded by the Global Fund, the laboratory is the reference center responsible for monitoring the viral load of all HIV-positive patients under treatment in Laos. The eleven treatment centers for people living with HIV, located across the country, send samples to the center for viral load and antiretroviral susceptibility testing. The objective is to implement enhanced patient follow-up to reduce the number of treatment failures and thus reduce the risk of resistance to first-line antiretroviral treatment. This is a real public health issue for Laos, which is beginning to detect resistance to first- and second-line treatments, while third-line treatments are not yet available in the country. The center carries out testing to determine mother-to-child transmission of HIV to ensure that infants with a positive diagnosis can receive immediate care.
Screening and viral load measurement for hepatitis B and C are also performed by the center. It is one of the partners for the National Tuberculosis Control Program, responsible for testing and identifying resistant strains.
The Center of Infectiology Lao Christophe Mérieux organizes scientific training and events of national and regional scope. A conference on the diagnosis and access to treatment for hepatitis B and C is organized each year, as well as an annual seminar on HIV follow-up.
The center is also involved in numerous research projects on HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis and enables students to be trained and conduct their research. For example, DES students in biology at the University of Health Sciences have the opportunity to use the laboratory for their thesis work. Many students from the Institut de la Francophonie pour la Médecine Tropicale have benefited from the laboratory to document their epidemiological studies as part of their Master’s degree.
About the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory
The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory is a 120 m2 biosafety level 2 (BSL2+) laboratory that is composed of 5 rooms that house:
- a unit dedicated to Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture and sample prep for detecting strains that are resistant to antibiotics,
- a molecular biology unit,
- an ISO8 cleanroom,
- an ELISA platform for work on hepatitis B.
The laboratory was designed to meet the specifications of the ISO 14644 standard, parts 1 and 4 (“Cleanrooms and Associated Controlled Environments”) and is currently working towards ISO 15189 accreditation.
The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory’s research focus:
- Respiratory infections and tuberculosis
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
About the Mérieux Foundation
Created in 1967, the Mérieux Foundation is an independent family foundation with public interest status, chaired by Alain Mérieux. Its mission is to contribute to global health by strengthening the local capacities of developing countries to reduce the impact of infectious diseases that affect vulnerable populations, particularly mothers and children. Present in some twenty countries in West Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, the Mérieux Foundation focuses its action on four objectives: increasing access to diagnosis for vulnerable populations, enhancing local applied research capabilities, encouraging knowledge-sharing and improving conditions for mothers and children in a global health approach.
The Mérieux Foundation started its activities in Laos in 2005 and strengthened its presence in 2007 with the construction of the Center of Infectiology Lao Christophe Mérieux and the construction of a clinical diagnostics laboratory at the Thakhek Provincial Hospital. Subsequently, the Foundation provided support to the 10 laboratories in the Khammouane province and this support continues today in the Bolikhamxay province through the Boli-Lab project, which aims to strengthen the laboratory system.
Tel: +33 6 13 94 51 14