Laos

With the Center of Infectiology Lao Christophe Mérieux, we help the Minister of Health improve the care of people living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis by providing quality testing services.

Overview

  • First Fondation Mérieux mission in 2005
  • Mérieux Foundation office: 3 expatriates, including one based at the Provincial Directorate of Health in the Khammouane province
  • Center for Infectiology Lao Christophe Mérieux with a Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory (2009) on the scientific campus of the Ministry of Health, member of the GABRIEL network.
  • 9 renovated medical biology laboratories

The Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory’s research focus: HIV/AIDS – chronic viral hepatitis – tuberculosis and viral respiratory infections – human papillomavirus (HPV)

Situation

Access to diagnosis

With the Center of Infectiology Lao Christophe Mérieux, we help the Minister of Health improve the care of people living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis by providing quality testing services. We have also worked for a number of years with the Claude Bernard Lyon I University and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region to improve healthcare in the Khammouane province, particularly at the Thakhek hospital.

The Center for Infectiology Lao Christophe Mérieux is a partner of national HIV and tuberculosis programs and has been recognized as a benchmark laboratory for its monitoring of patients living with HIV and chronic viral hepatitis.

We work to support the Khammouane project, building a network of laboratories in the Khammouane province, in conjunction with Thakhek’s provincial hospital, the district hospitals and the Provincial Health Directorate, and with financial support from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region.

In 2016, we oversaw the construction of the national Food Safety Laboratory, inaugurated April 24, 2017 in Vientiane. A national reference center for food quality control, it is the first laboratory of its kind in Laos. The objective of this 1200 m2 laboratory is to protect the local population from foodborne diseases by analyzing and controlling the quality of imported, exported and local food products.

Enhancing research capabilities

As part of the GABRIEL network, Lao researchers are working towards the ISO 15189 international quality certification and in several research projects:

  • Molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis in Southeast Asia : a project for molecular typing of tuberculosis strains present in Laos has been conducted since 2013 with the International Joint Laboratory,
  • The LaCoRIS project, monitoring infectious respiratory diseases in cohorts in Vientiane,
  • The Lao PDRP project (Primary Drug Resistance): determining the primary resistance to HIV treatments in treatment naive patients,
  • The LaoCol-VP project: cost-effectiveness study of techniques to detect cancerous lesions 
  • TDR vs ELISA: assessing the efficacy of rapid tests for the diagnosis of hepatitis B,
  • Prevalence of hepatitis B in pregnant women in Vientiane: prevention of the mother-to-child transmission of the hepatitis B virus.

Knowledge-sharing

The Center of Infectiology Lao Christophe Mérieux organizes several practical workshops and themed symposiums (molecular biology, antimicrobial resistance, hepatitis, HIV, etc.), making it a key asset for our knowledge-sharing activities.

In 2015, we held the first regional symposium on chronic viral hepatitis there with 80 health professionals and researchers from Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Mongolia and France in attendance.

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