These two independent family foundations work in close cooperation to combat infectious diseases and to sustainably improve the quality of life and health of vulnerable populations, in particular mothers and children. In 2019, a number of projects to benefit the most vulnerable communities have been carried out thanks to support from bioMérieux.
- In 2019, the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory of Beirut, a national observatory for pathogenic agents and infectious diseases in Lebanon, was named a national tuberculosis reference laboratory.
- In Laos, a mobile biosafety (BSL-3) laboratory was installed in 2019 at the Lao Christophe Mérieux Center of Infectiology for diagnostic testing and tuberculosis monitoring.
Enhancing access to diagnostics
bioMérieux donates BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® systems to the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratories to improve pathogen surveillance. Two systems have already been installed in Lebanon (in Tripoli and Beirut), one in Haiti and one in Madagascar.
In 2018, two BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® systems were installed in Bangladesh near Rohingya refugee camps to be used during a study conducted by the Mérieux Foundation. The aim of this study is to identify the disease agents responsible for acute respiratory infections during humanitarian crises, and to determine the types of health interventions that are necessary to improve patient care in such settings. These systems will then be dedicated to the Rodolphe Mérieux Laboratory at the Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID) in Chittagong. For this study, bioMérieux also donated a mini VIDAS® system and VIDAS® B.R.A.H.M.S PCT™ tests to measure procalcitonin.
Actively combatting the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
bioMérieux supported the actions of the Mérieux Foundation as part of efforts to combat the Ebola virus disease epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For this purpose, bioMérieux donated
- BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® systems and Global Fever Panel-RUO (Research Use Only) and BioThreat-E (Ebola test).
- a BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® system for a mobile laboratory developed by the Praesens Foundation (Belgium) to bring Ebola screening to remote areas.
Helping mothers and children
The Foundations work alongside local partners in countries where laboratories have been set up, as well as countries affected by humanitarian crises. Health, hygiene, education and the development of socio-economic activities are the fields in which initiatives are organized to improve living conditions and access to care for the most vulnerable populations, in particular mothers and their children.
Among the highlights in 2019:
- In Iraq, inauguration in Shekan of the community medical center for Yazidi women and children;
- In Lebanon, inauguration in the Bekaa Plain of asocio-medical center to serve refugee communities . It was built by the Mérieux Foundation alongside its partners: the Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, the Principality of Monaco’s Department of International Cooperation, and the NGO Amel Association International.
bioMérieux supports the Betania Center in Madagascar
In 2019, bioMérieux provided financial support to the Betania Center in Ankasina, in Madagascar. The funds provided by bioMérieux were used to renovate the medical building and to build a sanitary block to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Training healthcare professionals
The Mérieux Foundation contributes to implementing training programs designed to meet international, regional and local public health needs and priorities in many different places. In 2019, it organized two training courses at Les Pensières Center for Global Health (Annecy – France), which focused on topics related to the strategic activities of bioMérieux. The Company lent its support, and employees took part in these two courses:
- 1st Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Course: A One Health Challenge, afive-day course on AMR, developed in partnership with the University Paris-Diderot;
- 10th anniversary of ACDx. The Advanced Course on Diagnostics is a one-week intensive course developed in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
Thanks to the Christophe Mérieux Prize, the Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux allows a high-quality local research and helps researchers to work permanently in their countries.
Dr. Maryline Bonnet received the 2019 Christophe Mérieux Prize for her research on tuberculosis in developing countries. Dr. Bonnet, an epidemiologist and pulmonologist, is research director at the TransVIHMI Unit of IRD, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development. Since 2014 she has been working in Mbarara, Uganda, where she conducts several research projects on tuberculosis and HIV.