Press Release

Institut Pasteur Korea commends, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove and Prof. Malik Peiris, on the completion of their successful WHO mission on the MERS-CoV Korea Outbreak.


Pangyo, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea, June 26, 2015 - Institut Pasteur Korea is pleased to report the participation of two Pasteurian colleagues in the recent WHO mission to the Republic of Korea to help with the MERS-CoV outbreak, which has hit the country since May. Dr. Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist, is the head of the Outbreak Investigation Task Force and a member of the Center for Global Health based at the Institut Pasteur Paris, France. Prof. Peiris, a clinical and public health virologist, is the director of the Hong Kong University-Pasteur Research Pole and holds the Tam Wah-Ching professorship in Medical Science. They both offered technical assistance and expertise during this important mission.


Dr. Ji-Young Min, Head of the Respiratory Viruses Research Laboratory at Institut Pasteur Korea and an expert on respiratory viruses commented “Emerging infectious diseases represent an ongoing global threat to public health. Over the last few decades, there has been several outbreaks, which have taken the community by surprise including SARS, H1N1, Ebola, and now MERS-CoV. Our current understanding of some of these viruses is very limited, unfortunately. Any emerging new disease will develop and infect faster than we will ever be able to control and treat it. I am very pleased to see Maria and Malik providing their expertise to such a well coordinated WHO mission to promote prevention and control of the current MERS-CoV outbreak".


Prof. Christian Bréchot, president of the Institut Pasteur Paris said "The missions in the Republic of Korea of Dr. Van Kerkhove and Prof. Peiris, as well as the commitment of the Institut Pasteur Korea, headed by Dr. Hakim Djaballah, illustrate the impact of the Pasteur Center for Global Health (with the creation of an Outbreak Investigation Task Force) and the International Network of the Institut Pasteur. The Institut Pasteur will collaborate with the Korean authorities and the WHO to fight against this major threat".


Dr. Hakim Djaballah, CEO of Institut Pasteur Korea and the elected representative of the Institut Pasteur for the Asia-Pacific region added "In the spirit of Dr. Louis Pasteur, I am very happy to see many of our passionate Pasteurian colleagues helping out around the world, well within the Global Public Health vision set by our president Christian Bréchot; together we can fight disease as it knows no boundaries and viruses usually do not need an invitation to attack, and when they do, a whole nation and its neighboring countries face vulnerability especially when there is no cure".


Institut Pasteur Korea is a member of the Institut Pasteur International Network which brings together 33 institutes located in 26 countries, united by the same mission, culture, and values. Leveraging vast human and scientific community, the Network is involved in international research projects, public health, teaching and training programs. By its diversity and global presence, the Institut Pasteur International Network aims to respond, in an innovative way, to international public health issues and priorities.