This prize has been awarded annually since 2005 by a scientific jury composed of members of the Académie des Sciences as part of the “Grands Prix des Fondations de l’Institut de France”. He is promoted by the Christophe and Rodolphe Mérieux Foundation, and rewards scientists who have distinguished themselves in research on infectious diseases in developing countries.
Serge EHOLIE and Xavier ANGLARET received the award on behalf of two teams, one from Côte d’Ivoire (CERMIPA) and the other from France (UMR 1219 Inserm / University of Bordeaux). These two teams, brought together in an Associated International Laboratory (LIA) of Inserm, the University of Bordeaux, and the Félix Houphouët Boigny University in Abidjan, bring together prominent Ivorian and French personalities Roger Salamon, Auguste Kadio, Thérèse N’Dri-Yoman, François Dabis, Marguerite Timite-Konan, Valeriane Leroy, Christine Danel and more than a hundred other members). They have been working since 1996 under the joint supervision of the National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS, France), the Ivorian Ministry of Health and Research, Inserm, University of Bordeaux. The missions of this joint program are to: (i) conduct research on infectious diseases, to improve the health of populations; (Ii) train young people in medical research. In 21 years, this program has conducted 83 major studies, published 438 scientific articles, trained 80 researchers in Master and 30 in science thesis, and gave birth to two major health centers in Abidjan, in which thousands of people are currently attended. The studies carried out were at the origin of turning points in the WHO’s international recommendations concerning the prevention of “opportunistic infections” (Cotrimo-CI test ANRS 059, Lancet 1999), prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (Ditrame ANRS 049, Lancet 1999), and universal antiretroviral therapy (Temprano ANRS 12136, N Engl J Med 2015). In 2014, thanks to their experience in clinical research, these teams were among the few global teams able to mobilize rapidly to conduct therapeutic trials on the disease in Ebola, Guinea (Jiki INSERM, PLOS MED 2015, Prevail II INSERM / NIH, N Engl J Med 2016).
This bi-national partnership, on a par with the partners, in the long term, in the permanent adaptation which encourages innovation, and with the institutional support of the two countries, gives great strength to Ivorian and French research in the landscape of International research on infectious diseases.