The "Collaborative Strategy for One Health Projects' Building" Symposium and the official launch of the PRESTO International Joint Laboratory (IJL) were held in Chiang Mai from May 22 to 24, 2023.

IJL PRESTO, "PRotect-dEtect-STOp", brings together researchers from France, Laos and Thailand from a variety of disciplines (Social Sciences, Public Health, Human Virology, Ecology, Environment...). The main objective of the IJL PRESTO is to prevent and combat emerging infectious diseases in the Greater Mekong region, and to contribute to strengthening One Health research capacities in the region.

LMI PRESTO researchers exchange views. Here, a comment by Dr. Marco Haenssgen, CMU.

© Guillaume Marchand

The aim of this first meeting was to bring together all PRESTO partners to exchange expertise, knowledge and needs, as well as to discuss new research prospects between Thailand and Laos.

Participants were welcomed by Assist. Prof. Ratchada Cressey, Vice-Dean for International Relations and Research at Chiang Mai University's Faculty of Associate Medical Sciences. She recalled the partnership that has existed between IRD and the University for over 20 years. The Symposium "Collaborative strategy for the implementation of "One Health" projects" was then opened by Dr. Éric Deharo, IRD Representative in Laos, and Prof. Sakorn Pornprasert, Dean of the Faculty of Associate Medical Sciences at Chiang Mai University. They both expressed the need to develop interdisciplinary research and the important role of IJL PRESTO in the prevention and control of (re)emerging infectious diseases in the region.

Dr. Nicole Ngo-Giang-Huong, IJL Coordinator for IRD in Thailand, reported on the brainstorming meeting held with IJL partners in Thailand to discuss possible projects to be submitted in response to the ANR PEPR PREZODE call.

Dr. Vanina Guernier, IRD Eco-Epidemiologist, then presented other possible PREZODE funding opportunities and other donors.

Dr. Sabrina Locatelli, IJL Coordinator in Laos, and Assist. Prof. Woottichai Khamduang, IJL Coordinator at Chiang Mai University, then explained what IJL PRESTO is, its governance, how the laboratory is run, current projects and how PRESTO contributes to the development of partners' capacities.

On May 23, Dr. Julien Claude and Assoc. Prof. Kobporn Boonnak gave a keynote speech, followed by a presentation of the partners' activities. Partners were given the opportunity to express their needs and expectations of this new research network, in particular how to integrate the One Heath approach, which studies health from the human, animal and environmental angles, into their research projects.

At the end of three sessions on different themes led by experts in the field, time was set aside for exchanges with the audience.

Session themes:

  • Social sciences - environmental sustainability
  • Preservation of flora and fauna
  • Zoonosis research

Following these presentations, the participants were divided into two groups, each of which included all the expertise brought together, in order to come up with a research question relevant to all the members present.

The two questions chosen were used the following day to draft two concept notes with a view to responding to calls for projects.