Virology and pathogen discovery 2023

Head of Lab:  To be Appointed

From the left : Longthor, Phaithong, Somphavanh, Chittaphone

The main objective of the laboratory is to engage in scientific research and enhance the capacity of researchers in the field of virology and pathogen discovery. This effort is aimed at achieving a deeper understanding of both known and unknown viruses and their impact on humans, animals, and the environment. The ultimate goal is to mitigate the risk of potential pandemics in the future.

Executive summary

Following the foundational work during the pilot phase (2021 – 2022), the full scale of the project ‘Reinforced Collaboration for the Investigation and Response to Emerging Viral Pathogens of Security Concern’ has continued with a collaborative partnership between the Institut Pasteur du Laos (IPL) in Laos and the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Canada, funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The primary focus of the project is to build and enhance sustainable local capacity in Laos to conduct scientific research on putative emerging viral pathogens with the highest level of biosafety and biosecurity.

Highlights of the project implementation:

Biosafety and biosecurity: IPL has successfully recruited and appointed a biosafety/biosecurity officer (BSO), leading to improved biosafety levels both in the field and in the laboratory.

Training and mentoring: Three on-site visits by Canadian counterparts (NML) have been performed to provide training on field biosafety, sequencing and bioinformatics, and necropsy. Also, two Lao scientists have visited Canada to obtain extensive training on biosafety/biosecurity and bat taxonomy.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Three existing SOPs were revised/improved and three new SOPs were created:
SOPs reviewed/amended: field collection campaigns, nucleic acid extraction of samples, and the pan-coronavirus screening assay.
SOPs created: pan-filovirus screening assays, panhantavirus screening assays, pan-paramyxovirus screening assays.

Plain language summary

In recent decades, Southeast Asia has faced outbreaks caused by viruses, like SARS, avian flu, and Covid-19. Laos, facing resource limitations, has encountered challenges in detecting these diseases. To tackle this issue, IPL has partnered with international and local organizations to launch a project with several key objectives. The project aims to enhance Laos’ ability to spot dangerous viruses, educate local scientists and communities about viruses transmitted by animals, improve the safety of practices in the laboratory and in the field during animal captures, strengthen virus detection, and reduce the risk of these diseases to spread locally and globally. In summary, this project is to work together to keep people safe and to reduce the risks of future epidemics or pandemics.


Dr. Somphavanh Somlor, MD
Dr. Chittaphone Vanhnollat, MD, PhD

Laboratory technician
Mrs. Phaithong Bounmany
Mr. Longthor Vachouaxiong

Project carried on in the lab:

+Reinforced Collaboration for the Investigation and Response to Emerging Viral Pathogens of Security Concern.