The Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) performed more than 600,000 rapid tests and PCR tests in 2021, the year in which Covid-19 reached its peak in Cambodia and many countries around the world.

The Institute had also conducted transformation studies on 2,000 virus samples to indentify new variants, according to a May 24 Ministry of Health press statement detailing the results of the IPC’s annual Permanent Liaison Council meeting.

The meeting brought together health experts and officials from the council, and included officials from the ministries of Economy and Finance; Education, Youth and Sport; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; the French embassy in Phnom Penh; the rector of the University of Health Sciences; and representatives from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, among others.

Also invited to the annual meeting were the Australian ambassador and senior staff of Calmette Hospital, Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital, Royal University of Phnom Penh, French Development Agency (AFD) and the World Bank.

“IPC is expanding its services to render them more widely available to the public through its medical laboratory and international vaccine centre, its treatment of rabies in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Kampong Cham provinces, as well as its work in food safety,” it said.

Without specifying the timeframe, the statement said IPC had treated more than 40,000 cases of rabies.

PIC director-general Stewart Cole said at the meeting that the institute is one of 10 that carry the banner of the Pasteur network in the Asia-Pacific region.

He said the institute shines throughout the region and beyond through its extensive expertise in infectious diseases, the many public health services it provides for the benefit of Cambodia, and its Cambodian and international teams. He also shared his appreciation for the excellent work the Kingdom had done in fighting against the pandemic.

“The fact that the Liaison Council can once again meet physically testifies to the effectiveness of the actions carried out by Cambodian authorities in the fight against the pandemic.

“However, we must remain vigilant because the resumption of activity also leads to an increase in the links between humans, animals and the environment. In this context, and while recognising the importance of cultivating the institute’s very varied international collaborations, it must also work more closely with national institutions, whether universities, hospitals or other local public health actors to always be as close as possible to the specificities and needs of Cambodia.

“In this – the year of the bicentenary of the birth of Louis Pasteur – and in view of the 70th anniversary of the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge next year, I wish to recall and affirm our commitment to serving the health of populations in Cambodia and beyond,” he said.

The IPC was established in December 1953 as a non-profit institution with the support from the health ministry. It is overseen by Paris-based Institut Pasteur on planning and technical aspects. Its operational system was set through an agreement between the Cambodian government the Paris-based Institut Pasteur in 1992.