HealthWho is Brigitte Autran, the president of Covars, the committee that succeeds...

    Who is Brigitte Autran, the president of Covars, the committee that succeeds the Scientific Council?

    Who is Brigitte Autran, the president of Covars, the committee that succeeds the Scientific Council?

    The immunologist is particularly known for her work on AIDS. She took over as head of the Committee for monitoring and anticipating health risks, formally installed on Thursday 29 September.

    This name could well become known to the general public. New Committee for monitoring and anticipating health risks (Covars), a body presented as the successor to the Scientific Council, was formally installed on Thursday, headed by Brigitte Autran.

    This immunologist is particularly known for her work on the AIDS virus. She has thus worked on cellular immunity to HIV, on the immunological benefits of antiretroviral treatments and on therapeutic vaccines against HIV. Therapeutic vaccines do not protect against infection but help infected people fight disease by stimulating their immune system.

    Brigitte Autran is Emeritus Professor of Immunology at the Faculty of Medicine of the Sorbonne and headed the Department of Immunology at the Pitie-Salpetrière University Hospitals in Paris.

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    The doctor is not at her first committee. She co-founded and coordinated, from 2012 to 2019, the Corevac network, a consortium dedicated to vaccine research, and was a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Advisory Committee for Vaccine Safety. Brigitte Autran also sat on the Technical Committee for Vaccines of the Ministry of Health.

    “Being One Step Ahead”

    With the Health Risk Monitoring and Anticipation Committee, “the idea is to be one step ahead”, which involves, for example, “the immediate establishment of a task force of scientific expertise and the implementation of rapid recommendations”, explained Brigitte Autran to the Parisian in August.

    “Even if great efforts were made during the Covid, we know the French bureaucratic red tape which is penalizing for research”, added the doctor, promising to “try to help remove these dams”.

    The immunologist wants his committee to develop a so-called “global health” approach. This concept sees human health as closely connected to that of animals, plants but also the rest of the world. “Environmental and food pollutants” and global warming will therefore be fully taken into account in the Covars approach, the Ministry of Health said in a press release on Thursday.

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    “Diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans” and “we have known this for a long time but without taking full measure of it”, detailed Brigitte Autran at the Parisian.

    “Today, public policies must take this fact into account,” she said.

    18 members of Covars, appointed for two years

    In addition to Brigitte Autran, the Covars has 18 members, including 15 scientists or health professionals (12 men and three women). They are appointed for a period of two years, renewable once.

    Some alumni of the Scientific Council are part of it, including the virologist Bruno Lina, the infectiologist Denis Malvy or the modeler at the Institut Pasteur Simon Cauchemez.

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    The three women are also the three members who are not scientists or health professionals. Yvanie Caille, engineer in applied mathematics and founder of the association of patients with kidney disease Renaloo and Celine Offerle, head of the PACA branch of the French association for the fight against HIV Aides, will represent the patients. Veronique Loyer, director of volunteering at the Claude Pompidou Foundation, which helps the elderly, those suffering from chronic illnesses or with disabilities, will be the citizens’ representative.

    The scientific council was set up in March 2020 and responsible for giving its opinion on the state of the pandemic and the measures to be taken. This group of around thirty experts under the direction of immunologist Jean-Francois Delfraissy was replaced by Covars on July 31.

    Source: BFM TV

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