Brigitte Autran at the head of the “new” scientific council

The announcement, discreet, takes a few lines to Official newspaper Wednesday, August 17. “Ms. Brigitte Autran has been appointed chair of the committee for monitoring and anticipating health risks. » With these words, the immunologist therefore takes the lead of this new body which succeeds the scientific council, created two years ago to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Chaired by Jean-François Delfraissy, it ceased to exist at the end of July with the end of the state of health emergency.

Specialist in immunology and vaccines

Brigitte Autran is a personality much less publicized than her counterpart in the scientific council. Emeritus Professor of Immunology at the Faculty of Medicine Sorbonne University in Paris, she also headed the Department of Immunology at Pitié-Salpêtrière for several years.

Internationally recognized for her work on HIV, she was the first intern in France to be confronted with a patient with AIDS in 1981. An episode that guided her career, since she specialized in the immunology of viruses, and in particular HIV. It confirms in particular, in the 1990s, the contributions of triple therapy to treat patients suffering from this disease.

Brigitte Autran has also worked on therapeutic anti-HIV vaccines. She is part of the team of researchers who announced the discovery, in January 2013, of a vaccine temporarily slowing the progression of AIDS. At the same time, she was a member of several working groups, such as the technical committee on vaccinations or, more recently, the orientation council for the vaccine strategy against Covid-19.

So many experiences that give him “all the qualities required to coordinate this future committee”Judge Odile Launay, infectious disease specialist, who worked with Brigitte Autran, in particular in the field of vaccine research and on the Covid-19 vaccine scientific committee (one of the four committees supporting the vaccine strategy orientation council). “She has a lot of experience at the fundamental level and in research and has a perspective on the various health crises. In addition, she is used to coordinating groups. »

A committee made up of 19 members

The body of which she takes the presidency, created on August 1 by decree, “will exercise a role of expertise and advice independent of the health authorities”, the government said in a statement. It will be made up of sixteen leading scientists and health professionals, a patient representative and a citizen representative, who should be chosen by Brigitte Autran by the start of the school year.

This assembly, unlike the scientific council, will not be confined to monitoring the risks concerning Covid-19. It will also assess those who are “related to infectious agents affecting humans and animals, environmental and food pollutants, and climate change”according to the government.

This global vision of health is essential, explains Brigitte Autran in an interview with Parisian : “Man shares the planet with other living beings. Diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans, or vice versa, or even boomerang back from one to another. We have known this for a long time but without taking full measure of it. Today, public policies must take this fact into account. »

“Sustainable, transparent and independent”the committee that she will chair will be tasked with carrying out scientific monitoring, establishing recommendations when a health risk is looming or even issuing opinions on the measures envisaged by the public authorities in order to combat a crisis. sanitary.

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