Thierry Lefrançois from CIRAD is the first veterinary surgeon to be appointed to the Covid-19 French Scientific Advisory Board.

Thierry Lefrançois, a veterinarian specializing in networks and integrated approaches to health at CIRAD, has just been appointed a member of the French Scientific Council on Covid-19. For the first time, a veterinarian joins the experts on this council, set up last March to help public decision-makers manage the health situation, reporting to the French Ministry of Health and Solidarity.

"Our public policies must fit concretely and completely into a One Health" / une seule Santé concept. To fight effectively against the emergence or spread of certain diseases, we need to take better account of the interactions between humans, animals and their environment" declared Julien Denormandie, French Minister of Agriculture and Food, on the announcement of the appointment of Thierry Lefrançois from CIRAD, the first veterinarian to join the Covid-19 Scientific Council. The appointment order was published on February 17 in the Journal Officiel.

Recent decades have been marked by health crises that have often highlighted the interdependence between animals, humans and ecosystems. Several zoonoses bear witness to this, such as rabies, avian and swine influenza, salmonellosis... and of course Covid-19. Preserving biodiversity and ensuring the biosecurity of animal production systems, using a global health approach, can help prevent the appearance and spread of these diseases.

This appointment is emblematic of our determination to decompartmentalize the three fields of animal, human and environmental health. " We have been implementing the One Health concept for over 10 years at CIRAD, using a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach, integrating all types of health", stresses Thierry Lefrançois, Director of CIRAD's Biological Systems Department, whose work focuses on living organisms and their diversity, from the genome to the socio-ecosystem.

Behind this appointment, it's not just a scientific personality who has been chosen, but a body of work, expertise and ability to lead international networks. " Veterinarians have extensive knowledge and experience of coronaviruses, epizootics, interspecies transmission, predictive epidemiology and multidisciplinary, multi-actor approaches to anticipating crises", explains Thierry Lefrançois. This know-how is applied to numerous diseases and CIRAD projects.

Express bio of Thierry Lefrançois

In his new role, Thierry Lefrançois intends to draw on a vast network of peers in France and abroad.

Chief Inspector of Veterinary Public Health, Thierry Lefrançois has been working at CIRAD for over twenty years on the diagnosis, epidemiology and control of tropical animal diseases. He has worked in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Guadeloupe. His research activities have focused on disease emergence and the development of interactions between research and surveillance within the framework of regional health networks in the South.

He currently heads CIRAD's Biological Systems Department, which groups together research units working in animal health, plant health, plant adaptations and biodiversity.

Currently a member of INRAE's Scientific Advisory Board, he has also served as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Toulouse National Veterinary School, member of the National Animal Health Epidemiosurveillance Committee (Cnesa), expert for the French AVIESAN alliance, for the French National Research Agency (ANR), and for the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).