Happy retirement Dr Brochier!

♦ 01 September 2018 ♦

[Text from F. Cliquet during 10th workshop for rabies]

Following this presentation on the History and Activities in the Belgian rabies NRL, I would like to take few minutes to say with some emotion some words about one person from this laboratory, one person we appreciate a lot in our laboratory, a person who contributed in the eighties and nineties to the development of oral vaccines and methods for rabies control in fox populations in Europe. Dr Bernard Brochier, just after obtaining his DVM and PhD diplomas in 1981 started his career at the University of Liège as Head of the service dedicated to rabies and wildlife diseases. From 1997 to 2002, he continued his activities in rabies field at the Pasteur Institute of Brabant as the head of the NRL for rabies. As explained by Sanne, this institute was merged in 2003 to the Scientific Institute of Public Health which has been integrated recently to Sciensano. Bernard is still part of the Viral diseases service of this new institute. Bernard has become an international renowned scientist with more than 160 papers.

Bernard was one of the pioneers in the concept of oral vaccination of foxes in Europe and its first implementation in the field. He demonstrated that inactivated vaccines were not efficient for the oral route, and he was highly involved in the validation of oral vaccines, particularly the V-RG which was the unique vaccine used in Belgium. He developed the methods in the field on small then large scale areas to evaluate the bait uptake in young and adult fox populations, as well as safety, efficacy and quality controls of candidate oral vaccines. He succeeded to publish in the famous review Nature a paper showing the efficacy of the oral vaccination method on large scales areas in Belgium using a recombinant vaccine. Bernard largely contributed to rabies elimination in Belgium which was achieved in 2001. He worked also on many different viruses such as TBE, coronaviruses, hepatitis C and E, Influenza, BSE, Influenza, Puumala, and also on parasites particularly on Echinococcosis multilocularis but also on Toxocara, trichinellosis and toxoplasmosis. He was recently deeply involved in a study of the dynamics of European bat lyssaviruses in a selected colony of bats in which positive bats were recently diagnosed. As part of a larger study on the Epidemiology of TBEV in Belgium, Bernard is currently closely involved in experimental infection studies of locally captured wild rodents to better understand the virus kinetics in these reservoir hosts.

We are very sad, as Bernard will leave his group and all of us next September for his retirement, it will be the start of a second life for him and we wish you Bernard all the best for you and your close relatives! We will miss you, and we will remember you as a very friendly collaborator, thank you very much Bernard.