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INRA Science with an Impact Award given to the Prion Task Force with Human Rezaei, Vincent Beringue, Jean-Luc Vilotte, Molecular Virology and Immunology Unit, INRA Jouy-en-Josas. © INRA, MAITRE Christophe

Pursuing the prion

Formed during the first “mad cow” crisis, the interdisciplinary “Prion Task Force” has spent the last 20 years studying an unconventional pathogen—the prion—that is capable of crossing the species barrier to infect humans. For their dedication in protecting human and animal health, the task force members have been given the 2018 INRA Science with an Impact Award.

By Nicole Ladet, translated by Jessica Pearce
Updated on 12/18/2018
Published on 12/10/2018

INRA prion specialists are focusing their efforts on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), other prion diseases (prionopathies) such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and the function of the normal (properly folded) prion protein, which remains a mystery. This work will require a significant investment. It will be crucial to train the next generation of researchers, who must be committed to long-term work: for certain studies, 10 years can be necessary to achieve a single publication because these diseases can take time to develop!