The action proposed by France through the ISTC (International Science and Technology Center in Moscow) aims to set up effective tools to combat the threat of bioterrorism (using pathogenic agents to cause harm). The action taken forms part of programs to redirect the employment of scientists and is fostering direct partnerships between French and Russian laboratories. These scientific collaborations are leading to concrete initiatives to prepare for the development of new therapeutic molecules and new diagnosis and environmental surveillance tools, mainly in the fields of immunology, protein engineering, proteomics and genetics.
Four projects began in 2006 in these areas, with the laboratory in Obolensk (State Research Center for Applied Microbiology, SCRAM or SRCAM), the organic biochemistry institute in Moscow (Shemiakin and Ovchimiko Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry (IBCH), and the Vektor de Koltsovo laboratory (State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology). These projects involve French and Russian laboratories working together and will run for 3 to 4 years. Two projects were completed in 2009 and 2010. The rest will be completed by 2012 at the latest.
Russia's announced withdrawal from the ISTC. Agreement should have no impact on work completion.
In late 2009, France decided to pursue similar projects with laboratories in Georgia and Azerbaijan. These projects are currently being developed by the Ukraine Science and Technology Center in Kiev (USTC), in collaboration with the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi and the plague prevention center in Baku.