Laurent Dacheux is acting for more than 10 years as one of the deputy director of the National Reference Centre for Rabies (NRC-R). One of his main activities is to supervise the activities of rabies diagnosis in human and animal suspected of rabies transmission to humans, and the serological survey of vaccinated patients, both in a high level quality assurance environment. In the context of the other different public health missions assigned to the NRC-R, he is also in charge of developing and implementation of new techniques for the diagnosis of rabies.
As a permanent research engineer, he is also involved it the field research activities of the unit, which centers on studying the biology and ecology of lyssavirus-host relationships. The central aims of his research activities are:
- to decipher the mechanisms of the crossing of the species barrier of rabies virus, focusing at the level of the intrinsic diversity during infection, in natura, but also in vitro (primary brain and muscular cells) and in vivo using animal models representing primary hosts for rabies and based on successive experimental passages of infection,
- to analyse the spatiotemporal dynamics of rabies and lyssavirus in their primary hosts and in different settings, especially in enzootic countries such as in Africa,
- to re-evaluate the burden of rabies and the resulting potential consequences in terms of medical practice,
- to analyse the diversity and evolution of rhabdoviruses and more specifically of lyssaviruses in reservoir animals such as bats,
- to characterize unknown viruses involved in human encephalitis and specific animal host (e.g. bats) acting as major reservoir of emerging or re-emerging viral diseases, using high throughput detection assays such as microarrays and next generation sequencing for viral metagenomic approaches.