Published 30 September 2011

The past


The Pasteur Institute of Brussels (PIB), initially called "Antirabies and Bacteriological Institute of Brabant ’, was founded on March 15, 1900 at the initiative of the Brabant Provincial Council. The direction of the Institute was entrusted to Dr. J. Bordet who, in 1919, received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his pioneering research on immunity. In 1903 Dr. J. Bordet obtained the authorization of Mrs. Louis Pasteur to call his institution "Institut Pasteur". The Institute was first called "Pasteur Institute of Brussels" and later "Pasteur Institute of Brabant".
The Pasteur Institute was successively run by the Professors Jules Bordet, Paul Bordet, Jacques Beumer, Frans De Meuter and Jean Content.
The research activities elaborated by the Pasteur Institute for nearly a century in various fields of medical microbiology and immunology, aimed to develop new drugs and vaccines for the prevention and treatment of viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases. Moreover, the PIB aimed, through innovation-oriented research, at a refinement of laboratory techniques for the diagnosis of infectious diseases.
On 1st of January 1995, the Pasteur Institute, because o the Saint-Michel agreements and the split of the Province of Brabant, was

transferred to the Federal Ministry of Public Health until 2008. In spite fierce protests from the Belgian and international scientific community for more than eight years, the Pasteur Institute was integrated, in 2003, as a department into the "Scientific Institute of public health (IPH) under the name "Pasteur Institute".

Because of its specific missions, its reputation, its glorious past and its international influence, the then Minister Council took in 2003 a number of measures with regard to the Belgian Pasteur Institute to preserve its name and to ensure its autonomy, its specific scientific activities, and its further development as a recognisable entity. These measures were criticized and challenged continuously by the administrative authorities and the direction of the IPH. An ultimate petition to save the Pasteur Institute, highly supported by the scientific community was launched on 16th of December 2007. However, this petition had to be early stopped. Indeed, on 20th of December 2007, a ministerial decision (published as a Royal Decree in the "Moniteur Belge - Belgisch Staatsblad" of 5th of February 2008) completely abolished the missions and the name of the Pasteur Institute.The existence of the Pasteur Institute in Belgium consequently came to a definitive end.