The Louis Malardé Institute


Public Establishment of French Polynesia, the Louis Malardé Institute (ILM) was founded in 1947 through the initiative of a patron, W.A. Robinson, writer, seafarer and American naval engineer, based in Tahiti and moved by the devastation caused by lymphatic filariasis, which was affecting more than 80% of households.

First created to fight against this disease, the "Fare Mariri" became over the decades the Louis Malardé Institute, named after one of its first directors and first Tahitian doctor.

Today, ILM combines both analysis and research activities, aiming to contribute to the preservation of health, public health and natural environment of French Polynesia.

It also contributes to the enhancement of the Polynesian natural heritage in the prospect of a sustainable development of the local economy.

Robinson Louis Malarde 1                                    


   W. A. Robinson Dr Louis Malardé  




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      Research activities


The evolution of ILM’s research activities is closely linked to the evolution of diseases affecting the population: filariasis at the beginning, then extended to major communicable and endemic diseases (meningitis, dengue fever, tuberculosis, leprosy, sexually transmitted infections), to marine biotoxins, and more recently to emerging infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases.

Three themes currently structure the institute’s research field:

- Toxic microalgae;

- Emerging Infectious Diseases;

- Non-communicable diseases.




 Marine toxic microalgae


Established in 1967 following an episode of severe clams poisoning cases in Bora Bora, the research laboratory on toxic microalgae (LMT) focuses on the study of ciguatera fish poisoning, whose consequences affect French Polynesia’s populations highly dependent, on the food and economic level, of marine products.

This research is based on :

- The development of tools to detect, dangerous strains of Gambierdiscus microalgae, ciguateric toxins in the food web and of diagnostic in patients,

- Epidemiological monitoring of poisoning cases,

- Risk mapping of sensitive Polynesian lagoons and securing of the fishing industry,

- Study of environmental mechanisms underlying toxic algal blooms,

- Assessment of traditional medicines,

- Biomedical studies,

- Health monitoring.

They aim to endow French Polynesia with a surveillance network in order to enhance the management of poisoning risks and to promote lagoons resources, with a view towards sustainable development.

With its rewarded and internationally acknowledged experience, LMT’s research activities are involved in several national and regional collaborative networks with regards to the marine biotoxins topic.




 Emerging Infectious Diseases


Research activities and monitoring of infectious diseases of an epidemic risk in French Polynesia are, since 2012, gathered within the emerging infectious diseases research and surveillance unit (PMIE).

The unit combines three types of inter-dependent activities:

- Medical diagnostic from samples coming from the 5 archipelagos. This wide recruitment allows the Institute to be a Polynesians health observatory,

- Health monitoring: ILM monitors endemic infectious diseases (dengue fever, filariasis, influenza, leptospirosis, tuberculosis ...), chronic diseases (HIV, hepatitis B), as well as C. trachomatis infections and emerging pathogens (Chikungunya, Zika, Ross River, West Nile viruses ...),

-  Medical and entomological research: this research aims to improve knowledge on arboviruses (filariasis, dengue fever ...) and their vectors (Aedes mosquitoes), to develop diagnostic tools and innovative, sustainable and environmentally friendly vector control techniques,

Together, these competences are an effective tool for the prevention and management of epidemic alerts.



 Non-Communicable Diseases


Since 2007, the non communicable diseases research unit (LMNT) studies the origin, nature and evolution of so-called "civilization" diseases in French Polynesia (obesity, cardiovascular, endocrine or metabolic diseases, cancer, environment related diseases…).

This understanding contributes to lay the foundation for an adapted prevention policy regarding these diseases whose impact is increasing. LMNT is structured around four research areas:

- Food transition;

- Evaluation of methylmercury impregnation and health consequences;

- Study of endocrine and metabolic diseases;

- Evaluation of plant protection products impregnation and health consequences.

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      Healthcare services

 Biomedical analysis

ILM’s activity is, since 1950, based on the Diagnosis laboratory (LABM). The laboratory ensures a public mission:

- It performs medical examinations for public health structures of the five archipelagos, and is involved in health monitoring.

LABM also conducts medical examinations for private prescribers.

A multipurpose laboratory, LABM has developed specialized skills, through strong interaction with research laboratories (filariasis, dengue fever, Zika virus, tuberculosis, influenza, HIV, hepatitis B, Chikungunya virus, West Nile virus ...).

Its volume of activity, its scope of action across French Polynesia and its involvement in prevention programs emphasize its role as a key player of French Polynesia’s health system.

LABM is classified as a level 2 (L2) laboratory within the Pacific public health monitoring network and is able to provide support to other laboratories in the Pacific region.



 Water, food and industrial products analysis

The laboratory for water and food safety (LASEA) was created in 1999 with the aim to provide French Polynesia’s control services with an efficient analysis tool in the health, environmental and industrial sectors. LASEA gradually adapted its services to the requirements of private companies.

It performs water, food products as well as industrial and cosmetic products controls. The laboratory has recently widened its services to the detection of pesticides and analysis related to fraud and customs controls.

From its inception, LASEA has set quality as a requirement. Since 2004, the laboratory has received accreditation from the French Accreditation Committee (COFRAC).



 Biomedical distribution

The biomedical distribution center (DBM) manages a business activity (sales of human vaccines, laboratory reagents, allergy desensitization and veterinary products).

DBM is the exclusive distributor of Biorad and Stallergènes products in French Polynesia, it is also a privileged partner of Sanofi Pasteur for nearly 30 years.

Its main clients are public health sector, pharmaceutical distributors, veterinary clinics and French Polynesia’s hospital.

DBM is particularly specialized in the distribution of refrigerated products. Rigorous cold chain compliance is guaranteed by traceability of the transport and storage conditions.

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Get more information about the  Louis Malardé Institute (Fr)


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