July 25, 2021

From Ebola to Covid-19, Denis Malvy, the infectious disease specialist who has faith

“You take someone who is quite exceptional, I haven’t seen a lot of that in my career. Besides, when I try to find a second one, I have a little more trouble, it’s really a character. ” Yann Bubien, Director General of Bordeaux University Hospital, immediately sets the scene when asked about Denis Malvy. At 63, the infectious disease specialist and head of the tropical diseases unit of the CHU is the Covid-19 reference par excellence in Bordeaux.

During the more than three-hour interview that ended in the hospital cafeteria, her cell phone rang several times. Its expertise is in demand, since “warning signs” had been spotted, particularly in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and in Occitanie, with a reproduction rate which went back above 1.

But the infectious disease specialist does not let himself be won over by fear. “We went through this every time we came out of deconfinement. The virus is still there, we just give it the means to re-express itself through gatherings of a non-immune population as long as it is not vaccinated. ”

Passionate about music

Researcher at Inserm and member of the scientific council around Macron, Denis Malvy reassures, always, with his calm and calm voice. These are the words that resonate with those we question. “In these difficult times, I find his words reassuring. Moreover, it is the most reassuring word of all that we have heard for a year and a half “, confides Marc Minkowski, director of the Opéra de Bordeaux.

The two men met within the framework of health protocols to be put in place within the cultural institution. It must be said that the two places are closely linked, the majestic Bordeaux opera house belonging to the Hospices de Bordeaux since Napoleon.

Denis Malvy is also passionate about music. “He is interesting as an honest man of the XVIIIe century, continues Yann Bubien, who does not hide the close links he has forged with the scientist. He has vast medical knowledge, but also theological, philosophical … We see that he is not just a scholar, but that he has a deep understanding of things. “

A link with Africa

The doctor gladly recites the Senegalese poet Birago Diop – “Listen more often / Things than Beings / The Voice of Fire can be heard / Hear the Voice of Water / Listening in the Wind / The Bush in tears / It is the Breath of the ancestors” –, by remembering Africa, for which he retains a special link. “In 1994, I went to Goma, on the side of the Democratic Republic of Congo, opposite Rwanda, as a humanitarian aid worker. I had participated in the care of populations who had left the border town and who were arriving en masse at the time of the genocide. Then I found myself at the forefront of the response in Guinea for Ebola in 2014, and in North Kivu in the Great Lakes region from 2018 ”, he remembers.

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