Daily Archives: February 1, 2019

Cameroon’s Arrested Opposition Leader Begins Hunger Strike

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON � Cameroon’s arrested opposition leader Maurice Kamto and 29 of his imprisoned supporters started a hunger strike a day after being told they will face eight charges amounting to treason. If found guilty, they could face the death penalty.

Christopher Ndong, secretary-general of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, said Friday that the strikers aim to show that President Paul Biya’s re-election to a seventh term in October was a stolen victory.

“Kamto wants that this government should give way because they are not legitimate after the 7th of October 2018 polls,” Ndong said. “He won the election and he wants that they should honestly hand down power without shame, because he is saying if they think that what he declared as a winner is false, let us go back and do a recount.”

The opposition’s calls for a recount of the October vote are likely to fall on deaf ears.

Biya is Africa’s second-longest ruling leader � in power for 36 years � and his government has shown little tolerance for opposition.

Police arrested Kamto and nine party officials Monday after days of peaceful protest in Yaounde and three other cities ended in clashes.

Government spokesman Rene Emmanuel Sadi said police shot and wounded seven protesters and arrested 117. Opposition supporters put the number of arrests at more than 200.

Kamto and his colleagues are now facing eight charges, including treason, inciting violence, and disruption of public peace.

Cameroon Bar Council lawyer Mujem Fombad says the men could be facing the death penalty.

“Article 102 of the penal code sanctions hostility against the fatherland. Any citizen, any citizen taking part in hostility against the republic shall be guilty with treason and punished with death,” Fombad said.

Opposition supporters also stormed Cameroon’s embassies in Paris and Berlin on Saturday.

Minor damage and stolen documents were reported at the Paris embassy, which was temporarily closed.

In Yaounde, authorities summoned the French ambassador to demand that protesters who stormed the embassy be extradited to face charges.

Rights group Amnesty International has called on Cameroon to release all peaceful protesters, including Kamto.

Source: Voice of America

US Researchers Look for Long-Lasting Ebola Vaccine

South Sudan is vaccinating health workers against Ebola in case the virus crosses the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ebola has stricken more than 700 people in the DRC and killed more than 400. The World Health Organization said the death rate is 59 percent.

Half a world away in Ohio, U.S. researchers are racing to develop a new, long-lasting vaccine against Ebola. At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Paul Spearman is leading a clinical trial that tests two experimental Ebola vaccines.

“Researchers are looking for new ways to stop these outbreaks and to treat people who become infected and develop Ebola virus disease. The development of preventive vaccines for Ebola is a top global public health priority,” said Spearman, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Cincinnati Children’s and the lead investigator in the trial.

Volunteers first receive one of the vaccines. A week later, they get the other one. Spearman said this one-two shot is promising and could provide rapid protection against Ebola.

These are weakened live-vector vaccines that cannot grow in human cells, but they produce strong immune responses to Ebola virus proteins.

Karnail Singh, Ph.D., also at Cincinnati Children’s, heads the program that tests volunteers’ blood samples. The researchers test the samples collected before the volunteers are injected with the experimental vaccines and again afterward.

Singh said that way, researchers can compare the samples and see if the vaccines provide immunity. The researchers also plan to take blood samples six months after the first two injections. If the vaccine is still effective, they hope to repeat the process six months later. These intensive lab studies and the rapid prime-boost schedule have not been done before in developing a vaccine against Ebola.

In Congo, health workers are using a vaccine developed during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that raged from 2013 until 2016. It protects the Zaire strain of Ebola circulating in Congo. But there are two other deadly strains of Ebola. Health officials want vaccines that protect against all of them.

The vaccine being tested at Cincinnati Children’s has not yet been compared to the one being used in Congo, but it may protect against at least one other strain of Ebola. The goal is to produce a vaccine that is safe, effective and long-lasting.

The researchers in Cincinnati hope their work will improve the understanding of how to build immunity to other viruses or bacteria that can cause disease.

Source: Voice of America

US Researchers Look for Long-Lasting Ebola Vaccine

South Sudan is vaccinating health workers against Ebola in case the virus crosses the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ebola has stricken more than 700 people in the DRC and killed more than 400. The World Health Organization said the death rate is 59 percent.

Half a world away in Ohio, U.S. researchers are racing to develop a new, long-lasting vaccine against Ebola. At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Paul Spearman is leading a clinical trial that tests two experimental Ebola vaccines.

“Researchers are looking for new ways to stop these outbreaks and to treat people who become infected and develop Ebola virus disease. The development of preventive vaccines for Ebola is a top global public health priority,” said Spearman, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Cincinnati Children’s and the lead investigator in the trial.

Volunteers first receive one of the vaccines. A week later, they get the other one. Spearman said this one-two shot is promising and could provide rapid protection against Ebola.

These are weakened live-vector vaccines that cannot grow in human cells, but they produce strong immune responses to Ebola virus proteins.

Karnail Singh, Ph.D., also at Cincinnati Children’s, heads the program that tests volunteers’ blood samples. The researchers test the samples collected before the volunteers are injected with the experimental vaccines and again afterward.

Singh said that way, researchers can compare the samples and see if the vaccines provide immunity. The researchers also plan to take blood samples six months after the first two injections. If the vaccine is still effective, they hope to repeat the process six months later. These intensive lab studies and the rapid prime-boost schedule have not been done before in developing a vaccine against Ebola.

In Congo, health workers are using a vaccine developed during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that raged from 2013 until 2016. It protects the Zaire strain of Ebola circulating in Congo. But there are two other deadly strains of Ebola. Health officials want vaccines that protect against all of them.

The vaccine being tested at Cincinnati Children’s has not yet been compared to the one being used in Congo, but it may protect against at least one other strain of Ebola. The goal is to produce a vaccine that is safe, effective and long-lasting.

The researchers in Cincinnati hope their work will improve the understanding of how to build immunity to other viruses or bacteria that can cause disease.

Source: Voice of America