Saturday February 23, 2019

Chinese scientists develop Ebola vaccine; new drug found safe in early human trials

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Scientist of the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and the Tianjin Can Sino Biotechnology, have developed a new Ebola virus vaccine which will have lasting immunity. This vaccine has been found to be safe in the first phase, one trial based on the 2014 strain of the virus.

Until now, all tested Ebola virus vaccines have been based on the virus strain from the Zaire outbreak in 1976.

“On the basis of our findings, we believe that the Ebola vaccine we assessed has some potential,” said researcher Fengcai Zhu from the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Prevention and Control in China.

“A significant advantage of this type of vaccine is that stable and much easier to store or transport in tropical areas with inadequate cold-chain capacity, such as Africa,” Zhu added.

For the trial, 120 healthy Chinese adults were randomly assigned in equal numbers to receive placebo, a low dose, or high dose of the vaccine.

The researchers found that 28 days after vaccination, 38 out of 40 participants in the low-dose group and all 40 of those in the high-dose group had a positive immune response to the vaccine, with participants in the high-dose group producing higher quantities of antibodies than those in the low-dose group.

However, the researchers are not sure if this vaccine will be the perfect vaccine to fight Ebola virus.
“Whether this candidate vaccine could become a final vaccine for widespread use against Ebola outbreaks is still uncertain, because of the issues of HIV-1 acquisition rates and the pre-existing immunity, especially in west Africa,” Zhu noted.

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Thrill of 27th Annual Pan African Festival

One of the main goals of the festival is to create dialogue and education through film and the arts.

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Linus has used the power of the media to bring awareness to child marriage, which affects girls around the world. Pixabay

More than 100 artisans and 170 films from around the world are being showcased at the 27th Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival in Los Angeles.

The multiday event in the largely African American neighborhood of Baldwin Hills aims to connect Africans to people of African descent from around the world.

“As a result of the slave trade and colonization, African people are spread all over the planet, so we get a chance through this festival, get a chance to know each other,” said the festival’s executive director, Ayuko Babu.

Film, fine art, fashion and jewelry with Africa as inspiration are all featured at the festival.

“I never think of us as African American. I think of us as Africans in America, and in coming from that perspective, the ancestral lineage of art and Africa is beyond belief,” said jewelry artist Henry Baba Osageyfo Colby of Timbuktu Art Colony.

FILE - Nigerian filmmaker and actress Stephanie Okereke Linus poses for a photograph during a ceremony to unveil her as the UNFPA Regional Ambassador for Maternal Health in West and Central Africa in Lagos, Nigeria, March 8, 2017.
Nigerian filmmaker and actress Stephanie Okereke Linus poses for a photograph during a ceremony to unveil her as the UNFPA Regional Ambassador for Maternal Health in West and Central Africa in Lagos, Nigeria, March 8, 2017. VOA

Film festival

Filmmakers from around the world, such as Nigerian director and actress Stephanie Linus, also attended the festival.

“Connecting all of us to film that is especially about us and we can see a reflection of ourselves and tell our stories and get a better understanding about where I’m coming from,” said Linus, who presented her movie, Dry, at the festival.

The film is about child marriage and the devastating effects of the practice. It is a social issue in Nigeria that surprised Linus when she first learned about it while attending college.

“I’m like, ‘Oh my God, can you believe that we’re living in the same country? We’re having two totally different experiences.’ We in the south (of Nigeria) are able to go to school, have an education, decide what happens to our bodies, and there’s some people up in the north where they don’t even have those choices.”

Linus has used the power of the media to bring awareness to child marriage, which affects girls around the world.

“I’m happy that people have taken proactive action because we screened the movie in Gambia and a month later, the government banned child marriage in Gambia,” Linus said.

Dialogue and education

One of the main goals of the festival is to create dialogue and education through film and the arts.

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“We know there’s profound things happening around the black world, and so this is a way to amplify that make people pay attention,” Babu said.

This year’s festival opened Feb. 7 and runs through Feb. 18. (VOA)