Sunday October 21, 2018
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Nitish Kumar to launch signature drive over PM’s DNA remark

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Patna: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to comply with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s request to take back his “DNA” remark, the Janata Dal-United leader on Monday announced he would launch a ‘Shabdwapsi’ drive to protest the remark.  Nitish_Kumar_(cropped)

The drive, meant to protest the prime minister’s July 25 remark about Nitish Kumar’s DNA, is scheduled to commence on Tuesday (August 11) with sit-ins across Bihar. It will collect signatures of 50 lakh people and send their blood samples to Modi for a DNA test.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) spokesperson Ajay Alok said the party would stage sit-ins across the state on the issue on Tuesday and hold a ‘Swabhiman’ rally on Aug 29 here.

Nitish Kumar recently tweeted: “In this shabdwapsi (take back your words) campaign, at least 50 lakh people of Bihar will join a signature campaign and send their samples to Modiji for a DNA test”.

The participants will offer samples of their DNA and sign a petition saying that the prime minister’s comments crossed the line.

“PM Modi hasn’t retracted his derogatory remarks on our DNA, we’ll take the battle to people now,” Nitish Kumar said.

Alok said the rally would be jointly addressed by Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad.

“It will kickstart the joint rally campaign by the grand alliance of JD-U, RJD, Congress and National Congress Party to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance ahead of next assembly polls,” he said.

Modi, who addressed a rally in Gaya on Sunday, did not respond to Nitish Kumar’s request to consider taking back comments on his DNA. “Neither had he mentioned it nor did he counter it. He simply ignored it,” a senior BJP leader said.

Last week, in a letter released on Twitter, Nitish Kumar said: “Most of us feel that these statements, beyond questioning my own descent, have disrespected the lineage of our people and have denigrated the great legacy of the state.”

Addressing a public meeting in Muzaffarpur district on July 25, Modi said: “There seems to be some problem in his (Nitish Kumar) DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that. In democracy, you give respect even to your political rivals.”

(IANS)

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Novel Synthetic DNA Vaccines Safe To Use Against Ebola: Scientists

While there are no licensed treatments available for Ebola virus disease yet, multiple experimental therapies are being developed.

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Ebola, UNICEF. congo, DNA
A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a woman who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have found that the novel synthetic DNA vaccine is safe against Ebola virus and offers a long-term alternative to traditional vaccines.

The team, from The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, US, optimised a shorter, dose-sparing, immunisation regimen and simplified vaccine that can be directly administered into the skin. They targeted a virus surface protein called glycoprotein.

This new approach induced rapid and protective immunity from virus challenges.

Importantly, the approach showed strong immune responses one year after the last dose, supporting the long-term immunogenicity of the vaccine — a particularly challenging area for Ebola vaccines.

Ebola, UNICEF. congo, DNA
A boy runs past a dispenser containing water mixed with disinfectant, east of Mbandaka, DRC. VOA

“Synthetic non-viral based DNA technology allows for rapid vaccine development by delivery directly into the skin, resulting in consistent, potent and rapid immunity compared to traditional vaccine approaches,” said lead researcher David B. Weiner, Director of Wistar’s Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center.

“An anti-Ebola virus DNA vaccine like this may provide an important new tool for protection, and we are excited to see what future studies will unveil,” he added.

In the study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, the team detected antibody levels were equal or higher to those reported for other vaccines currently being evaluated in the clinic.

“The success of intradermal delivery of a low-dose regimen is very encouraging,” said Ami Patel, Ph.D., associate staff scientist in the Weiner Lab. “The ultimate goal of our work is to create effective and safe vaccines that are optimised for field use in at-risk areas.”

Ebola, UNICEF. congo, DNA
Photo taken Sept 9, 2018, shows health workers walking with a boy suspected of having the Ebola virus at an Ebola treatment centre in Beni, Eastern Congo. VOA

Ebola virus disease is a serious and often fatal illness that can cause fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and haemorrhage (severe bleeding).

First discovered in humans in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the largest outbreak occurred in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, which claimed more than 11,000 lives, according to the World Health Organization.

Also Read: Ebola Increases The Number of Orphans in DRC: UNICEF

The death rate is about 50 per cent and the virus is spread by contact with contaminated body fluids, including blood and semen.

While there are no licensed treatments available for Ebola virus disease yet, multiple experimental therapies are being developed. (IANS)