UN asks for additional 58 million to help exfighters in Liberia

The additional funds are on top of the $30 million already received or pledged to the rehabilitation and reintegration phase of a plan to help former combatants in Liberia’s 14-year civil war, UNDP said.Some 20,035 ex-fighters already have been through the “RR” portion of the three-year-long Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) programme, but UNDP warned that another 47,025 ex-combatants are at risk of missing the last two phases because of the lack of financing.As of the formal end of demobilization activities on 31 October, a total of 95,615 former combatants have been disarmed and demobilized, including 9,251 child soldiers and 17,147 women fighters.The additional caseload signalled an “unanticipated though welcome” desire of former fighters that have completed the demobilization phase of the DDRR programme, UNDP said in a news release.”Now as greater numbers of former combatants want to make their way homeward to reclaim their lives and take up new livelihoods, the international community must help widen the critical safety net it has put into place, to hedge against reverses to conflict and to plant the seeds of a peaceful and prosperous Liberia,” it said.Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his latest report to the Security Council on Liberia, warned that the ex-combatants “constitute a highly volatile group of unemployed youth with little or no education or job skills, for whom the provision of training, education and work opportunities is urgently needed.” read more

Read More »

Experimental Zika vaccine to begin human testing

Experimental Zika vaccine to begin human testing WASHINGTON – An experimental vaccine for the Zika virus is due to begin human testing in coming weeks, after getting the green light from U.S. health officials.Inovio Pharmaceuticals said Monday it received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to begin early-stage safety tests of its DNA-based vaccine against the mosquito-borne virus. That puts the company ahead of researchers at the National Institutes of Health, who have said they expect to begin testing their own DNA-based Zika vaccine by early fall.Inovio’s vaccine is intended to prime the immune system to fight Zika by introducing genetically-engineered material that mimics the virus. Inovio reports that animals tested with the vaccine developed antibodies and immune-system cells that attack Zika.The NIH is working to develop a Zika vaccine by swapping out the genetic material from its experimental West Nile virus vaccine.Inovio and its partner, GeneOne Life Science, plan to begin a 40-person study to determine the safest dose of the vaccine in coming weeks. Company officials said they expect results from the vaccine study by the end of 2016.There are currently no licensed drugs or vaccines for Zika.Ultimately, confirming the safety and effectiveness of any Zika virus will require large studies, and how fast those could be done depends in part on whether Zika still is spreading widely in 2017.Zika is spread mainly through the bite of a tropical mosquito, Aedes aegypti. It causes only a mild and brief illness, at worst, in most people. But it can cause fetal deaths and severe birth defects in the children of women infected during pregnancy.Zika has become epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean since last fall. Officials aren’t expecting big outbreaks in the continental U.S., but some cases are likely as temperatures rise and mosquitoes spread.Shares of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania-based Inovio jumped 29 cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $10.76 in midday trading Monday. by Matthew Perrone, The Associated Press Posted Jun 20, 2016 9:08 am MDT Last Updated Jun 20, 2016 at 10:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Read More »