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Liberia’s Ebola Challenge and Opportunity: Research Toward a Vaccine

first_imgAs they used to say at Cuttington, when Walter Traub (now Dr. Gwenigale) was there, this is nothing short of “metaphysical” or “far-fetched.” But we at the Daily Observer strongly believe it is NOT: that it is decidedly DOABLE: Liberia should begin NOW the research toward finding a vaccine for Ebola.We admittedly do not have all the scientists in the world, but for starts, we have Dr. Gwenigale himself, Dr. Vuyu Golakai, a surgeon, Dr. Emmett Dennis, a microbiologist, Dr. Billy Johnson, a gynecologist and obstetrician with a PhD in Medicine, Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, Dr. Sam Brisbane, Dr. Abraham Borbor and Dr. Roseda Marshall, Dr.  Lily Sanvee; Dr. Bankole Jarrett, Dr. Kate Bryant and her scientific sister Tidi Bryant, all three of whom, though now retired, still can help with their contacts in the United States; Dr. Varney Freeman, a surgeon; Dr. Jerome Washington, a heart specialist, Dr. Juliette Phelps Maxwell, a surgeon, Dr. James Elliott, Dr. T.K. Slewion, Dr. Adama Sirleaf and Dr. Estrada Bernard II,  all practicing in the USA; and all the other Liberian scientists and medical doctors practicing around the world, especially in the USA and Europe.These, we think, are a good start.  Dr. Gwenigale and Dr. Bernice Dahn, Liberia’s Health and Social Welfare Minister and Chief Medical Officer, respectively, and Dr. Johnson, Chief Medical Officer at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, should lead the charge.  They should consult with all our scientists on the ground, convene a retreat and put on paper a basic research design and circulate it to their colleagues around the world.  All Liberian scientists, wherever they are, would be interested and could grab the idea and go running with it, making contacts with their fellow scientists wherever they are, to help research this deadly disease toward developing a vaccine against it.The scientists at the Liberia Institute for Tropical Medicine (LITM) in Charlesville, near Roberts International Airport, would be a good place to start. As we have always said, MONEY is NOT the problem.  Long before one cent is raised, people want to see a concrete and challenging IDEA whose time has come.  If they are convinced that it is a worthy cause, they will find the money.  We are positive that the few Liberians with money, such as Bill Morris, Benoni Urey and Emmanuel Shaw; and George Soros (Open Society), Bill Clinton and Tony Blair–friends of Ellen, all–and philanthropists Bill and Malinda Gates, the Amazon and Google people and so many other wealthy and good-hearted ones, would heartily embrace this idea and help support it.The three monied Liberians mentioned–Morris, Urey and Shaw—could begin by financing and hosting the first retreat–probably at Cuttington, Du Side Hospital or some other appropriate venue, and contribute the seed money to start this important project.  The Daily Observer would be happy to provide all the necessary publicity and promotion for the project idea.Others, seeing that we have cast our buckets where we are, would join in and help carry the idea forward.We pray that Drs. Gwenigale, Johnson, Dahn and all our other scientists on the ground would put aside whatever doubts and fears that may arise, embrace this idea and start the ball rolling.  As mentioned earlier, this idea is NOT far-fetched; it is decidedly DOABLE.Once we start, scientists in Guinea, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where Ebola started, will join in.Let us seize the initiative NOW, rather than wait for others to do what at least we can START doing for ourselves!Here, meanwhile, is an opportunity to develop a data base of ALL Liberian scientists in the USA, Europe and elsewhere who we are sure would welcome the idea to come forward and do something good for Africa.  We call upon Drs. Bryant, Jarrett, Washington and Phelps-Maxwell, Elliott, Slewion, Bernard II and Adama Sirleaf, all of whom are in the USA, to begin now putting together the Liberian scientists’ data base.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Woman fearful for life after cyber-bullying incident

first_imgA 27-year-old woman says that she is concerned about her safety after being cyber-bullied on social media and accused of being responsible for the creation of a fake Facebook profile, which uploads personal information about people.Karen Manifold, who resides at Diamond, East Bank Demerara (EBD), told Guyana Times on Sunday that she was forced to contact the police, recruit an attorney and take action as she was being cyber bullied, defamed and libelled by another woman identified as Jessica Smith on Facebook.Karen Manifold“I woke up last week to calls and texts from various people about the Smith’s posts on Facebook and Instagram.I was shocked. I have never created a fake page in my life and I do not know why this woman would want to come after me,” a concerned and seemingly terrified Manifold reported.She said that people have been following her vehicle and she has been receiving death threats since Smith took to social media to accuse her of operating the ‘Talk Di Tings G.T. Regulas’ page.In a letter seen by this newspaper, Manifold’s attorney writes to Smith notifying her of his client’s intention to take legal action against her for libel and defamation.“This did not stop the young lady. She is continuing. But I came here today, because a lot of people go through what I am going through and I believe that cyber bullying innocent people is wrong. I will defend myself and take action using the right process. I have reported the matter to the Police and I am moving to the courts,” Manifold said.Efforts to contact Smith proved futile.last_img read more

Targeting taggers

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsNavarro found five locations with the same moniker officials had linked to Dominguez. The damage added up to hundreds of dollars – and a felony charge of graffiti vandalism for Dominguez. “Tagger mentality is `as long as I don’t get caught, they can’t pin it on me,”‘ said Navarro. “Now, I can pin all of their vandalism on them, even if we just catch them tagging one place.” It’s all part and parcel of the city’s new, tougher approach to tackling graffiti, which costs Montebello more than $300,000 a year in cleanup costs, said police Chief Garry Couso-Vasquez. “We could use that money for other good things,” he said. In the past two years, graffiti has increased nearly seven-fold in Montebello. Navarro, who had led the department’s graffiti task force up until 2003, was reassigned to patrol that year because of budget shortages. That’s when graffiti began to soar in the city, Couso-Vasquez said. In 2003, city public works employees removed graffiti from 8,443 locations. Last year, vandals hit more than 56,000 locations. Along with the newly reconstituted graffiti task force, the Police Department is purchasing a cutting-edge graffiti tracking system, which uses global positioning satellite technology to map vandalism. The Graffiti Tracker system can, with the click of a mouse, make elaborate records of the vandalism of individual graffiti taggers instantly available. It is Internet-based and can connect with Google’s Mapquest program to show a map of all the locations that an individual tagger has vandalized. Since Navarro joined the anti-graffiti effort in March, officers have made 74 misdemeanor arrests and 10 felony arrests for graffiti vandalism. That same month, workers cleaned graffiti from 4,731 locations. In April, however, the number of cleanups decreased to 3,790 – the lowest number of instances since March 2005. One of Navarro’s prime tools are his detailed files on area tagging crews. Each folder contains a list of crew members and their photos, along with photographs of their tags and booking photos of individuals who have been arrested. His ability to testify in court as an expert in graffiti and tagging also helps bring convictions for taggers, Navarro said. He can explain to a jury how he is able to recognize the handwriting of individual taggers, which enables him to link them to specific instances of vandalism. “He is taking photos. He’s got something to show jurors and suspects as he’s interviewing them,” said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maral Injejikian, who hears felony graffiti vandalism cases at East Los Angeles Court. “Hypothetically, it’s easier to get convictions if you can show a jury what it looked like,” she added. Navarro also researches how much damage was caused in a particular graffiti case and is able to testify to that in court. If the damage amounts to less than $400, the case is filed as a misdemeanor; anything over $400 can warrant a felony charge. If a tagging defendant is convicted, the court can order him to pay restitution. A felony conviction for graffiti vandalism can net the tagger up to five years in prison. “For taggers, graffiti is fun – until you start getting $4,000 bills in the mail. Their parents go nuts,” said Navarro. “With collaboration between the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the courts and officers, we’re going to get you sooner or later.” sandy.mazza@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MONTEBELLO – Moses Dominguez is in jail facing a felony charge that could put him in prison for two to five years. His alleged crime? Carrying a marker pen and defacing property. After Montebello police arrested the 27-year-old local resident last month for carrying a marker and interviewed him, Dominguez admitted to being the author of a certain graffiti moniker, officials said. Armed with that piece of information, Detective Ismael Navarro, assigned in March to head up the city’s anti-graffiti task force, pored through dozens of photographs officials have taken of graffiti throughout the city. last_img