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Second Ebola vaccine introduced in DR Congo

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Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo Thursday introduced a second vaccine to fight the deadly Ebola virus in the east of the country, the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity said, AFP reported.

It said the new vaccine, produced by a Belgian subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is aimed at protecting about 50,000 people over a period of four months.

More than 250,000 people in the region have already been received doses of another anti-Ebola vaccine since last year.

DR Congo declared an Ebola epidemic in August 2018 in the conflict-wracked eastern provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri, bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

The highly contagious haemorrhagic fever has so far killed 2,193 people, according to the latest official figures.

Efforts to roll back the epidemic have been hampered not only by fighting but also by resistance within communities to preventative measures, care facilities and safe burials.

Health workers battling Ebola have been attacked 300 times, leaving six people dead and 70 wounded since the start of the year, the country's health minister said earlier this month.

Early Thursday, about 15 people received an injection in one of two MSF centres in the North Kivu capital of Goma, a spokeswoman for the charity said.

– Two-dose vaccine –

MSF said in a statement on Tuesday that those receiving the first dose of the new vaccine would be asked to return to complete the process.

It said launching the programme in Goma would allow authorities "to check on the success of the two-dose vaccination in a city of one million people, in a region with a mobile population and where there have been cases in the past".

At least two Ebola cases have been registered in Goma in July and August.

But the epicentre of the disease is about 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Goma in the Beni-Butembo region.

It is the DRC's 10th Ebola epidemic and the second deadliest on record after an outbreak that struck West Africa in 2014-16, claiming more than 11,300 lives.

The new J&J vaccine had initially been rejected by DRC's former health minister Oly Ilunga, who cited the risks of introducing a new product in communities where mistrust of Ebola responders is already high.

But Ilunga's resignation in July appears to have paved the way for approval of the second vaccine. He currently faces charges that he embezzled funds intended for the fight against Ebola.

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Peles last Brazil jersey sells for 30000 euros in Italy

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The jersey worn by Brazilian football legend Pele during his final match for the five-time world champions has sold for 30,000 euros ($33,000) in an action in Italy, AFP reported.

The three-time World Cup winner wore the jersey in a friendly against Yugoslavia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in July 1971, the last time he played for Brazil.

Pele, 79, regarded as among the greatest footballers of all-time, scored 77 goals for Brazil in 92 appearances.

The shirt was the highlight of objects which went under the hammer at the Bolaffi auction house in Turin on Thursday.

Other sporting memorabilia included the yellow jersey won by Italian cycling star Fausto Coppi on his way to victory in the 1952 Tour de France, which sold for 25,000 euros.

A rare blue Juventus jersey worn by Italian defender Luciano Spinosi in the final of the 1971 UEFA Cup sold for 9,400 euros.

Another shirt worn by Argentina legend Diego Maradona during his time playing for Napoli in the 1989-90 season sold for 7,500 euros.

A bat used by US basketball great Michael Jordan during his brief foray into baseball fetched 425 euros.

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Japan launches human trial of new Ebola vaccine

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Japanese scientists will begin the country's first human trial for a new vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus this month, they said Friday, AFP reported.

The vaccine, which has previously been tested in monkeys, uses an inactivated form of the virus that can only effectively replicate in artificial cells.

Scientists hope that will make it safer than other treatments, the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo said in a press release.

"We think there's high hope for a new, safe vaccine which can be produced effectively," Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a professor of infectious diseases at the university who helped developed the vaccine, said in the release.

The university will begin the clinical study later in December, injecting 30 healthy adult men with two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart.

They will be monitored for side effects and whether they have developed immunity to Ebola.

The Ebola virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person.

The death rate is typically high, ranging up to 90 percent in some outbreaks, according to the WHO.

Several Ebola vaccines exist, including rVSV-ZEBOV and a new formula produced by a Belgian subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that went into use last month in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country is in the grip of an Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 people in 15 months.

It is the second most deadly to date after a 2014-2016 outbreak which left some 11,000 people dead and underscored the urgency to bring a vaccine to market.

The current outbreak is the tenth in the country since its first in 1976.

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Nigeria Pipeline explosion death toll climbs to 7

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At least seven people in Nigeria were killed in an oil pipeline explosion on Thursday, according to local media.

According to Nigerian daily The Punch, "suspected vandals" had ruptured the pipeline and "siphoned fuel for several days," before the explosion took at roughly 7.45 a.m. (0645GMT).

"We activated the Lagos State Response Plan and all key stakeholders were mobilized," the Lagos-based Thisday daily quoted local emergency management official Femi Oke-Osanyintolu.

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, which managed the pipeline, announced that preliminary reports of the incident indicated that the pipeline might have been "torched by act of vandalism of suspected oil thieves who had hacked into the line to intercept flow of petrol," according to the newspaper.

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