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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Researchers receive study grant for research into Congo Fever
2015-03-10

UFS researchers will be contributing significantly to the search for a vaccine against the deadly tick-borne disease known as Congo Fever.

Prof Felicity Burt from the Department of Medical Microbiology and Virology was recently awarded a research grant by the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) to study candidate vaccines for Crimean-Congo heamorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus and other arboviruses.

Arboviruses are viruses transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, or other arthropods.

Prof Burt is an internationally-recognised expert on the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF). The Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus is a tick-borne virus that is associated with severe haemorrhagic disease in South Africa and other parts of Africa, Asia, and eastern Europe. Her interests focus on medically significant viruses that are transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes. Her research group is involved in determining the immune responses that are induced by different viral proteins.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus, a tick- borne virus found in Africa, Asia, the Balkans, and eastern Europe, causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks.

Although a number of tick species are capable of becoming infected with CCHF virus, ticks of the genus Hyalomma, commonly referred to in SA as the “bont-legged ticks”, are the principal vector. The ticks have distinctive brown and white bands on their legs.

In February 1981, the first case of CCHF was recognised in South Africa (SA). To date, there have been nearly 200 cases of CCHF infection in SA with a 20% fatality rate. The majority of cases occurring in SA were in patients from the Northern Cape and Free State provinces.

“The funding that has been awarded will be used to profile immune responses against CCHF viral proteins, and investigate mechanisms and strategies to enhance these immune responses. We hope that the study will contribute knowledge towards the development of a vaccine against this medically significant virus.”

For more information or enquiries contact news@ufs.ac.za.

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