This week in Lithuania

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Resurrection Credit Union
Resurrection Credit Union
Resurrection Credit Union
Resurrection Credit Union

Fast-tracking an Antibody

Northway Biotechpharma is partnering with Switzerland’s biotech company Memo Therapeutics (MTx) for the fast-track manufacturing of a SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibody for treating the coronavirus, the Vilnius-based biopharmaceutical product contract development and manufacturing company said on August 14.

Under the terms of the manufacturing agreement, Northway will develop the cell line and the manufacturing process, and will further produce batches of MTx’s antibody for clinical studies.The antibody developed by MTx and manufactured by Northway Biotechpharma is expected to reach the market in 2021, if clinical trial results are positive, the Lithuanian company announced. Northway Biotechpharma, which is indirectly controlled by Vladas Bumelis, its board chairman, has posted a net profit of almost 16 million euros for 2019. Annual revenue grew to 37.703 million euros.

Restrictions to be Lifted for EU

At a special session on August 17 the Lithuanian government lifted the ban on foreigners from EU member states entering Lithuania due to the coronavirus threat. Under the new rules, EU residents may come into to Lithuania if they have tested negative, but will still be required to self-isolate. The new rules would also apply to non-EU members, including the UK, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

New COVID-19 Cases

On August 13, 22 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Lithuania, adding to a total of 2,352 detected cases in the country. 567 patients are still recovering from the infection. Eighty-one patients died from the novel coronavirus, thirteen others who were infected died from other causes. In all, 1691 patients have already recovered from COVID-19. Since June 1, Lithuania has recorded 147 imported cases. As of August 14, 570,657 people were tested, 4,875 of them on August 13.

Human Chain to Belarus

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda plans to take part in the human chain from Vilnius to the Belarusian border on August 23, commemorating the anniversary of the Baltic Way, which took place in 1989. This was a peaceful political demonstration during which approximately two million people joined hands to form a human chain spanning 675.5 kilometres (419.7 mi.) across the three Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which were occupied by the Soviet Union at the time.

The president will join all initiatives aimed at highlighting the closeness and the sense of community between the people of Lithuania and Belarus, said the president’s spokesman. Journalist, TV host and public figure Andrius Tapinas is organizing the human chain formation in support of the people of Belarus. He told BNS that some 25,000-30,000 people would be needed to form a human chain stretching for more than 30 km. Former Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite is also expected to join the human chain.
Elsewhere, the 2020 Black Ribbon Day commemoration will be held online with Russian opposition leader, Vladimir Kara-Murza on August 20. Please visit and share this link: https://www.ucc.ca/2020/08/06/black-ribbon-day-2020.

Sanctions Proposed against Belarussian Officials

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius suggested imposing EU sanctions against Belarus officials responsible for vote-rigging and violence against protesters at the EU foreign ministers’ videoconference on August 14. He informed the ministers’ council about Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausedas’ three-point plan in concert with Poland, Latvia and Estonia to resolve the current situation and end the violence, free those arrested and immediately initiate a dialogue with the public by means of a National Council that would include representatives of the government and Belarusian citizens. The EU foreign ministers’ council agreed with his proposal.
Linkevicius suggested imposing individual sanctions on officials and politicians who are directly responsible for the use of force against peaceful demonstrators and vote fraud. He also said he would also propose the launch a EU fund to support the victims of repressions in Belarus.

Voters Register for Elections

A record number of voters – nearly 500 – registered for voting abroad during the first day of registration for voting in the parliamentary elections due on October 11. Laura Matjosaityte, chair of Lithuania’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC), said that a total of 491 voters registered, including 132 in the United Kingdom, 46 in Ireland and 43 in Germany. In addition, 90 voters registered for voting at consular establishments. She noted that the registration process has been very active compared to previous elections. Those voting at an embassy may also register for voting on election day.

Registration is available through the online registration system of the Central Electoral Commission at the website https://www.rinkejopuslapis.lt/rinkeju-balsuojanciu-uzsienyje-elektronine-registracija. According to the Central Electoral Commission, all voters living outside of Lithuania must register again, including those who were entered into electoral registers abroad for previous elections or referendums. New registration is necessary in order for the Lithuanians residing in foreign countries to be able to vote in the first ever single-member constituency established for the Lithuanian nationals living abroad. Nearly 53,000 voters residing abroad voted in the last presidential election and 40,000 voted in the 2019 European Parliament election. By comparison, more than 16,000 voters cast their votes in the Lithuanian general election back in 2016. Lithuania will hold a general election on October 11.

With news from DELFI and BNS