News: July 15, 2020

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Physics And Chemistry
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 1/5

COVID Control

Drugs

  • Dexamethasone
    • Is an anti-inflammatory drug, and has gained traction for its success against corona virus
    • UK's 'RECOVERY Trial' study showed success with low doses of Dexamethasone to target lung inflammation
    • As per Clinical Management Protocol, it can be used as an alternative to methylprednisolone for managing moderate to severe cases.
    • Dexamethasone is part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
    • Anti-malarial drug, which was seen as part of preventive treatment against COVID
      • WHO in June said HCQ shows very limited success in reducing mortality rate of COVID patients. Following this, India lifted all bans on its export.
    • Cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use
  • Methylprednisolone - anti-inflammatory drug used in COVID-19 treatment
  • Favipiravir
    • Sold under brand FabiFflu, is an anti-viral drug for COVID-19 patients from age group 18-75 with mild to moderate symptoms
    • Originally developed to treat influenza
  • Itolizumab 
    • From biocon, approved by ICMR for patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress
    • Normally used to cure skin ailment psoriasis
  • Remdesivir
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use for patients in moderate stage requiring oxygen support
    • As part of the agreements, the drugmakers will receive technology transfer of the manufacturing process for Remdesivir, and get to set their own prices for the generic product they produce.
    • The licenses are royalty-free until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding COVID-19 or until an alternative is approved to treat or prevent COVID-19, whichever is earlier.
  • Tocilizumab
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients with moderate disease with progressively increasing oxygen requirements and in mechanically ventilated patients not improving despite use of steroids
    • Thwarts pro-inflammatory cytokines released by immune system
  • Covaxin
    • Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO) has permitted phase-I and II of human clinical trials of ‘Covaxin’, the country’s first vaccine candidate for COVID-19, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR-National Institute of Virology
    • It is an inactivated vaccine, wherein a dead virus is injected into the body to generate an antibody response
  • Sputnik V
    • The vaccine is based on an adenoviral vector which normally causes respiratory viral infections. Vectors are vehicles, which can induce a genetic material from another virus into a cell.
    • The gene from adenovirus, which causes the infection is removed, while a gene with the code of a protein from another virus spike is inserted. This inserted element is safe for the body but still helps the immune system to react and produce antibodies, which protect us from the infection.
    • Sputnik V uses two vaccines using two different vectors, the second vaccination takes place in 21 days for long lasting immunity

Initiatives

  • Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19
    • By Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
    • Symptoms - fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat and diarrhoea. They have also complained of loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia)
    • Risk factors - For ages more than 60 years, and in those with underlying non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac arrest, etc.
    • Treatment
      • Mild COVID-19 cases - may be given symptomatic treatment such as antipyretic (Paracetamol) for fever and pain.
      • Moderate COVID019 cases - patients will be isolated in Dedicated Covid Health Centre (DCHC) or District hospital or Medical College hospitals.
      • Severe - Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) may be considered for any of those having high risk features for severe disease
  • Policy Responses to COVID19: Policy tracker by International Monetary Fund, summarizes the key economic responses, governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Index (CESI)
    • By Columbia University and World Bank, the index standardises the economic responses taken by governments, thus allowing use to study cross-country differences in policies
    • The two main components of index are: fiscal stimulus package (as a percentage of GDP) and the interest rate cut by the monetary policy authority 

Terminology

  • Pre-symptomatic spread - Pre-symptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who don't look or feel sick, but will eventually get symptoms later. 
  • Asymptomatic spread  - Asymptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who do not have symptoms and will never get symptoms from their infection.
  • Spike protein / S protein - A protein that protrudes from the surface of SARS-CoV-2 virus that attaches it to human enzyme ACE2 receptor, after which the virus enters the cell and makes multiple copies of itself.

Tests

  • Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay antibody test (ELISA)
    • developed by National Institute of Virology in Pune along with Zydus Cadila. 
    • The blood sample is placed inside the small wells of an ELISA plate. These plates are coated with the antigen or the inactivated form of the virus. If the blood contains antibodies, it binds to the antigen and a substrate solution is added to the well. The reaction usually produces a colour change, thus detecting antibodies.
    • In India, the ELISA test for Covid-19 is only approved for serosurveys - which estimate the proportion of the population exposed to infection, and for surveys in high-risk areas and segments like containment zones
  • Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT)
    • Approved by ICMR. RADT checks for antigen production from a nasal swab.
      • An antigen means any toxin in the body which produces an immune response.
    • It takes about 30 minutes to give result. However rapid test has been found to have a higher chance of false negatives.
  • Real Time Reverse Transcription–Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)
    • Real time RT–PCR is one of the most precise (and expensive) laboratory methods for detecting the COVID-19 virus.
    • Cleared by ICMR, it takes about 1 day to get result
    • Once the swab is taken, RT–PCR checks for virus's RNA
    • RT–PCR cannot be used for detecting past infections, only for active infections.
  • TrueNat
    • Commonly used for tuberculosis and HIV 
    • Cleared by ICMR, it works on same principle of RT-PCR. It involves taking nasal or oral swabs
    • The TrueNat machine is small and portable, mostly running on batteries, and provides result within 60 minutes.

A positive result from ELISA or rapid antibody test may not mean the person needs isolation or is infectious; it may simply mean the person was exposed to the virus and has developed antibodies. These two tests, being cheaper than RT-PCR, are employed in large-scale population surveys

Treatment

  • Convalescent plasma therapy
    • Convalescent plasma therapy is a passive immunisation process. It is simply the transfusion of plasma containing antibodies from immune survivors of infectious diseases to the affected individuals
    • As per protocol by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare , Convalescent plasma therapy may be considered for patients with moderate illness with no improvement in condition despite the use of steroids.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • SARS-COVID 2, COVID-19
    • Drug approvals
  • July, 20
    • Russian vaccine clears first phase clinical trial.
    • ICMR cautions itolizumab, tocilizumab over claims of significantly reducing mortality rates
    • A new research shows spike protein changing its shape to hairpin form after attaching to ACE2 receptors
  • Aug, 20
    • Russia registers first COVID-19 vaccine

Sub: Society
Topic: Human Development Health
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 2/5

Disease Handling And Prevention

Organizations

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

  • NCDC, erstwhile National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), was established to function as a national centre of excellence for control of communicable diseases
  • The Institute is under administrative control of the Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

National Research Development Corporation (NRDC)

  • Established in 1953 by the Government of India, with the primary objective to promote, develop and commercialise the technologies 
  • Under the administrative control of the Dept. of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology
  • NavRakshak - NRDC has licensed the manufacturing know-how of a PPE (personal protective equipment) suit named - ‘NavRakshak’ - to five MSME clients to meet the demand for quality PPE kits.

Initiatives

Infectious disease diagnostic lab (I-Lab)

  • Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the country’s first mobile I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic lab) for last mile COVID-19 testing access.
  • It will be deployed in remote, interior and inaccessible parts of the country and have the capability to perform COVID-19 RT-PCR tests, ELISA tests, additional tests for TB, HIV etc. as per CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme) rates.
  • I-LAB is supported by the Department of Biotechnology and Ministry of Science & Technology under the COVID Command strategy.

Sero prevalence surveys

  • Sero prevalence surveys are designed to look for the presence of antibodies in the blood, produced in response to the coronavirus.
    • The coronavirus, in general, diminishes after 21 days. Antibodies, for a host of other viral infections, are normally expected to linger for many months.
    • It is different from RT-PCR tests or antigen tests which scan for the presence of the coronavirus in the body
    • The results of surveys are only for surveillance purposes and not for diagnosis of individual patients. 
  • The surveillance is conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in collaboration with key stakeholders and state health departments. 
  • The agencies use a combination of RT-PCR and Elisa antibody kits for these surveys. Throat and nasal swabs are collected for RT-PCR tests. In addition to RT-PCR tests, blood samples are collected for detecting IgG antibodies for Elisa testing
  • Results
    • In first sero survey across country, it was found that 0.73% of surveyed population had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2
    • In second sero survey across vulnerable spots in Delhi, it was found that 9-11% of surveyed population had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • NCDC to conduct a serological survey to analyze spread of COVID-19 in Delhi
  • July, 20
    • HC tells NCDC to submit results, analysis of sero-survey

Sub: Society
Topic: Social Welfare Children and Women
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 3/5

Women Related Acts And Bodies

Acts

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971

  • Provides for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners.
  • Pregnancy may be terminated within 12 weeks with the opinion of a registered medical practitioner of abnormality in baby or risk to mother, and within 20 weeks with the opinion of two registered medical practitioner
  • Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020
    • Pregnancy may be terminated within 20 weeks with the opinion of a registered medical practitioner, and within 24 weeks with the opinion of two registered medical practitioner
    • A medical board may breach upper limit in case of diagnosis of substantial foetal abnormalities

Bodies

National Commission for Women (NCW)

  • NCW is an autonomous body under Ministry of Women and Child Development 
  • Statutory body constituted in 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act,1990
  • NCW is composed of a Chairperson, five members, and a Member-Secretary appointed by Centre

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • NCW registered a spike of 2.5 times in domestic violence complaints since the lockdown
  • July, 20
    • Delhi High Court on 14th July allowed a woman’s plea seeking termination of her over 23-week pregnancy

Sub: History
Topic: Modern India
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/5

Revolutionaries In Focus

Jyotiba Phule 

  • Born in Maharashtra, Phule founded the Satyashodhak Samaj (Truth Seekers’ Society) in 1873 for doing social service and spreading education among women and lower caste.
  • Wrote Sarvajanik Satyadharma and Gulamgiri.
  • Phule was against Sanskritic Hinduism and worked for abolition of the caste system and socio-economic inequalities.
  • Phule was awarded the title of 'Mahatma' for his social reform work

Tatya Tope 

  • A general in the Indian Rebellion of 1857
  • Served Baji Rao and Nana Sahib

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

  • Part of the Lal-Bal-Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was called 'father of the Indian unrest" by British colonial rulers. 
  • Founded Deccan Education Society in 1884 aimed at educating the masses, especially in the English language
  • He thus organized two important festivals, Ganesh in 1893 and Shivaji in 1895
  • In 1914 he founded and served as president of the Indian Home Rule League
  • In 1916 he concluded the Lucknow Pact with Mohammed Ali Jinnah
  • He published two newspapers -  Kesari in marathi, and Mahratta in english; and wrote 'Gita Rahasya'

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Irregularities in maharashtra's Jyotirao Phule crop loan waiver scheme
  • July, 20
    • Maharashtra - Over ₹2.5 crore already spent on Tatya Tope monument, state tells HC
  • Aug, 20
    • Home Minister Amit Shah pays tribute to Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Research and Technology Communications and Electronics
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/5

Communications

Telecommunications

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

  • Statutory body under Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. Under Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communication
  • For regulating telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services 

Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT)

  • Appellate Tribunal, established in 2000, after amending TRAI Act, has the same powers as vested in a civil court
  • Guided by principles of natural justice, for resolving disputes between licensors, service providers, and consumers.
  • Tribunal exercises jurisdiction over Telecom, Broadcasting, IT and Airport tariff matters under the TRAI Act, 1997,, Information Technology Act, 2008 and the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.
  • Tribunal exercises original as well as appellate jurisdiction in regard to Telecom, Broadcasting and Airport tariff matters. In regard to Cyber matters the Tribunal exercises only the appellate jurisdiction.
  • Appeals: In respect of Telecom, Broadcasting and Airport tariff matters, the Tribunal's orders can be appealed to the Supreme Court but only on substantial questions of law. However, no appeal lies against an interlocutory orders. In regard to Cyber matters, the Tribunal’s order can be appealed before High Court.
    • Interlocutory orders: Intermediate orders necessary for safe conduct of trial

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Delhi High Court asked Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to start taking action against unregistered telemarketers under TCCCPR, who are engaged in the activity of unsolicited commercial communications.

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