News: July 22, 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: Politics
Topic: Judiciary
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 2/5

Cases And Committees In Focus

Committees

  • Justice Verma Committee, 2013
    • On amendments to the Criminal Law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women.  
    • Recommended insertion of Section 53A in the Indian Evidence Act wherein previous good character should become irrelevant in criminal proceedings.
  • V.S. Malimath Committee, 2003: reforms in the criminal justice system 
    • The panel recommended a modification to Article 20 (3) of the Constitution that protects the accused from being compelled to be a witness against himself/herself. The Committee suggested that the court be given freedom to question the accused to elicit information and draw an adverse inference against the accused in case the latter refuses to answer
    • The panel recommends replacing "proof beyond reasonable doubt" with "if the court is convinced that it is true" as basis to convict accused in criminal cases
    • Recommended setting up of a National Security Commission and State Security Commissions
  • M.R. Shamshad committee - Delhi riots
  • Kris Gopalakrishnan committee - The committee was formed by ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) , to formulate a framework for Non-personal data (NPD)

Cases

  • Constitution
    • Kihoto Hollohan versus Zachillu, 1992: Judicial review for member disqualification is only available after final decision by the Speaker/Chairman. Till then he acts as a tribunal.
  • Information Technology
    • Anuradha Bhasin vs Union of India, 2020  - Internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir under the pretext of Section 144
  • Police Reforms
    • Prakash Singh v. Union of India (2006) - Supreme Court pushing for legislation for governing police forces. Grievance redressal was a key component
    • Joginder Kumar v. State of UP, and D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal - Guidelines for right to life and right to know. To ensure that an accused person is made aware of all critical information regarding her arrest and also convey this to friends and family immediately in the event of being taken in custody.
  • Sexual assault 
    • Shri Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Shubra Chakraborty - suggest that a large number of women still fail to report rapes to the police 
    • Mahmood Farooqui v. NCT of Delhi (2017) - On consent in relationship
  • Torture
    • Raghbir Singh v. State of Haryana (1980), Francis Coralie Mullin v. Union Territory of Delhi (1981)
    • Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra (1987) : Court condemned cruelty and torture as violative of Article 21
    • DK Basu v. State of West Bengal: Prisoners and detainees are not deprived of their Fundamental Rights under Article 21 barring restrictions permitted by law
    • Nilabati Behera v. State of Orissa: Supreme Court made sure that the state could no longer escape liability in public law and had to be compelled to pay compensation

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Madhya Pradesh Council of Ministers exceeding prescribed limit
    • Controversy over Justice Krishna Dixit's “misogynistic” remarks
    • "Committee for the Reform of Criminal Laws" created by Ministry of Home Affairs. Its consultation exercise would start on July 4 and go on for the next three months.
    • Non-personal data committee invites public comments on framework
    • Kihoto Hollohan versus Zachillu, 1992 case in judicial review powers of high court

Sub: Politics
Topic: Judiciary
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 3/5

Codes And Articles In Focus

Articles

  • States
    • Nagaland
      • Article 371A - Special provision with respect to the state of Nagaland
      • Article 371A (1) (b) - important functions like "transfer and posting of officials" entrusted with the maintenance of law and order of and above the district level will be with the approval of the Governor.
  • Right to Health
    • Right to Health is an integral part of Right to Life as enshrined in Article 21.
    • Article 38 lays down the responsibility of the state to secure social order for the in promotion of the welfare of public health.
    • Article 39 (e) pertains to the protection of health of the workers.
    • Article 41 relates to providing public assistance by the state in special circumstances such as sickness, disability, old age etc.
    • Article 42 protects the health of the infant and the mothers, i.e. in a way, it pertains to maternity benefit.
    • Article 47 imposes a primary duty of the state in improvement of public health, in securing of justice, providing humane conditions of work for the workers, extension of benefits pertaining to sickness, disability, old age and maternity benefits. In addition to this, the state is under an obligation to prohibit the consumption of liquor in the interest of the public good.
    • Article 48A: State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
    • Article 164 (1A) : The total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a State shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State
  • Environment
    • Article 48A - State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
    • Article 51 A - Every citizen shall protect the environment.
  • Governor
    • Article 159 :  Oath or affirmation by Governor 
    • Article 174 :  Empowers Governor to decide on session sittings of Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, but no more than six months should pass between two sittings. It also allows Governor to Prorogue either House and dissolve Legislative Assembly.
    • Article 175 : Governor may address the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council, and can require attendance of its members. Governor may also send message (pending Bills, functioning of House, order, etc) to either House, and the respective House will have to consider the said message

Codes

Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)  codes

  • Section 144
    • Power to issue order in urgent cases of nuisance of apprehended danger.
    • It authorizes the Executive Magistrate of any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more people in an area. According to the law, every member of such 'unlawful assembly' can be booked for engaging in rioting.
    • Also referred as 'gag order'

Indian Penal Code (IPC) codes

  • Section 188:  Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys. It can lead to imprisonment of 6 months and/or a fine of Rs 10000
  • Section 295: Damage to a place of worship or an object held sacred, punishable with imprisonment which may extend to two years, or fine, or both.
  • Section 300 and 302: Mob Lynching - Lynching incidents can be dealt with under Section 300 and 302 of IPC. IPC does not specifically describes lynching
  • Section 330 and 331: causing hurt or grievous hurt to extort confession 
  • Section 383: Extortion
  • Section 497 and 498: Adultry
  • Section 498A: Domestic violence
  • Section 506: Criminal Intimidation. non bailable remand

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Madhya Pradesh Council of Ministers exceeding prescribed limit
    • Section 188: Lockdown curbing, in Uttar Pradesh alone, as of 29th April, 2020, FIRs have been registered against 33094 people under Section 188 of IPC during the period of lockdown.
  • July, 20
    • Governor of West Bengal cites Article 159 of deteriorating condition of state
    • 10 yr old dalit girl booked for sacrilege in Punjab
    • Rajasthan Governor allows holding of Assembly session
  • Aug, 20
    • Section 188 - Cases of hospitals and ambulances overcharging public during pandemic

Sub: Economics
Topic: Banking, Finance and Tax System Finance and Banking - India
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/5

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

Autonomous statutory body, constituted under Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. IRDA is tasked with regulating and promoting insurance in country. It is a 10-member body - chairman, five full-time and four part-time members 

Initiatives in focus

  • IRDAI allows insurers to offer short-term (3 to 11 month) COVID-19 health cover.
  • Allowed insurers to provide a three- month moratorium (June to August) on repayment of term insurance loans issued by them.

Insurance

Arogya Sanjeevani (AS)

  • Arogya Sanjeevani policy is a standard health insurance policy for individuals and families that provides coverage for basic hospitalisation-related expenses
  • At present, the Arogya Sanjeevani Policy comes with a basic health cover of minimum sum insured of Rs 1 lakh and maximum sum insured of Rs 5 lakh
  • IRDAI has allowed insurers to offer standard health policy as a group policy under the same name "Arogya Sanjeevani"

Corona Kavach

  • Corona Kavach Policy will be available on an individual and family floater basis
  • The minimum sum insured under the Corona Kavach Policy will be ₹50,000 and the maximum sum insured will be ₹5 lakh
  • The standard Corona Kavach policy will cover hospitalisation expenses on diagnosis of Covid; and an optional cover of daily cash on benefit basis.
  • The policy will cover the cost of treatment incurred by the insured person on availing treatment at home for Covid on positive diagnosis up to 14 days per incident
  • The policy will be available for three and half months (3 ½ months),six and half months (6 ½ months), nine and half months (9 ½ months) including the waiting period
  • Corona Kavach policy can be availed by persons between the age of 18 to 65 years

Sub: Politics
Topic: Executive
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/5

Intellectual Property Rights

Acts

The Patents Act, 1970

The Patents Act 1970, and Patents Rules 1972 replaced the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911. Patents Rules 1972  was formed under Section 159 of the Patents Act, 1970 empowering Central Government to make rules and regulate patents. The Act was largely based on the recommendations of the Ayyangar Committee Report. Since 1970 the Act has been amended 4 times to make it TRIPS compliant, with last amendment done in 2005. Salient features include:

  • Patents are not allowed in relation to - atomic energy, agriculture methods, algorithms, artistic work, traditional knowledge, manufacturing process
  • Allows patent in deposit of microorganisms in compliance to Budapest Treaty, 1977
  • A patent is granted for a term of twenty years from the date of filing
  • The definition of "invention" was made in conformity with the provisions of TRIPS Agreement by introducing the concept of inventive step, thereby enlarging the scope of invention.
  • Section 39 prohibits Indian residents to apply for patent outside the country without getting permission
  •  Section 92 of the Act enables grant of compulsory licensing in circumstances of national emergency or extreme urgency

Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights system (TRIPS)

  • TRIPS Agreement was formulated in 1995, to bring basic level of harmonisation in Intellectual Property Right laws all over the world.
  • All WTO members are obliged to comply with the TRIPS Agreement. India is a signatory to the TRIPS Agreement 
  • TRIPS Agreement sets minimum levels of several types of intellectual property (IP) protection, including copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial design, and trade secrets protection. 
  • It requires WTO Members to provide protection for a minimum term of 20 years from the filing date of a patent application
  • For permitting sale of a pharmaceutical product, pharmaceutical companies should submit data demonstrating the safety, quality and efficacy of the product
  • Articles
    • Article 22 of TRIPS stipulates all government to provide legal opportunities to the owner of GIs registered in the countries
      • However there is no provision for multilateral registration of GIs

[In News]

  • Section 92 of Patents Act - COVID drug licensing and affordability

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