Prepare Prelims 2017-Day-67-Science & Tech CA (Nov-Feb 17)

National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO)

  • As per Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994 (as amended) and Rules thereunder, the Central Government has been given the mandate to maintain National registry of donors and recipients of human organs and tissues.
  • National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) has been set up to maintain this registry based on the information received from the transplant/retrieval hospitals and other related organizations.
  • As per data available with NOTTO in respect of cadaver donations, the number of persons who donated organs during 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 (up to 31st October) are 313, 411, 579 and 592, respectively.
  • There is a huge gap between the number of patients who need organ transplants and the number of organs that are available. The details of such cases are, however, not maintained centrally.
  • Heath is a State subject. Complaints regarding wastage of organ have, as such, not been brought to the notice of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. However, it is a fact that all harvestable organs cannot be retrieved and used owing to lack of awareness and inadequacy of capacity. The Government has taken a series of steps to promote organ donation especially in case of brain stem death and also to augment capacity for organ retrieval and transplantation in the country.

NOTTO is working along with a large number of Non-Governmental Organizations to spread awareness about organ donation, their retrieval and transplantation. Efforts are also being made to utilize the good offices of industry and trade associations for spreading awareness about it. All of them including those working in Karnataka, have indicated their willingness to spread the message.

Surface-to-Air Missiles

  • Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) has been jointly developed by DRDO and IAI, Israel to be launched from ship.
  • It possesses high degree of maneuverability at target interception range. LR-SAM has been developed to counter a wide variety of airborne threats, like anti-ship missiles, aircraft, helicopters, UAVs drones and supersonic missiles.
  • Successful trials of Missile have been carried out recently and the weapon systems proven end to end.
  • The deliverable have already been started.

Special Programmes for Control & Prevention of Lifestyle Diseases

The Ministry of AYUSH through its three research organizations, namely, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) and Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) has launched a programme to integrate Ayurveda, Homoeopathy and Unani with National Programme for prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).


  • The major objective of the programme is prevention and early diagnosis of these diseases; reduce complications; reduce drug dependency through these systems. It also aims towards capacity building for human resource development.

There is no AYUSH drug for cure of cancer. In NCPDCS, patients are motivated for lifestyle changes and recommended to take free integrated medicines along with standard care for prevention of disease and reducing complications/drug dependency. For NPCDCS, adequate space have been provided to the Research Councils.

Drug discovery for GPCR signalling made easy by IIT Kanpur

Researchers have shown that the regulation of G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) by new drugs can be simpler than generally thought — it can be mediated by engaging only the end of the receptor, which is called the tail of the receptor.

Significance of these findings:

With this, discovering new drugs that bind to G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), which are central to almost every physiological process in our body such as vision, taste, immune response and cardiovascular regulation, becomes easier.


Nearly 50% of prescription drugs currently available in the market for the treatment of blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, obesity, cancer and many other human diseases target GPCR receptors. All these drugs bind to their respective receptors and either activate or stop their signalling.

What is G protein coupled receptor?

G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest and most diverse group of membrane receptors in eukaryotes. These cell surface receptors act like an inbox for messages in the form of light energy, peptides, lipids, sugars, and proteins.

How GPCRs operate?

Receptors found on the cell surface receive signals and transmit them to inside the cells. A part of the receptor is embedded in the cell membrane and the other part protrudes outside the membrane and inside of the cell.

  • The part of the receptor that protrudes outside the membrane changes its shape whenever a stimulus in the body binds to it. In response to this change in the outside part of the receptor, a corresponding change happens in the shape of the receptor that is positioned inside the cell.
  • This change in the shape of the receptor positioned inside the cell allows it bind to other proteins called effectors. These effectors cause specific effects in the cell, referred to as cell signalling, which leads to physiological changes in our body.

About the new method:

General understanding is that effector proteins have to simultaneously bind at two sites — the tail of the receptor and the core of the receptor — for the drug to become effective in pulling the receptor inside the cell.

  • Through specific engineering of the receptor researchers basically disrupted one of the two binding sites, namely the core of receptor. They found that even without the second site, the protein was able to pull the receptor inside the cell by binding just to the tail of the receptor.

There is a key region in the core which the researchers genetically deleted thereby making the core of the receptor ineffective.


Successful Flight Test of Agni – IV:

  • Agni-IV, the Long Range Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile with a range of 4,000 kms was successfully flight tested recently.
  • The missile is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.
  • Agni IV is nuclear capable, with a payload capacity of one tonne of high-explosive warhead.
  • The sophisticated surface-to-surface missile is equipped with modern and compact avionics to provide high level of reliability.
  • The most accurate Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and supported by highly reliable redundant Micro Navigation System (MINGS), ensures the vehicle reaches the target within two digit accuracy.
  • The re-entry heat shield can withstand temperatures in the range of 4000 degrees centigrade and makes sure the avionics function normally.
  • The Agni-IV had undergone one failed and five successful tests over the last five years, with the last one being conducted in November 2015.


Mesentery, the New Organ Discovered in the Human Body

  • Irish scientists have recently identified a new human organ that has existed in the digestive system for hundreds of years.
  • Named as the mesentery, the organ connects the intestine to the abdomen and had for hundreds of years been considered a fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts.
  • Mesentery is a fold of the peritoneum which attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen, and other organs to the posterior wall of the abdomen.
  • During the initial research, the researchers have found that the mesentery, which connects the gut to the body, was one continuous organ.
  • Better understanding and further scientific study of the mesentery could lead to less invasive surgeries, fewer complications, faster patient recovery and lower overall costs.



  • Recently, the government has referred the proposal to set up a hyperloop
    transportation system in the country to NITI Aayog.
    ·Hyperloop transportation system is a proposed mode of passenger and freight
    transportation that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at more than airline speed.
  • The concept of high-speed travel in tubes has been around for decades. However, due to lack of technology could not be tested. Concept was reintroduced by billionaire inventor Elon Musk, CEO the aerospace firm SpaceX.
  • Musk’s Hyperloop consists of two massive tubes stretching between urban cities. Pods carrying passengers would travel through the tubes at speeds topping out over 700 mph.


NASA selects 2 missions to explore solar system’s asteroids

Aiming to find important clues to the earliest history of the solar system, NASA has announced two missions — one to explore Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids and the other to study a unique metal asteroid.

  • The missions, known as Lucy and Psyche, were chosen from five finalists and will proceed to mission formulation, with the goal of launching in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

About Lucy:

  • Lucy will visit a target-rich environment of Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids.
  • Lucy, a robotic spacecraft, is scheduled for October 2021 launch.
  • It is slated to arrive at its first destination, a main belt asteroid, in 2025.
  • From 2027 to 2033, Lucy will explore six Jupiter Trojan asteroids.
  • These asteroids are trapped by Jupiter’s gravity in two swarms that share the planet’s orbit, one leading and one trailing Jupiter in its 12-year circuit around the sun.
  • The Trojans are thought to be relics of a much earlier era in the history of the solar system, and may have formed far beyond Jupiter’s current orbit.
  • This is a unique opportunity because the Trojans are remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets, they hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system.
  • Lucy, like the human fossil for which it is named, will revolutionize the understanding of our origins.

About Psyche mission:

The Psyche mission will explore one of the most intriguing targets in the main asteroid belt – a giant metal asteroid, known as 16 Psyche, about three times farther away from the sun than is the Earth.

  • This asteroid measures about 130 miles (210 kilometers) in diameter and, unlike most other asteroids that are rocky or icy bodies, is thought to be comprised mostly of metallic iron and nickel, similar to Earth’s core.
  • The mission will help scientists understand how planets and other bodies separated into their layers – including cores, mantles and crusts – early in their histories.

Psyche, also a robotic mission, is targeted to launch in October of 2023, arriving at the asteroid in 2030, following an Earth gravity assist spacecraft maneuvre in 2024 and a Mars flyby in 2025.


  • Bedaquiline is the active substance in a TB drug which is also sometimes known by the trade name of Sirturo.
  • Bedaquiline has only been approved for use in patients who have MDR-TB and when options to treat this condition using existing drugs have been exhausted.
  • The drug is to be given in addition to the multidrug treatment regimen recommended by WHO.
  • How it works: Bedaquiline works by blocking an enzyme inside the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria called ATP synthase. This enzyme is used by the bacteria to generate energy. Without the ability to generate energy, the TB bacteria die and the patient’s condition can start to improve.
  • Side effects of this: Headache, dizziness, feeling sick, being sick, joint pain and increases in liver enzymes.

Astronomers discover ‘powerful cosmic double whammy’ with help of India’s GMRT

By combining data from several telescopes around the world including India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune, astronomers have discovered a cosmic double whammy unlike any ever seen before.

Key facts:

  • By combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune and other telescopes, researchers found what happens when matter ejected by a giant black hole is swept up in the merger of two enormous galaxy clusters.
  • The two phenomenon have combined to create a stupendous cosmic particle accelerator. This cosmic double whammy is found in a pair of colliding galaxy clusters called Abell 3411 and Abell 3412 located about two billion light years from Earth.
  • Scientists determined that as the shock waves travel across the cluster for hundreds of millions of years, the doubly accelerated particles produce giant swirls of radio emission.
  • This discovery solves a long-standing mystery in galaxy cluster research about the origin of beautiful swirls of radio emission stretching for millions of light years, detected in Abell 3411 and Abell 3412 with the GMRT.
  • This result shows that a remarkable combination of powerful events generate these particle acceleration factories, which are the largest and most powerful in the Universe.

About GMRT:

The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), located near Pune in India, is an array of thirty fully steerable parabolic radio telescopes of 45 metre diameter, observing at metre wavelengths.

  • It is operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, a part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.
  • At the time it was built, it was the world’s largest interferometric array offering a baseline of up to 25 kilometres (16 mi).

One of the aims for the telescope during its development was to search for the highly redshifted 21-cm line radiation from primordial neutral hydrogen clouds in order to determine the epoch of galaxy formation in the universe.

3D Graphene:

MIT researchers have found a way to print graphene as a porous 3D material that has five percent of the density of steel while being ten times stronger.

  • Although Graphene is one of the strongest materials known to man, but so far it hasn’t lent itself to practical use because it is extremely thin.
    ·Creation of the new porous, 3D form had less to do with the material itself and more to do with the unusual geometric configuration employed. This could lead to lighter, stronger materials with similar geometric features.


  • It is an allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale.
    Properties of Graphene:
  • It is ultra-light yet immensely tough.
  • It is 200 times stronger than steel, but it is incredibly flexible.
  • It is the thinnest material possible as well as being transparent.
  • It is a superb conductor and can act as a perfect barrier – not even helium can pass through it.

China setting up highest altitude telescopes close to LAC

China is setting up the world’s highest altitude gravitational wave telescopes in a Tibet prefecture close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, with a budget of $18.8 million.

Key facts:

  • The telescope aims to detect the faintest of echoes resonating from the universe, which may reveal more about the Big Bang theory.
  • The telescope, located 5,250 meters above sea level, will detect and gather precise data on primordial gravitational waves in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • It is expected to be operational by 2021.
  • The telescope will be located at Ngari. Ngari, with its high altitude, clear sky and minimal human activity is said to be one of the world’s best spots to detect tiny twists in cosmic light.


Gravitational waves were first proposed by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity 100 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2016 that scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory announced proof of the waves’ existence, spurring fresh research interest among the world’s scientists.


  • It is a chemical found in Indian long pepper that could stop the production of an enzyme that is commonly found in tumours.
  • PL has shown activity against many cancers including prostate, breast, lung, colon, lymphoma, leukaemia, primary brain tumours and gastric cancer.

New fault in Indian Ocean may trigger quakes in future: study

Scientists have found a new plate boundary being formed on the floor of the Indian Ocean as a result of the largest earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region in 2012. Scientists warn that the new fault system could trigger more quakes in the future.

  • Researchers have found evidence for this plate on the floor of the Indian Ocean in the Wharton Basin.

How this plate boundary may have been formed?

  • A slip-strike quake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another.
  • Such quakes can be caused by deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate.
  • They can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes.
  • It is this scenario that the researchers believe happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran regio (north-west part) of the Indian Ocean — the largest inter-plate earthquakes ever recorded.

Wharton Basin 

  • The marine area of the north east quarter of the Indian Ocean. It is named after William Wharton(1843-1905), Hydrographer of the Navy. Alternative names are Cocos Basin (after the Cocos Islands) and West Australian Basin.
  • It lies east of the Ninety East Ridgeand west of Western Australia.
  • It is of interest in relation to Indian Ocean floor movement and adjacent fracture zones and the relationship between the Indian and Australian plates and is one of a number of features of the Indian Ocean that has been studied extensively. However, its floor has not been charted since the 1960s and is not well known.

Measles-rubella vaccine

Three years after the national vaccine advisory body recommended the introduction of the measles-rubella vaccine (MR) in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), the vaccine is all set to be introduced from next month in five states and Union territories as a part of the basket of preventive medications that every child born in India is entitled to.

  • The UIP basket already has ten vaccines of which measles is one; once MR is introduced, monovalent measles will be discontinued.

About the disease:

Rubella, or German measles, is a contagious viral infection that causes a distinctive red rash. Though there are no statistics on its prevalence, the health ministry says the disease is endemic in India.

  • It spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can also be passed on from mother to the newborn.

Experts say more than two lakh children in India are born deaf, blind, or with heart or brain damage every year due to the congenital rubella syndrome.

NASA aims to send spacecraft to giant ‘metal’ asteroid

NASA is preparing to send a spacecraft to a giant “metal” asteroid that may tell scientists the secret of how our solar system was formed.

Key facts:

  • The mission is called “Psyche”. It is focused to know whether the asteroid, called “16 Psyche” and thought to be made of iron and nickel, could be part of what was an earlier planet perhaps as large as Mars.
  • Psyche robotic mission will launch in October 2023 and will arrive at the asteroid in 2030, following an Earth gravity assist spacecraft manoeuver in 2024 and a Mars flyby in 2025.

About 16 Psyche:

’16 Psyche’ is the only known object of its kind in the solar system. It is nearly three times farther away from the sun than is the Earth. The asteroid measures about 210 kilometres in diameter.

Scientists believe that the asteroid might have lost its outer core through a series of collisions and the mission could shed light on how planets and other masses broke up into cores, mantles and crusts years ago.

Global partnership launched to prevent epidemics with new vaccines

A global coalition to create new vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, designed to help give the world an insurance policy against epidemics was recently launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The coalition is named- Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

About CEPI:

CEPI, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, is a “public-private coalition that aims to derail epidemics by speeding development of vaccines”.  

  • With an initial investment of US$460m, CEPI – the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations will seek to outsmart epidemics by developing safe and effective vaccines against known infectious disease threats that could be deployed rapidly to contain outbreaks, before they become global health emergencies.
  • CEPI will initially target the MERS-CoV, Lassa and Nipah viruses, which have known potential to cause serious epidemics. It aims to develop two promising vaccine candidates against each of these diseases before any epidemic, so these are available without delay if and when an outbreak begins. CEPI will also scope out potential support for vaccines against multiple strains of the Ebola and Marburg viruses, and Zika.
  • To achieve all these goals, CEPI will need significant additional investment, and the initial CEPI funders are calling for other governments and philanthropic organisations to join them in helping to protect the world against future epidemics. CEPI is looking to complete its fundraising by the end of 2017.

CEPI also hopes to shorten the time it takes to develop new vaccines to protect against viruses that emerge suddenly as public health threats, as Zika did recently, by capitalising on exciting developments in adaptable vaccine technology and investing in facilities that could respond quickly to previously unknown pathogens.

India to launch standby navigation satellite

India is planning to launch one of its back up navigation satellites this year as a replacement to IRNSS-1A satellite, whose three atomic clocks have failed.

  • Each of seven satellites has three clocks. The clocks are important to provide precise data.

What is an atomic clock?

An atomic clock is a clock that uses the resonance frequencies of atoms as its resonator. The resonator is regulated by the frequency of the microwave electromagnetic radiation emitted or absorbed by the quantum transition (energy change) of an atom or molecule. The advantage of this approach is that atoms resonate at extremely consistent frequencies.

About NAVIC:

The Rs 1,420 crore Indian satellite navigation system NavIC consists of seven satellites in orbit and two as substitutes. Starting in July 2013, the Indian space agency has launched all the seven navigation satellites. The last one was launched on April 28, 2016. Each satellite has a life span of 10 years.

  • Simply put, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is similar to the GPS (Global Positioning System) of the US, Glonass of Russia and Galileo of Europe as well as China’s Beidou. While GPS and Glonass are fully functional global systems, the Chinese and the Japanese systems offer regional coverage and Europe’s Galileo is yet to be operational.
  • According to Indian space agency, the applications of IRNSS are: terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, vehicle tracking and fleet management, terrestrial navigation for hikers and travellers, disaster management, integration with mobile phones, mapping and geodetic data capture and visual and voice navigation for drivers.

Apart from the civilian applications, the IRNSS will be used for defence purposes as well.

Vampire star caught in the act by ASTROSAT

  • India’s first dedicated space observatory, ASTROSAT has captured the rare phenomenon of a small six-billion-year-old vampire star preying on a bigger celestial body. 
  • The vampire star phenomenon is observed when smaller star sucks material (mass and energy) out of the bigger companion star, causing its eventual death. 
  • It is also called a blue straggler as small star becomes bigger, hotter and bluer, giving it the appearance of being young, while the ageing companion burns out and collapses to a stellar remnant. 
  • Astrosat is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory launched in September 2016.

It is one of the major scientific missions of ISRO after the highly acclaimed Chandrayaan-I and Mangalyaan.

ISRO Successfully Tests C25 Cryogenic Upper Stage of GSLV MkIII

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully ground tested its indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage for GSLV MkIII on January 25, 2017.
  • The cryogenic stage designated as C25 was tested for a duration of 50 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri demonstrating all the stage operations.
  • The performance of the Stage during the test was as predicted. This is the first test in a series of two tests.  The next test is planned for flight duration of 640 seconds.  
  • The 50 second test is a significant milestone in the development of indigenous cryogenic propulsion technology.
  • The successful hot test of the stage in the first attempt itself demonstrates ISRO’s ability to work in new areas like cryogenic technology.
  • The development of C25 cryogenic stage began with the approval of GSLV MKIII, the next generation launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching 4 ton class spacecraft in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • The vehicle consists of two solid strap-on motors (S200), one earth storable liquid core stage (L110) and the cryogenic stage upper stage (C25).
  • The C25 stage was conceptualised, designed and realised by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), ISRO’s lead Centre for Propulsion, with support from various System Development Agencies from other three Centres of ISRO – Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) and Sathish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR. The fabrication of various sub-systems of the engine and the stage was carried out through Indian Industries.
  • The C25 stage is the most powerful upper stage developed by ISRO and uses Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) propellant combination.  The stage carries 27.8 tons of propellants loaded in two independent tanks.
  • Development of a cryogenic stage has unique design challenges, with liquid Hydrogen stored at -253 deg C and liquid Oxygen stored at -195 deg C in its tanks. To store these cryogenic fluids, special multi-layer insulation is provided for the tanks and other structures.
  • The first flight stage for GSLV MkIII-D1 mission is in advanced stage of realisation. The flight engine has been successfully tested in the High Altitude Test (HAT) facility and integrated with the flight stage. 
  • Cryogenics is the study of substances at very low temperature – at minus 150 degrees Celsius and less, in which gases like oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen turn liquid. Cryogenic engines are called so because they use liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as fuel. The extremely cold temperatures make these liquids tricky to operate.

A clinical trial using technology to minimise hair loss due to Chemotherapy

  • The Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Parel has started a clinical trial using technology to minimise hair loss due to chemotherapy.
  • The initiative, the first such in India, is expected to address the loss of self-esteem and confidence that many cancer patients, especially women, face and reduce cancer-related trauma.
  • The process uses a scalp cooling technique to restrict chemotherapy medication from reaching the scalp, thus reducing hair fall.
  • The machine has two scalp coolers, which are essentially specialised inner silicon caps containing coolants at temperatures of up to minus 4 degrees centigrade.
  • The technique is widely used in the U.K.
  • The machine circulates the coolant in the caps, reducing its temperature and consequently blood supply to the scalp.
  • As chemotherapy medication is given intravenously and circulated through the blood, the scalp gets less blood and thus less of the medication.
  • This reduces damage to hair follicles and preserves hair. But, experts say reduction in hair loss may vary from person to person.
  • Chemotherapy medication works best on fast-dividing cells.
  • Since cancer cells divide rapidly, the medicines attack those cells, but other cells like those in the blood, mucosal lining and hair follicles also come under attack.
  • This is why patients suffer from reduced blood count, mouth ulcers and hair loss during chemotherapy. But of all the side-effects, hair loss has the worst impact on women.

The most common side-effects of using scalp coolers are headache and cold.

Highly pungent capsicum varieties have higher antioxidant property

  • A team of Indian researchers from the School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University and other institutions has successfully decoded the molecular basis of extreme fiery hot (pungency) property of Bhut jolokia (Capsicum chinense)which is native of northeast India; Bhut jolokia has the highest pungency level in the world.
  • In the study, many varieties belonging to  chinense, C. frutescens, C. annuum were studied and comparative analysis carried out for pungency, vitamins and other metabolites. The high level of pungency and vitamins was found to be positively correlated with high antioxidant activities — the higher the pungency of the capsicum variety the higher was its antioxidant property.“Pungency and vitamin C show high correlation, and these two along with other metabolites have high antioxidant activity,”
  • “The capsicum Bhut jolokia [popularly known as ghost chilli] has more anticancer property compared with other capsicum varieties,”
  • “The scavenging property is useful in humans and animals as it neutralises the free radicals which are otherwise harmful,”
  • Seventeen varieties of  chinense species had high pungency of over 0.9 million scoville heat unit, which is higher than what has been previously reported.
  • While earlier studies have looked at antioxidant property of capsicum, the studies were limited to a few varieties.
  • But for this study the researchers examined 136 varieties of capsicum from northeast India belonging to three species — 63 varieties of  chinense,17 varieties of C. frutescens and 56 varieties of C. annuum.

Maximum pungency was seen in C. chinense varieties followed by C. frutescens; C. annuum had the least pungency.

India superbug resistant to available antibiotics?

  • A woman in the U.S. died after being infected by a superbug during her visit to India, say doctors who found that the “nightmare” bacteria was resistant to all available antibiotics.
  • The infection was caused by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a multidrug-resistant organism associated with high mortality.

About Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae:

  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae(CRE) or carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) are Gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to the carbapenem class of antibiotics, considered the drugs of last resort for such infections.
  • They are resistant because they produce an enzyme called a carbapenemase that disables the drug molecule.
  • The resistance can vary from moderate to severe.
  • Enterobacteriaceae are common commensals and infectious agents.

Risk Factors:

  • Hospitals are primary transmission sites for CRE-based infections. Up to 75% of hospital admissions attributed to CRE were from long-term care facilities or transferred from another hospital.
  • Suboptimal maintenance practices are the largest cause of CRE transmission.
  • This includes the failure to adequately clean and disinfect medication cabinets, other surfaces in patient rooms, and portable medical equipment, such as X-ray and ultrasound machines that are used for both CRE and non-CRE patients.
  • Thus far, CRE have primarily been nosocomial infectious agents.
  • Almost all CRE infections occur in people receiving significant medical care in hospitals, long-term acute care facilities, or nursing homes.
  • Independent risk factors for CRE infection include use of beta-lactam antibiotics and the use of mechanical ventilation. Patients with diabetes have also been shown to be at an elevated risk for acquiring CRE infections

New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1):

  • An enzyme that makes bacteria resistant to a broad range of beta-lactam antibiotics.
  • These include the antibiotics of the carbapenem family, which are a mainstay for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
  • The gene for NDM-1 is one member of a large gene family that encodes beta-lactamase enzymes called carbapenemases.
  • Bacteria that produce carbapenemases are often referred to in the news media as “superbugs” because infections caused by them are difficult to treat. Such bacteria are usually susceptible only to polymyxins and tigecycline.
  • NDM-1 was first detected in a Klebsiella pneumoniaeisolate from a Swedish patient of Indian origin in 2008.
  • It was later detected in bacteria in India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Japan.
  • The most common bacteria that make this enzyme are Gram-negative such as Escherichia coliand Klebsiella pneumoniae, but the gene for NDM-1 can spread from one strain of bacteria to another by horizontal gene transfer.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR):

  • Antimicrobial resistance(AMR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication previously used to treat them.
  • This broader term also covers antibiotic resistance, which applies to bacteria and antibiotics.
  • Resistance arises through one of three ways: natural resistance in certain types of bacteria; genetic mutation; or by one species acquiring resistance from another.
  • Resistance can appear spontaneously because of random mutations; or more commonly following gradual buildup over time, and because of misuse of antibiotics or antimicrobials.
  • Resistant microbes are increasingly difficult to treat, requiring alternative medications or higher doses—which may be more costly or more toxic.
  • Microbes resistant to multiple antimicrobials are called multidrug resistant (MDR); or sometimes superbugs.
  • Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise with millions of deaths every year.
  • A few infections are now completely untreatable because of resistance.

All classes of microbes develop resistance (fungi, antifungal resistance; viruses, antiviral resistance; protozoa, antiprotozoal resistance; bacteria, antibiotic resistance).

A thumb imprint is enough to help detect jaundice

  • When a person has jaundice, the bilirubin gets deposited on the skin surface.
  • Gold nanoclusters that have been functionalised [using chitosan and mercaptopropionic acid] show yellow luminescence under UV light.
  • But when copper salt (copper sulphate) is added to it, the yellow luminescence gets quenched or reduced.
  • When bilirubin is added to the medium, the copper preferentially interacts with it, forming a complex and the luminescence of the gold nanoclusters gets restored.
  • This quick test has been developed by team of IIT Guwahati.
  • They just need a thumb imprint for detecting hyperbilirubinemia, a condition in which the amount of bilirubin in the blood is in excess and turns the sclera of the eye, urine and even the skin yellow.
  • Hyperbilirubinemia is commonly seen in people with jaundice and newborns. A person is said to have jaundice when the bilirubin concentration in the blood typically exceeds 12 ppm in adults and 50 ppm in a newborn.
  • While visual observation of yellow colour of the sclera and/or urine is routine for detecting jaundice, it is confirmed by a blood test.

About Bilirubin:

  • Bilirubin is a yellow compound that occurs during the body’s clearance of waste products that arise from the destruction of aged red
    blood cells.
  • Levels of Bilirubin in blood are normally below 1.0 mg/dL and levels over 2-3 mg/dL typically results in jaundice.
  • High Bilirubin levels may be due to excess
    red blood cell breakdown, new born jaundice, thyroid problems, liver diseases such as cirrhosis or hepatitis or blockage of the bile

This new test is quicker.

Breeding crops to increase nutrition value

  • Biofortification is the idea of breeding crops to increase their nutritional value.
  • This can be done either through conventional selective breeding, or through genetic engineering.
  • Biofortification differs from ordinary fortification because it focuses on making plant foods more nutritious as the plants are growing, rather than having nutrients added to the foods when they are being processed.
  • It has proposed as a strategy to counter malnutrition ‘Nutrition gardens’ (botanical gardens with plants considered rich in vitamins, iron, iodine etc.)

New mosquito-borne disease

  • University of Florida researchers have identified a patient in Haiti with a serious mosquito-borne illness that has never before been reported in the Caribbean nation.
  • Known as “Mayaro virus,” it is closely related to chikungunya virus and was first isolated in Trinidad in 1954. Most reported cases, however, have been confined to small outbreaks in the Amazon. Whether this case signals the start of a new outbreak in the Caribbean region is currently unknown.
  • “While current attention has been focused on the Zika virus, the finding of yet another mosquito-borne virus which may be starting to circulate in the Caribbean is of concern
  • The symptoms of Mayaro fever are similar to those of chikungunya fever: fever, joint pain, muscle pain and rashes. Abdominal pain is also a feature of Mayaro fever, however, and joint pain can last longer.

Japanese scientists have said that silicon is likely to be the mystery element

  • Japanese scientists have said that silicon is likely to be the mystery element in the inner core of the earth.
  • This could solve one of the biggest secrets of the planet.

Consensus has long been that centre of the planet comprises:

  1. Iron-85%
  2. Nickel-10%
  3. Sulphur, Oxygen and Silicon-5%
  • But Japanese scientists have found that iron nickel alloys mixed with silicon were able to sustain pressure and temperature found in the inner core of the earth.
  • Data for the mixed material observed with X-rays matched seismic data namely sound velocity, or seismic waves obtained for the inner core.
  • Finding could reveal if earth was rich in oxygen before photosynthesis.
  • Oxygen has been listed as another potential candidate for mystery element in the inner core.

About the Layers of the Earth

  • Earth is composed of three main layers: outer layer, mantle and core.
  • Outer layer is solid where creatures reside.
  • Mantle is composed of hot magma and other semi solid materials.

Core is composed of outer layer of liquid iron and nickel and inner layer – a hot dense ball of mostly iron.

In Madagascar, Rift Valley fever follows trade routes

Rift Valley fever is an emerging viral disease that is threatening public health and has already had a substantial economic impact. Two publications have revealed that in Madagascar, cattle trading is the main trigger factor for epidemics, and that between two outbreaks, the virus persists in some parts of the island.

  • Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral zoonosis that primarily affects animals but can also infect humans.
  • RVF virus is a member of the Phlebovirus genus. The virus was frst identifed in 1931 in the Rift Valley of Kenya.
  • This disease of wild and domestic ruminants, which is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, affects Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and certain Indian Ocean islands.
  • It leads to substantial economic losses, since in addition to causing abortions and killing young cattle, sheep and goats, it results in bans on live animal trading, a vital source of income for livestock farmers and exporting countries.
  • It is also a public health risk, as it can be transmitted to humans, primarily during the slaughter and butchery of contaminated animals. No cases of contamination between humans have yet been observed.

The Paperfuge

  • Engineering scientists at Stanford University have build an ultra-low cost human powered blood centrifuge separating blood into individual components in 1.5 minutes.
  • It is created from 20 cents of twine, paper and plastic and is called a paperfuge.
  • It can spin at speeds of 1,25,000 revolutions per minute and exert centrifugal forces of 30 thousand Gs.

It is the fastest spinning object driven by human power. It has the potential to enable precise diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as malaria, HIV and TB.

Deworming Programme in India:

  • India carries the highest burden of worm infestation and 64 % of Indian population less than 14 years of age is at risk of Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) or worms’ infestation.
  • Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) interferes with nutrients uptake in children; can lead to anaemia, malnourishment, and impaired mental and physical development.
  • According to a study, the infected children cannot concentrate on their studies and they find very hard to put up their daily activities.
  • In this context, National Deworming Day is a commendable step that will go a long way in ensuring healthy India. On India’s glorious record sheet of eradicating Polio, Guinea worm, Small pox, Maternal and neonatal tetanus, this may become yet another entry.
  • However, we must remember that the cycle of parasitic infections cannot be broken with m drugs alone. Proper hand washing and sanitation play an important role in preventing such n diseases.
·According to WHO, STH or parasitic worms are among the most common infections worldwide.
·It lives in human intestines and consume nutrients meant for the human body.
·They produce thousands of eggs each day, which are passed in faeces and spread to others in areas used for public toilet.

The Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument

  • The Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument, or BILI is a fluorescence-based lidar, a type of remote-sensing instrument similar to radar in principle and operation.
  • Instead of using radio waves, however, lidar instruments use light to detect and ultimately analyse the composition of particles in the atmosphere.
  • Although NASA has used fluorescence instruments to detect chemicals in Earth’s atmosphere as part of its climate-studies research, the agency so far hasn’t employed the technique in planetary studies.
  • It is a sensing technique that the US military currently uses to remotely monitor the air to detect potentially life-threatening chemicals, toxins, and pathogens.
  • The beauty of BILI is its ability to detect in real-time small levels of complex organic materials from a distance of several hundred meters
  • Therefore, it could autonomously search for bio-signatures in plumes above recurring slopes – areas not easily traversed by a rover carrying a variety of in-situ instruments for detailed chemical and biological analysis.

This can be used to detect signatures of life on Mars.

Rare Elizabethkingia infections

  • Elizabethkingia is a genus of bacteria commonly found in the environment worldwide.
  • It has been detected in soil, river water and reservoirs.
  • It has caused meningitis in newborn babies and meningitis or bloodstream and respiratory infections in people with weakened immune systems

Acute Encephalopathy

Dr. Jacob John, a scientist and virologist, had investigated the mystery disease that proved fatal for many 15-year old children in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. The scientist has now raised ethical issues about the way the research has been published.

  • Study found evidence of a link between a fruit in Jamaica, the ackee (from the same family as litchi) and a disease called acute encephalopathy in Jamaicans.
    · According to the research there is close clinical similarity between ackee poisioning and the Muzaffarpur illness, where litchi consumption and skipping the evening meal could result in very low blood glucose and acute encephalopathy, leading to seizures and coma, and death in many cases.
    ·This is particularly so in the case of young children as they have limited hepatic glycogen reserves. Hypoglycin A and methylene cyclo propyl glycine (MCPG), which are naturally present in litchi fruit, make the condition worse.
    ·The toxins block enzymes involved in normal glucose metabolism and this results in an inability to synthesis glucose leading to acutely low level of blood sugar.
  • The build-up of other metabolic by-products could also have an adverse effect (encephalopathy) on the child. These two cause death in many children.
  • According to study, it was under-nourished children who were affected by the disease. Children in poor rural families, typically of labourers working in litchi orchards were the ones at risk.
  • In view of this study, the Government of Bihar has already introduced some interventions such as asking parents to restrict litchi consumption by children, making sure no child goes
    to bed without eating a meal, measuring blood glucose level and infusing 10% dextrose immediately on admission to the hospital.

About Encephalitis

  • Encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain.
    ·It is mostly caused by a microorganism (bacteria, virus or parasite).
    ·In a few cases, the offending agent can be any toxic compound

What is Frankenfixation?

  • Frankenfixation refers to the use of genetic modification to fix carbon dioxide into the soil.
  • It derives from term popularised by critics of genetically modified foods, ‘Frankenfoods’. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute recently oversaw an effort to piece together an artificial metabolism from the bits and pieces of biosynthetic pathways that were once scattered across the three kingdoms of life.
  • What they found was a novel pathway based on a new CO2-fixing enzyme that is nearly 20 times faster than the most prevalent enzyme in nature responsible for capturing CO2 in plants by using sunlight as energy.

Were such pathways to be perfected, new species of plants, trees or entirely new organisms, could be grown that are specifically designed to take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and hold off the looming crisis of rising global temperatures.


  • Wolbachia is a natural bacterium present in up to 60% of all the different species of insects around us, including some mosquitoes.
    ·Wolbachia is safe for humans, animals and the environment. It is a naturally occurring bacterium already found in the environment in many insect species.
  • Research on it to control Dengue: It is not usually found in the Aedes
    aegypti mosquito, the primary species responsible for transmitting human viruses such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. For many years scientists, have been studying Wolbachia, looking for ways to use it to potentially control the mosquitoes that spread human diseases.

World’s most heat resistant material found

  • Scientists have identified materials that can withstand temperatures of nearly 4,000 degrees Celsius, an advance that may pave the way for improved heat resistant shielding for the faster-than-ever hypersonic space vehicles.
  • Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK discovered that the melting point of hafnium carbide is the highest ever recorded for a material.

Tantalum carbide (TaC) and hafnium carbide (HfC)

  • Are refractory ceramics, meaning they are extraordinarily resistant to heat.
  • Their ability to withstand extremely harsh environments means that refractory ceramics could be used in thermal protection systems on high-speed vehicles and as fuel cladding in the super-heated environments of nuclear reactors.
  • However, there has not been the technology available to test the melting point of TaC and HfC in the lab to determine how truly extreme an environment they could function in.
  • The researchers developed a new extreme heating technique using lasers to test the heat tolerance of TaC and HfC.
  • They used the laser-heating techniques to find the point at which TaC and HfC melted, both separately and as mixed compositions of both.
  • They found that the mixed compound (Ta0.8Hf0.20C) was consistent with previous research, melting at 3,905 degrees Celsius, but the two compounds on their own exceeded previous recorded melting points.
  • The compound TaC melted at 3,768 degrees Celsius, and HfC melted at 3,958 degrees Celsius.
  • The findings may pave the way for the next generation of hypersonic vehicles, meaning spacecraft could become faster than ever.
  • “The friction involved when travelling above Mach 5 -hypersonic speeds – creates very high temperatures,” said Omar Cedillos-Barraza, currently an Associate Professor at the University of Texas.
  • “So far, TaC and HfC have not been potential candidates for hypersonic aircraft, but our new findings show that they can withstand even more heat than we previously thought – more than any other compound known to man.
  • “This means that they could be useful materials for new types of spacecraft that can fly through the atmosphere like a plane, before reaching hypersonic speeds to shoot out into space,” he said.
  • “These materials may enable spacecraft to withstand the extreme heat generated from leaving and re-entering the atmosphere.

Examples of potential uses for TaC and HfC could be in nose caps for spacecraft, and as the edges of external instruments that have to withstand the most friction during flight.


A malaria vaccine that mimics a mosquito bite yielded encouraging results in human trials. The positive results of the trial have raised hopes for thwarting a parasite that kills a child every two

  • PfSPZ uses a live, immature form of the malaria parasite called sporozoite, to stimulate an immune reaction in humans.
  • PfSPZ is being developed against the Plasmodium falciparum mosquito-borne parasite, by far the deadliest type.
  • The developers of PfSPZ are aiming for efficiency of about 80-90% protection lasting for six months to a year.
  • The ability to complete an immunisation regime in 10 days will facilitate the use of PfSPZCVac in mass vaccination programmes to eliminate the malaria parasite and to prevent malaria in travelers.

Scientists use ‘pregnancy fluid’ to strengthen weak bones

  • UK-based researchers have found that stem cells harvested from pregnant woman’s amniotic fluid can be used to strengthen weak bones.
  • Amniotic fluid is the protective fluid that surrounds baby in the uterus and helps it to develop inside the mother’s womb.
  • It also contains stem cells that are the building blocks of other tissues.

Key Details:

  • Bones are constantly formed in body with cells called osteoclasts which break down old bone and form new bones.
  • However, incase due to brittle bone disease, osteoporosis process becomes lazy leading to fracture bones.
  • The researchers collected the amniotic stem cells from material left over from screening tests during pregnancy.
  • Then they injected these cells into diseased mice having fractured bones due to brittle bone disease (a genetic disorder that results in fragile bones that break easily).
  • It was found that mice injected with these cells have 78% fewer fractures.
  • Thus, the amniotic stem cells can be used to improve strength, plasticity, and structure of bones.

Potential Application: This discovery can help treat astronauts who lose bone mass in space. It is said that astronauts can lose 2.5% of their bone density for every month in space. It can also help babies with genetic diseases and elderly people.


A large population in Odisha’s Nuapada district suffering from crippled backbones on account of consumption of high fluoride-laced water.

  • Fluorosis is usually caused by a high level of fluoride in drinking water.
  • The earth’s crust has a high content of fluoride and so does the bore well water in endemic areas which is often used as a source of water.
    ·Regular intake of products manufactured with high-fluoride containing water may also cause fluorosis.
  • Vegetables and foods grown in endemic areas may also be high in fluoride content.
    ·Fluoride is also found in toothpaste and other dental products. These may be harmful to people already exposed to high fluoride levels.

Epsilon rocket launches Japanese ERG mission

  • Japan’s Epsilon rocket conducted its second flight Tuesday, orbiting JAXA’s ERG satellite to study Earth’s radiation belts.
  • It is a solid fueled rocket launched by Japan to study radiation belts around earth.
  • This function will be performed by the payloade. satellite – Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) satellite.
  • The satellite is aimed to study earth’sVan Allen Radiation Belt and for that purpose the orbit of the satellite had to be very elliptical.
  • Keeping in mind this requirement the satellite will have a perigee of 350 kilometers and apogee of 30,000 kilometers

More Details:

  • The ERG satellite carries instruments dedicated to the study of plasma, particles, waves and fields in Earth’s radiation belts.
  • Earth’s radiation belts were discovered by James Van Allen’s experiments aboard the first US satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958 although their existence had previously been theorized by other scientists. As a result, the belts are known as the Van Allen belts.

Earth has two permanent radiation belts, the inner and outer Van Allen belts, although NASA’s Van Allen Probes, or Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), which were launched in August 2012, showed that a third belt can form and dissipate.

Low Level Jets (LLJ) and Atmospheric Rivers (AR)

LLJ is a region of relatively strong winds in the lower part of the atmosphere. Specifcally, it often refers to a southerly wind maximum in the boundary layer, common over the Plains states at night during the warm season.
* It is formed during a cold night after a warm day where dry winds prevail, as these conditions lead to temperature inversion with high pressure at the ground level and low pressure above.
* This sharp pressure gradient results in formation of winds with great speed at lower levels.
* In the North American Great Plains a southerly low-level jet helps fuel overnight thunderstorm activity.
* Both AR and LLJ affect highly sensitive regions such as Antarctic and Arctic.
* Rainfall from Low Level Jets (LLJ) occurs mostly in summer whereas Atmospheric Rivers produce rainfall in winters too.
* Atmospheric Rivers is mostly an extra tropical phenomenon, whereas LLJ can occur in both tropical and extra tropical regions.

Mesentery: A new organ has been discovered

  • Researchers have classified a new organ called “mesentery” in the digestive system inside human body.
  • The research has been published in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.
  • J Calvin Coffey is the lead researcher from the University Hospital Limerick in Ireland.
  • The world’s best-known series of medical textbooks, Gray’s Anatomy, has updated this to include the new definition.
  • With the discovery of Mesentery, now there are a total of 79 organs in the human body, divided into 13 major organ systems and seven regional groups.
  • Of those organs, five are considered vitals organs.
  • They are the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys and liver.

Key features of organ ‘Mesentery’

  • It is simply one continuous structure rather than earlier thought that it is made up of fragmented, separate structures.
  • Thus, it refutes the anatomic description that had been laid down over 100 years of anatomy.
  • Mesentery is a double fold of peritoneum – the lining of the abdominal cavity – that attaches our intestine to the wall of our abdomen, and keeps everything locked in place.

Why Mesentery classified as Organ?

  • Organs are typically classified by either their specific structure or a clear function.
  • The mesentery, Coffey argues, should be considered an organ because it holds up our intestines (a discrete role) and has a distinct structure.
  • It has a beginning and an end, and in between it kind of fans out like a Chinese fan, and is usually about two feet long.

Importance of the discovery

  • Although the structure of this new organ is clearly understood, its function is still poorly understood.
  • The reclassification opens up a whole new field of medical science that could lead to improved health outcomes.

Studying structure and function of newly discovered organ could be the key to better understanding and treatment of abdominal and digestive disease.

Black carbon and Brown Carbon

  • Black Carbon is inorganic in nature consisting of soot particles that directly come out of combustion processes.
  • Brown Carbon or organic carbon comes from complex organic reactions in the airborne atmospheric particles.
  • It includes tar, products from biomass burning, compounds given off by vegetation.
  • Both Black carbon and Brown carbon absorbs sunlight and thus in turn warms the atmosphere

Black rice gains popularity in Assam

  • A variety of Black rice or purple rice recently has gained popularity in Assam.
  • It was recently sown by the local farmers for the first time in Barak Valley.
  • It is also known as world super food because of its high nutrition value, unique texture and intriguing nutty äavor.
  • It is known for its powerful disease-fighting antioxidants and also contains dietary fiber, anti-inflammable properties.

It has the ability to help stop the development of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even weight gain.

New Super heavy element in the atomic table

  • The Super heavy element 117 has been
    officially named “tennessine”.
  • The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) which validates the existence of newly discovered elements and
    approves their official names – gave its final approval to the name “tennessine”.
  • The specific spelling of tennessine was chosen because the new element is classified as a halogen.

Key proteins that make Zika virus so deadly identified

  • In a first comprehensive description of the Zika virus genome, scientists have identified seven key proteins that may make the virus so deadly.
  • Over the past year, scientists have learned that it can cause a range of dangerous health problems, including birth defects such as microcephaly and neurological problems such as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
  • However, they did not know which Zika protein or proteins are causing harm, or exactly how these proteins cause damage.

Study Findings:

  • A new study by scientists at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine (UM SOM) in the U.S. has for the first time identified seven key proteins in the virus that may be the culprits behind this damage.
  • The study is the first comprehensive description of the Zika virus genome.
  • “The mechanism of this virus has been a real mystery,” said the lead researcher on the study.
  • These results give us crucial insight into how Zika affects cells. 
  • Zika virus has infected hundreds of thousands of people around the world, mostly in the Americas. In the U.S. and its territories, more than 38,000 Zika cases have been reported so far, most of them in Puerto Rico. There are no vaccines or treatments to prevent or treat the symptoms of Zika infection.
  • To test the virus, Mr. Zhao used fission yeast, a species that in recent years has become a relatively common way to test how pathogens affect cells.

Fission yeast used

Fission yeast was originally used to make beer, particularly in Africa, where it originated. Over decades, fission yeast has been used by many scientists to find out mechanisms and behaviour of cells.

Scientific Social Responsibility

  • Prime Minister has underlined the need to inculcate the concept of ‘scientific social responsibility,’ akin to corporate social responsibility, to connect the leading institutions with all stakeholders, including schools and colleges.
  • The idea is to create an environment for sharing of ideas and resources by providing opportunity to the brightest and best of brains in every corner of India to excel in science.
  • “This will ensure that our youth get high-end training and exposure to the best of science and technology to make them job-ready in a competitive world”.
  • Pledging government’s support to building a strong S&T infrastructure that is accessible to academia, start-ups, industry and R&D labs, the Prime Minister sought to address the problems of ease of access, maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipments.
  • In this connection, he mooted the idea of establishing professionally-managed centres in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode to house high-value scientific equipment. 

Hub and spoke model

  • “Laboratories, research institutions and universities in each major city and region should be interlinked to function on a hub and spoke model.
  • The hubs will share major infrastructure, drive our national science missions and be the engines that link discovery to application.

Referring to the constraints involved in securing and completing research projects, he indicated the need to ensure ‘ease of doing science’ as an empowering factor for scientific delivery.

India’s first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post

  • Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupanidedicated India’s first laser technology-based advanced AVMS RTO check-post at Shamlaji of Aravalli district on Friday.
  • The check-post is equipped with advanced ray technology.
  • This decision has been taken with a view to eliminate irregularities and interventions done by middle-men. 
  • People about various pro-people steps taken by this government for all-round development of poor and tribal people, such as schools in tribal areas of the state, forest authority letters to Vanbandhus and assistance to sickle cell anemia patients etc.

State government is committed for strict implementation of ban on hookah bars and liquor prohibition to make our youth free from evil of bad habits.

All about E-Cigarettes

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), also called e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, vape pens, e-cigars, e-hookah, or vaping devices, are products that produce an aerosolized mixture containing flavoured liquids and nicotine that is inhaled by the user.
  • Although they are projected as ‘tobacco cessation’ products by various sellers, the lack of concrete evidence in support of this claim make them a serious public health threat
  • This is coupled with the absence of any regulatory approval for their use.
  • This is especially the case when one considers the increasing import of e-cigarettes into the country.
  • As e-cigarettes contain nicotine and not tobacco, they do not fall within the ambit of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), which mandates stringent health warnings on the packaging and advertisements of tobacco products.
  • Most e-commerce websites sell e-cigarettes as therapeutic products which enable people to quit smoking.
  • They do not even mention health warnings.
  • E-cigarettes are not meant for non-smokers.
  • Other dangers posed by e-cigarettes, which do not feature in the health warnings, are the possibilities of the product exploding (incidents have been reported globally) and accidental consumption of the liquid inside the e-cigarette, which leads to death.
  • The current unregulated sale of e-cigarettes is dangerous for a country like India where the number of smokers is on the decline (WHO Global Report, 2015)
  • It increases the possibility of e-cigarettes becoming a gateway for smoking by inducing nicotine addiction and perpetuating smoking by making it more attractive, thereby encouraging persons to become users of tobacco as well as e-cigarettes.
  • The Indian government has been slow to respond.
  • Since the first declaration of its intention to ban e-cigarettes containing nicotine in 2014, only Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Punjab have implemented the ban.
  • The State governments are adopting different routes: Punjab has classified nicotine as a poison, while Maharashtra treats it as an unapproved drug.

Lack of a uniform approach in dealing with this public health problem will not only jeopardise the health of the people, but will also enable the sellers of such products slip through the holes.

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