Daily Current Affairs-19th August 2019 : The Hindu

Daily Current Affairs-19th August 2019 contains all the relevant information which is important for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation.

Daily Current Affairs-19th August 2019 contains all the relevant information which is important for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation.

Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Maan-Dhan Scheme

It is a traders’ pension plan who will target enrolling 25 lakh subscribers in 2019-20 and 2 crore by 2023-24.

Apart from an online portal that will be launched, people will be able to apply for the scheme through the common service centres already in place.

Government is set to establish a pension fund to run the scheme. The Life Insurance Corporation of India has been selected as pension fund manager who is responsible for managing the pension fund, central record keeping agency and responsible for pension pay out.

Who all are eligible?

Traders who lie between the age group of 18-40 years who have an annual turnover of less than Rs. 1.5 crore are eligible.

The provisions of this scheme shall apply to the laghu vyaparis, who are self-employed and working as shop owners, retail traders, rice mill owners, oil mill owners, workshop owners, commission agents, brokers of real estate, owners of small hotels, restaurants and other laghu vyaparis. 


What makes the new drug-resistant TB drug so reliable?

Pretomanid – the most promising medicine so far for the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis – multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). It is only the third new anti-TB drug approved for use by FDA in more than 40 years.

New York-based non-profit organisation, TB Alliance developed and tested the drug in clinical trials.

Why the new drug is so promising to use?

One of the most important reason for the drug to be more promising is that the duration of treatment for drug-resistant TB can be drastically cut from 18-24 months to just 6-9 months when pretomanid drug is used along with two already approved drugs — bedaquiline and linezolid.

The three-drug regimen, which is completely oral, can also greatly improve the treatment success rate and potentially decrease the number of deaths due to better adherence to treatment.

What does the record says?

According to an estimate from World Health Organization, the treatment success in MDR-TB patients is about 54%, while it is just 30% in the case of XDR-TB patients. Most drugs are ineffective in people with XDR-TB and so a combination of 8 drugs for more than a year is need for XDR-TB treatment.

There are a number of factors on which treatment success XDR-TB depends. These includes :

  • The extent of the drug resistance
  • The severity of the disease
  • Whether the patient’s immune system is weakened, and 
  • Adherence to treatment.

Drugs used for treating MDR-TB and XDR-TB can cause serious adverse effects such as deafness. The drugs are highly toxic thus reducing adherence to treatment.

Extend of exposure of MDR-TB and XDR-TB

If people with TB do not respond to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, which are first-line TB drugs, then they are said to have MDR-TB.

People resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, along with any fluoroquinolone and at least any one of 3 injectable second-line drugs i.e., amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin are said to possess XDR-TB.

According to the  World Health Organisation’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2018, released last year, an estimated 4.5 lakh people across the world have MDR-TB and nearly 37,500 people have XDR-TB.


India has 24% of MDR-TB cases in the world

Who will be benefited from this new drug?

  • Pretomanid drug in addition to bedaquiline and linezolid is used for treating adults with XDR-TB.
  • If there is a case of MDR-TB, the 3-drug regimen containing pretomanid can be used only in those patients who are not able to withstand the MDR-TB treatment or are non-responsive to standard MDR-TB treatment regimen.
  • It is to be noted that the ‘three-drug regimen’ is designed only for treating pulmonary TB and should not be used for treating extra-pulmonary TB, drug-sensitive or latent TB.

How effectively does the drug treats XDR-TB and MDR-TB?

The BPaL regimen- short for the three drug regimen consisting of bedaquiline, pretomanid and linezolid when used for the clinical trials, the overall treatment success rate was nearly 91%.

How safe it is for clinical use?

  • The drug has been approved by the FDA based on limited clinical safety and efficacy data, and therefore, the drug should be restricted to specific population of patients.
  • It is to be noted that the safety of pretomanid has not been studied when used along with any other anti-TB drug other than bedaquiline and linezolid.
  • Also, the BPaL regimen should not be used in patients for whom bedaquiline and/or linezolid drug is not receommended. 

What are the various side-effects associated with the drug?

  • Some of its side-effects reported includes liver toxicity (hepatotoxicity), suppression of bone marrow activity leading to reduced production of red blood cells, while blood cells and platelets (myelosuppression), as well as peripheral and optic neuropathy.
  • It was found to cause a reduction in the size of the testes and probably even the function (testicular atrophy) and impaired fertility in male rats.
  • It is also said to be the reason for lactic acidosis i.e., it can cause lactate to accumulate in the body leading to sharp reduction in the pH of the blood.
  • Prolongation of the QT interval of ECG was also reported due to changes in the electrical activity of the heart was reported. Other common adverse reactions seen were :
    • Peripheral neuropathy
    • Anaemia
    • Indigestion (dyspepsia)
    • Lower respiratory tract infection
    • Visual impairment 
    • Hypoglycaemia
    • Abnormal loss of weight 
    • Diarrhoea 

What is the recommended dosage of the three drugs?

  • All the three drugs are to be administered orally. 
  • The dosage for pretomanid is 200 mg drug once every day for 26 weeks, while 1,200 mg of linezolid once daily for up to 26 weeks. 
  • In the case of bedaquiline, the dosage and frequency change mid-course. For the first two weeks the dosage is 400 mg once daily. The dosage reduces to 200 mg three times a week with at least 48 hours gap between doses for the remaining 24 weeks.
  • If for any  reason if either bedaquiline or pretomanid is discontinued, then intake of the entire combination should be discontinued.
  • If linezolid is permanently discontinued during the initial four consecutive weeks of treatment, then the other two drugs should also be discontinued.
  • If linezolid is discontinued after the initial four weeks of consecutive treatment, then the other two drugs — bedaquiline and pretomanid — can be continued to be administered.
  • If necessary, the duration of treatment can be extended beyond 26 weeks.

New species of freshwater fish

Two new species of freshwater fish from the north-eastern and northern parts of the country was discovered by the scientists of the Zoological Survey of India.

Glyptothorax gopii, new species of catfish (measuring 63 mm standard length without caudal fin) was found in Mizoram’s Kaladan river, It is is dark brown on its dorsal surface, and its ventral surface is of a yellowish-light brown.

Garra simbalbaraensis(measuring 69 mm standard length without caudal fin) has a yellowish-grey colour fading ventrally. was found in Himachal Pradesh’s Simbalbara river. It has a prominent unilobed and rounded proboscis with tubercles that help the fish in manoeuvrability.

According to the experts, the origin or evolution of the fishes in the Himalayas and north-eastern parts of India must have been the consequence or after-effects of orogenic events (geological movement) at various stages in the Himalayas’ uplift.


Odisha to conserve two of its largest lakes

An estimated investment of Rs.180 crore has been planned by the Odisha Wetland Authority who has approved implementation of an integrated management plan for Chilika, country’s largest brackish water lagoon, and Ansupa, State’s largest freshwater lake.

What is to be done?

The 5-year management of lakes is aimed at strengthening livelihood of thousands of fishermen who rely on the two water-bodies. Also, Tourism promotion and Conservation of ecology are part of the conservation plan.

About Chilika Lake

Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, which is spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 km2.

It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent and is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals. The highly productive Chilika Lagoon eco-system with its rich fishery resources sustains the livelihood for many fishermen who live in and near the lagoon.

The rare and threatened animal species identified here includes the following :

  • Green sea turtle (EN)
  • Dugong (VU)
  • Irrawaddy dolphin (EN)
  • Blackbuck (NT)
  • Spoon billed sandpiper (CR) 
  • Chilika limbless skink (CR) 
  • Fishing cat (VU). 

Apart from the above mentioned species, 24 mammalian species and 37 species of reptiles and amphibians are also reported.

About Ansupa Lake

  • It is a 141-hectare horseshoe-shaped fresh water lake on the left bank of the Mahanadi river, opposite Banki in Cuttack district, Odisha
  • It is one of the major fresh-water lakes of India
  • Ansupa is spread over almost 2 sq km is also the wintering ground for 32 species of migratory birds. As many as 250 fishermen of two villages around the lake would be benefited by an investment of Rs. 21.23 crore
  • It is famous for its sweet water fish, especially labeo bata locally known as pohala.

Carbon Dots/Photo-Dynamic Therapy

Researchers in the UK have developed a new technique that could make light-based cancer treatment more effective and safer for patients while reducing its cost. Light-based or photo-dynamic therapy is already a clinically-approved treatment, which uses drugs that only work when exposed to light to destroy cancer cells.

However, many of these drugs are frequently toxic even without light, causing many side effects in patients and leading to treatment failure.

Now, researchers in the UK have sought to improve these drugs by using small carbon dots as a way to get the drug to the tumour.

Carbon dots are fluorescent nano-particles with very little toxicity, making them extremely useful for this application.


BUNKER MUSEUM

The Museum has been inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai. The bunker was discovered by the Maharashtra Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, along with two identical canons, atop the foothills of Raj Bhavan, which is situated at the tip of south Mumbai.

The bunker resembles a fort and is made up of 13 rooms, which can be accessed by passing  through a 20-foot-tall gate. It was created in the 19th century to fire cannons at approaching enemy ships. The 15,000 sq. feet underground restored bunker museum has virtual reality booths in which visitors can time travel to the 19th century. The museum will be opened for the general public with an online booking facility later this year.


QUICK FEEDS 

  • CHINA launched rocket for commercial use. The Smart Dragon-1 rocket, which weighs 23 tonnes, put 3 satellites into orbit.
  • Pune Metro to get ultra-modern, state-of-the-art aluminium-bodied coaches for the first time. So far, Metros in the country have used stainless steel-bodied coaches. 
    • This will be the first time that aluminium-bodied coaches, which are said to be lighter in weight, more energy efficient and have better aesthetics, will be manufactured in India.
  • 100 Years of Chrysostum’ : A biographical documentary on Metropolitan Emeritus of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, Philipose Mar Chrysostum
    • The work has entered the Guinness Book as the longest documentary. 
    • The 48-hour and 8 minutes documentary has broken the record of the 21- hour Saudi Arabian documentary ‘World of Snakes’.
  • Terror moves by Taliban has reached its peak in Afghanistan. Around 65% of the Afghanistan’s districts housing more than 52%  of its population are either under Taliban’s control or contested. 
  • World Honey Bee Day was observed on August 17, 2019. It is always observed on every third Saturday in August.
    • It was started by beekeepers in the USA in 2009. Gradually, other countries also started observing it every year.
    • The major objective of the day was to build community awareness of the bee industry, through education and promotion.
    • There are a number of institutions which have been set up by the Government of India which includes :
      • Central Bee Research & Training Institutie at Pune, established in 1962 by Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to develop techniques suited to Indian Beekeeping.
      • Agricultural Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Industry is the nodal agency to promote exports of honey.

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