Keeping in mind the need of UPSC IAS Exam, 3rd APRIL 2020 CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY compilation has been prepared. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source. These includes The Hindu, The Indian Express, Business Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.
As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked for you.
Context: To reduce the load of COVID-19 infections in India, the Department of Science and Technology– Science and Engineering Board (DST-SERB) has announced several special research project.
These projects calls to urgently ramp up national R&D efforts against the epidemic.
OVERVIEW OF THE PROJECTS FOR COVID-19
- DST-SERB has launched a total of 5 projects to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Out of these 5 projects, 3 projects concern the highly important issue of antiviral and virustatic surface coating of inanimate surfaces such as personal protection equipment (PPE);
- One among these projects deals with the identification of metabolite biomarkers in CoVID-19 infected patients. This will enable the therapeutic target identification;
- The last of the 5 projects, concerns with the development of antibodies against the receptor-binding domain of the spike glycoprotein of coronavirus.
KEY DETAILS OF THE PROJECT FOR COVID-19
PROJECT 1: Identification of global metabolite biomarkers in CoVID-19 infected patients for targeted therapy
- This will identify the global metabolite biomarkers in CoVID-19 infected patients.
- It will also help in search of potential biomarker signature for CoVID infection and aid in recognition of novel targets for therapy.
PROJECT 2: Development of functionalized inanimate surfaces with repurposable multi-targeted viricidal agents/drugs for preventive and cost-effective antiviral applications
- It will help develop viricidal coatings for inanimate surfaces used in healthcare settings. These inanimate surfaces includes surgical masks and suits for the prevention of infectious diseases caused by highly contagious pathogens.
PROJECT 3: Development of antiviral surface coatings to prevent the spread of infections caused by influenza virus
- The main objective of the proposal is to develop small molecular and polymeric compounds.
- These compounds will be coated (both covalently as well as non-covalently) on various surfaces and kill respiratory viruses completely upon contact.
PROJECT 4: Development of formulations for viral decontamination of inanimate surfaces
- This will help in development of material which may be used as a virus tactic.
- Such materials can be applied to mops to disinfect the surfaces to remove any adhering viruses or bacteria.
PROJECT 5: Antibody-based capture of 2019-nCoV and its inactivation using lipid-based in situ gel
- This project will help in developoping antibodies against the receptor-binding domain of the spike glycoprotein of CoV involved in recognizing a host cell-surface recepto called zinc peptidase angiotensin-converting enzyme 2.
- Another objective is to develop unsaturated free fatty acid-based emulsion which is loaded in-situ gels.
- This emulsion will help to inactivate the virus at the point of entry.
Context: SCTIMST ties up with Wipro 3D to manufacture automated ventilators to meet COVID 19 related crisis.
ABOUT THE DEAL
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) is an institute of National Importance of the Department of Science and Technology. It has tied up with Wipro 3D, Bengaluru to jointly build up on a prototype of an emergency ventilator system.
This portotype will be based on Artificial Manual Breathing Unit (AMBU), developed by SCTIMST followed by its clinical trial and manufacture.
HOW IT WILL HELP?
The ventilators can help meet urgent requirements arising out of the Covid 19 related crisis that the country is facing.
AMBU bag or a bag-valve-mask (BVM) is a hand-held device used to provide positive pressure ventilation to a patient who is either not breathing or who is breathing inadequately.
However, the use of a regular AMBU needs a bystander for its operations who is highly susceptible and non-advisable to be in close contact with the COVID-19 patient.
Now, this portable and lightweight device enables positive pressure ventilation with a controlled rate of expiration, Inspiratory to Expiratory Ratio, Tidal Volume, etc.
Also, a PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) Valve can be added as an extra component to maintain pressure on the lower airways at the end of the breathing cycle, which prevents the alveoli from collapsing during expiration.
The automatic device will minimize the need of support personnel in the isolation room, thereby enabling a safer and effective lung-protective operation to COVID patients.
WHAT ARE VENTILATORS?
A ventilator is a machine that provides mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air into and out of the lungs. It helps to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently.
Ventilators are chiefly used in intensive care medicine, home care, and emergency medicine (as standalone units) and in anesthesiology (as a component of an anesthesia machine).
Context: Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions released the National Preparedness Survey COVID-19.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS SURVEY COVID-19
- The COVID 19 National Preparedness Survey 2020 was conducted in 410 Districts in the Country within 3 working days.
- District Collectors and IAS officers of (2014-2018) batches who have served as Assistant Secretaries in Government of India participated in the survey.
- The Survey points out that India’s response has been coherent, purposeful and determined.
- The Survey has highlighted that the policy actions of the Government. These includes Janata Curfew, National Lockdown, the Economic Package of Rs. 1.7 billion, the RBI announcements are steps which have received overwhelming support.
KEY OBJECTIVES OF THE SURVEY
- Developing a comparative analysis of COVID 19 preparedness across States.
- Highlighting the main priorities and constraints of COVID 19 preparedness, as they are perceived by the civil servants working in the field.
- Accessing enabling factors in making institutional/ logistics/ hospital preparedness, etc.
- Capturing trends to identify systemic and process related deficiencies, in combating COVID 19 in the districts of India.
HOW THIS SURVEY IS GOING TO BE HELPFUL IN COMBATING WITH THIS OUTBREAK?
Government of India has conducted this Survey in order to keep track of the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic in the country. This Survey helps the authorities to develop a comparative analysis of COVID 19 preparedness across States.
State-specific measures can be taken if the authorities are well aware of the situation of outbreak in different States. Further, this Survey also analyse the amount of assistance required to be provided to each State in case of this pandemic outbreak. Further, this Survey also enables the Government to analyse the amount of effort need to be applied to cope up with this situation.
Context: The Government has provided relief for third party Motor Insurance & Health policy holder in the light of COVID-19 lockdown.
The Ministry of Finance has issued notifications on April 1, 2020, which stated that the renewal dates of Health and Motor insurance policies which fall in the period from March 25, 2020, to April 14, 2020, are extended till April 21, 2020 due to coronavirus lockdown.
WHAT DOES THIS MOTOR & HEALTH POLICY HOLDER RELIEF PACK MEAN?
FOR THIRD PARTY MOTOR INSURANCE
If any person’s current compulsory third-party Motor insurance policy is expiring between March 25, 2020, and April 14, 2020, and that person is not able to renew its policy because of country-wide lockdown then he/she can renew such motor insurance policy by April 21, 2020.
FOR REGULAR HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY
Similarly, if any person’s health insurance policy is expiring and is due for renewal in the period from March 25, 2020, to April 14, 2020, then he/she can renew its policy by April 21, 2020.
HOW IS THIS MOTOR & HEALTH POLICY RELIEF PACK IS HELPFUL WHEN COMPARED TO NORMAL SITUATION?
In case of regular policy holders, if he/she fails to pay the premium by the renewal date he/she gets a certain grace period to pay it. The policy can be renewed by paying the renewal premium during this grace period.
However, during the grace period (till policy is renewed) the policyholder is not covered/insured and cannot file any claim for any medical or health event/accident/treatment taken during the grace period.
Also, the insurance company can ask the insured to undergo a medical test/check up before renewing the policy during grace period.
So, such a relief package will eliminate the above scenarios till 21st April 2020 so that the policy holders may not face any difficulties amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Context: The Government of India today launched the AarogyaSetu Mobile App developed in public-private partnership to bring the people of India together in a resolute fight against COVID-19.
WHAT IS THIS MOBILE APP?
This Mobile App, called ‘AarogyaSetu’ joins Digital India for the health and well-being of every Indian. It will enable people to assess themselves the risk for their catching the Corona Virus infection.
It will calculate this vulnerability factor based on their interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.
HOW THIS APP WORKS?
When this Mobile app is installed in a smart phone through an easy and user-friendly process, the app detects other devices with AarogyaSetu installed that come in the proximity of that phone. The app can then calculate the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters if any of these contacts is tested positive.
HOW BENEFICIAL IS THIS MOBILE APP?
The App will help the Government take necessary timely steps for assessing risk of spread of COVID-19 infection, and ensuring isolation where required.
The App’s design ensures privacy-first. The personal data collected by the App is encrypted using state-of-the-art technology and stays secure on the phone till it is needed for facilitating medical intervention.
Available in 11 languages, the App is ready for pan-India use from day-1 and has highly scalable architecture.
Further, this app is at once a bridge between public and private sectors, digital technology and health services delivery and the potential of young India with a disease-free and healthy future of the nation.
Context: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a bio suit to keep the medical, paramedical and other personnel engaged in combating COVID-19 safe from the deadly virus.
These Biosuits by DRDO acts as first line of defence for the medical staff working in this pandemic scenario.
WHAT ARE THESE BIOSUITS BY DRDO?
Biosuit is basically the protective suit for medical personnel who has been working against the contagious COVID-19 virus. This suit has been developed by DRDO so that these personnel remain safe from any kind of infection while treating the infected patients.
HOW THIS SUIT HAS BEEN PREPARED?
Scientists at various DRDO laboratories have applied their technical know-how and expertise in textile, coating and nano-technology to develop the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) having specific type of fabric with coating.
The suit has been prepared with the help of the industry and subjected to rigorous testing for textile parameters as well as protection against synthetic blood.
The protection against synthetic blood exceeds the criteria defined for body suits by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
HOW THESE BIOSUITS BY DRDO OVERCAME THE EXISTING PRODUCTION ISSUES?
The key problem area in the production of bio suits by DRDO and its industry partners is the non-availability of seam sealing tapes. Now, the DRDO has prepared a special sealant as an alternative to seam sealing tape based on the sealant used in submarine applications.
Presently, bio suits prepared using this glue for seam sealing by an industry partner has cleared test at Southern India Textile Research Association (SITRA) Coimbatore. This can be a game changer for the textile industry. The DRDO can mass produce this glue through industry to support the seam sealing activity by suit manufacturers.
WHAT ARE THE EFFORTS MADE BY DRDO LABORATORIES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS?
Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE) Gwalior, a laboratory of DRDO, has developed Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Permeable Suit Mk V. Fifty three thousand suits have been supplied to Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
For first responders attending to radiological emergencies, a reusable suit has been developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS) Delhi.
Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) Agra has developed various types of parachutes with fabrics similar to protective technical textiles.
Context: Naval Dockyard, Mumbai has designed and developed its own handheld IR based low cost temperature gun for undertaking screening of large number of personnel at the entry gates of the yard reducing the load on the security sentries at the gate.
WHAT IS A TEMPERATURE GUN?
A temperature gun is a device that measures the temperature of whatever the gun is pointed. Alternatively, it is also referred to as an infrared thermometer. It basically works on the principal of detection of infrared radiation from a heat generating body.
The infrared radiation generated by the body are captured by the gun and reflected as readings in Celsius or Fahrenheit scale.
ABOUT THE NEWLY DEVELOPED LOW-COST IR THERMOMETER
Naval Dockyard, Mumbai has designed and developed its own handheld IR based low cost temperature gun. This instrument has been manufactured under Rs. 1000/ – through in-house resources (which is fraction of the cost of the Temperature Guns in the market).
IR based temperature sensor with accuracy of 0.02 deg Celsius. The non-contact thermometer has a Infrared sensor and an LED display integrated with a micro-controller which runs on a 9V battery.
WHAT IS THE REASON BEHIND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS TEMPERATURE GUN?
The 285 year old Naval Dockyard (ND) of Western Naval Command (WNC) has an average influx of around 20,000 personnel entering its premises every day.
In view of COVID-19, initial screening of these personnel entering the dockyard was essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the yard and the Western Fleet.
The most preliminary method to screen a probable patient is to check for body temperature by a non-contact means.
This initiative has provided a tool for undertaking screening of large number of personnel at the entry gates of the yard thereby reducing the load on the security sentries at the gate.
Context: National Cadet Corps (NCC) has offered a helping hand to civilian authorities in the country’s fight against COVID-19 by extending the services of cadets under ‘Ex NCC Yogdan’.
ELIGIBILITY AND TASKS OFFERED UNDER EX NCC YOGDAN
TASKS: The tasks envisaged for NCC cadets include, manning of helpline/call centres; distribution of relief materials/medicines/ food/essential commodities; community assistance; data management and queue & traffic management.
ELIGIBLITY: According to the guidelines, cadets should not be employed in handling of law and order situation or for active military duties or at hot spots.
Only Senior Division volunteer cadets above 18 years of age will be employed.
They should be employed in small cohesive groups of eight to 20 under the supervision of Permanent Instructor Staff or/and an Associate NCC Officer.
For employment of volunteer cadets, State governments /district administration has to send the requisition through State NCC Directorates.
Before the cadets are deployed for the duty, ground conditions and laid down requirements are to be ensured.
ABOUT NATIONAL CADET CORPS (NCC)
The NCC, which operates under Ministry of Defence, is the largest uniformed youth organisation of the country and has been engaged in conducting various social service and community development activities.
It was formed in India by the National Cadet Corps Act of 1948.
Its cadets have been contributing to the national cause during natural calamities like floods, cyclone, etc since its inception.
HEADQUARTER: New Delhi, Delhi, India.
MOTTO: Unity and discipline