Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020 + PIB Summary

These are the 8th June 2020 current affairs. These current affairs are prepared from relevant sources like The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB, BusinessLine.

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020 + PIB Summary

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020
Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Keeping in mind the need of UPSC IAS Exam, 8th June 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 “8th June 2020 CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY” includes topics form  The HinduThe Indian ExpressBusiness StandardPress Information Bureau, etc.

As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic in 8th June 2020 CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY compilation has been handpicked for you.



DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: 29th MAY 2020: THE HINDU + PIB

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS QUIZ: 29th MAY 2020: THE HINDU + PIB



‘Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings’ Initiative

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Source | Press Information Bureau


GS Paper II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.



‘Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings’ Initiative

Key Takeaways

  • ‘Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings’ Initiative has been launched by EESL on the occasion of the World Environment day i.e, 5th June.
  • Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is an energy service company (ESCO) of the Government of India and is the world’s largest public ESCO.

Read More: Most Heat Resistant Material ever created


Context: “Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings” initiative has been launched by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) MAITREE program.

  • The initiative will pioneer ways to make workplaces healthier and greener.

What you need to know about the ‘Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings’ Initiative?

  • ‘Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings’ Initiative has been launched by EESL on the occasion of the World Environment day i.e, 5th June. With the help of this initiative, EESL aims to address the challenges of retrofitting existing buildings and air conditioning systems so that they are both healthy and energy efficient.
  • The initiative, implemented by the EESL in its office, will pave the way for other buildings to take appropriate steps to be healthy and energy efficient.
  • This will help in developing specifications for future use in other buildings throughout the country, as well as aid in evaluating the effectiveness and cost benefits of various technologies and their short and long-term impacts on air quality, comfort, and energy use.


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What is the need of such an initiative?

  • For quite some time, poor air quality has been a concern in India and has become more important in light of the present Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.
  • Amid this situation, as people return to their offices and public spaces, maintaining good indoor air quality is essential for occupant comfort, well-being, productivity and the overall public health.
  • It is also to be noted that most buildings in India are not equipped to establish and maintain healthy indoor air quality and need to be upgraded. Such retrofit measures, like increasing outside air and additional filtration in the air conditioning system, typically come at the cost of occupant comfort and increased energy use.
  • Further, there are no standardized approaches to retrofitting.

What you should know about Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)?

  • Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is an energy service company (ESCO) of the Government of India and is the world’s largest public ESCO.
  • It is 100% government owned, a joint venture of state-owned NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and POWERGRID.
  • EESL was formed under India’s Ministry of Power to facilitate energy efficiency projects. Innovative business and implementation models can significantly reduce consumption and costs.
  • It aims to create market access for efficient and future-ready transformative solutions that create a win-win situation for every stakeholder.
  • It helps in implementing programmes such as UnnatJyoti by Affordable LED for All (UJALA), Smart Meters, etc.

Read More: CoAST India Platform | A GIS-Based Dashboard



Magnetocaloric Material for Cancer Treatment

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Source | Press Information Bureau


GS Paper III: Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.



Rare Earth Based Magnetocaloric Material for cancer treatment

Key Takeaways

  • Magnetocaloric effect (MCE) is a phenomenon where the application and removal of a magnetic field causes certain materials to get warmer and cooler, respectively.
  • This method, when used in conjunction with radiation therapy, would reduce the side effects, damage caused to the human body and also reduce the treatment time of cancer tumours.

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Context: A rare-earth-based magnetocaloric material that can be effectively used for cancer treatment has been developed by the Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST).

  • The magnetocaloric materials developed by ARCI are being tested at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology (SCTIMST).


What is Magnetocaloric Effect and what are Magnetocaloric materials?

Magnetocaloric effect (MCE) is a phenomenon where the application and removal of a magnetic field causes certain materials to get warmer and cooler, respectively. This effect normally occurs near its Curie temperature (Curie point. Curie point, also called Curie Temperature, temperature at which certain magnetic materials undergo a sharp change in their magnetic properties.) where the application of field makes the material to warm up and cools up when the field is removed.

  • Magnetocaloric effect is utilized in magnetic refrigeration, which is an environmentally friendly technology to obtain cooling efficiency nearly 60 % compared to the conventional gas-compression refrigerators (40 %). However high magnetic fields of above 2 T are required.
  • Magnetocaloric Materials are certain materials in which application and removal of a magnetic field causes the materials to become warmer or cooler.

What you need to know about the Magnetocaloric Material for Cancer Treatment?

MAGNETOCALORIC MATERIALS
MAGNETOCALORIC MATERIALS

NEED FOR THE DEVELOPPMENT

  • Advancements in magnetic materials led to the development of magnetic hyperthermia to try to address the issues of side effects of cancer treatment like chemotherapy.
  • In magnetic hyperthermia, magnetic nanoparticles are subjected to alternating magnetic fields of few Gauss, which produce heat due to magnetic relaxation losses.
  • Usually, the temperature required to kill the tumor cells is between 40 and 45°C. However, the drawback in magnetic hyperthermia is the lack of control of temperature, which may damage the healthy cells in the body and also have side effects like increased blood pressure etc.
  • These problems can be avoided by using magnetocaloric materials, as it can provide controlled heating.

ADVANTAGE OF USING MAGNETOCALORIC MATERIALS

The major advantage of magnetocaloric materials which heat up or cool down with the application and removal of the magnetic field, respectively is that as soon as the magnetic field is removed, cooling effect is generated, unlike in magnetic nanoparticles where overheating persists, even after removal of the magnetic field.

This method, when used in conjunction with radiation therapy, would reduce the side effects, damage caused to the human body and also reduce the treatment time of cancer tumours.


Read More: Science Technology & Innovation Policy : STIP 2020



Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Source | Press Information Bureau


GS Paper II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.



Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Key Takeaways

  • The study was conducted applying two approaches through the application of transfer learning using a pre-trained deep convolutional neural network (CNN).
  • Oral cancer is the third-most-common form of cancer in India with over 77 000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (2.3:1 male to female ratio).

Read More: Injectable SF Hydrogel (iSFH) developed


Context: An artificial intelligence (AI) based algorithms as an aid to rapid diagnosis and prediction of oral squamous cell carcinoma has been developed by the scientists.

  • The work has been done by the scientists at the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India.


About the latest development regarding Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • The study was conducted applying two approaches through the application of transfer learning using a pre-trained deep convolutional neural network (CNN).
    • Convolutional networks were inspired by biological processes in that the connectivity pattern between neurons resembles the organization of the animal visual cortex.
    • Individual cortical neurons respond to stimuli only in a restricted region of the visual field known as the receptive field.
    • The receptive fields of different neurons partially overlap such that they cover the entire visual field.
  • An indigenous dataset was developed by the scientists through collaborations to make for the unavailability of any benchmark oral cancer dataset for the study.
  • Four candidate pre-trained models, namely Alexnet, VGG-16, VGG-19, and Resnet-50, were chosen to find the most suitable model for the classification problem, and a proposed CNN model developed to fit the problem.
  • Although the highest classification accuracy of 92.15% was achieved by the Resnet-50 model, the experimental findings highlight that the proposed CNN model outperformed the transfer learning approaches displaying accuracy of 97.5%.

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What you need to know about Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most common oral malignancy (abnormal cell division), representing up to 80-90% of all malignant neoplasms of the oral cavity.

Although oral cancer incidence is highly variable worldwide, it is accepted that oral cavity ranges from the 6th to the 9th most common anatomical location for cancer, depending mostly on the country (and even specific region in some countries) and gender of the patients.

  • Around 16.1% of all cancers amongst men and 10.4% amongst women are oral cancer, and the picture is all the more alarming in NE India.
  • Oral cavity cancers are also known to have a high recurrence rate compared to other cancers due to the high consumption of betel nut and tobacco.
  • Major cause of development of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma include mostly smoking and drinking habits, and ultraviolet radiation (specifically for lip cancer), but several other factors such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and Candida infections, nutritional deficiencies and genetic predisposition have been also associated.
  • OSCC is a disease of adults and elderly and its most common clinical aspect is an ulcerated lesion with necrotic central area surrounded by elevated rolled borders.

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This cancer group is characterized by epithelial squamous tissue differentiation and aggressive tumour growth, disrupting the basement membrane of the inner cheek region and thus can be graded by Broder’s histopathological system as:

  • Well-differentiated SCC (WDSCC)
  • Moderately differentiated SCC (MDSCC)
  • Poorly differentiated SCC (PDSCC).

In 2018, oral cancer occurred globally in about 355,000 people, and resulted in 177,000 deaths. Oral cancer is the third-most-common form of cancer in India with over 77 000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (2.3:1 male to female ratio).

  • Studies estimate over five deaths per hour. One of the reasons behind such high incidence might be popularity of betel and areca nuts, which are considered to be risk factors for development of oral cavity cancers.

Read More: PLACEBO EFFECT IN MUMBAI



Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in India

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Source | Press Information Bureau


GS Paper II: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.



ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ODR) in India

Key Takeaways

  • Covid-19 has instilled an urgent need for ODR that requires decisive action, with the likelihood of a spurt in disputes before the courts—most notably in lending, credit, property, commerce, and retail.
  • Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is the resolution of disputes, particularly small- and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of alternate dispute resolution (ADR), such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

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Context: For advancing online dispute resolution in India, NITI Aayog, in association with Agami and Omidyar Network India, brought together key stakeholders in a virtual meeting on 6 June 2020.

  • The common theme was a multi-stakeholder agreement to work collaboratively to ensure efforts are taken to scale online dispute resolution in India.
  • Covid-19 has instilled an urgent need for ODR that requires decisive action, with the likelihood of a spurt in disputes before the courts—most notably in lending, credit, property, commerce, and retail.
  • In the coming months, ODR could be the mechanism that helps with achieving expedient resolution.


What you need to know about Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)?

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is the resolution of disputes, particularly small- and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of alternate dispute resolution (ADR), such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

  • While courts are becoming digitized through the efforts of the judiciary, more effective, scalable, and collaborative mechanisms of containment and resolution are urgently needed.
  • ODR can help resolve disputes efficiently and affordably.

Status of Online Dispute Resolution in India

  • Online dispute resolution (ODR) in India is in its infancy stage and it is gaining prominence day by day.
  • With the enactment of Information Technology Act, 2000 in India, e-commerce and e-governance have been given a formal and legal recognition in India.
  • Even the traditional arbitration law of India has been reformulated and now India has Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 in place that is satisfying the harmonised standards of UNCITRAL Model.
  • Further, the amendment made in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 by introducing section 89 was made to provide methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in India.

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PROBLEM WITH EXISTING SYSTEM: The existing dispute redressal mechanisms are falling short of the business growth and customer expectations. Conventional redressal systems require presence of the parties, and are not in synch with modern online platforms.

STEPS TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India has taken note of this and has planned to roll out an Online Consumer Dispute Resolution platform that follows the best practices emerging in the global e-Commerce arena.
  • There is another initiative called ODRways, started by students of NUJS, which is working towards promoting mediation in India, by integrating it with technology.
  • They have developed an online mediation platform for small civil claim disputes.
  • They are also working towards building an online platform for mediators in India, which will make it easier for the general public to engage with mediators when they have disputes.

ROLE OF PRIVATE PLAYERS

  • With the dawn of sophisticated dispute redressal mechanisms, a few legal tech companies in the country are testing the waters for deploying ODR as a means to resolve legal disputes.
  • Presolv360 is one such company that specializes in online commercial dispute resolution.
  • It has an interesting approach of charging its customers an annual commitment fee in return for the use of its sophisticated Arbitration360 and Mediation360 modules free of cost.
  • This unique business model together with a bespoke cloud-based platform make Presolv360 a promising company in the ODR landscape in India.

Read More: Fall in Indian Investment Rating



Phase-II clinical trial on AQCH

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Source | The Hindu


GS Paper II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.



Phase-II clinical trial on AQCH

Key Takeaways

  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. which includes its subsidiaries and/or associate companies has commenced Phase-II clinical trial on AQCH, a phytopharmaceutical (plant-derived) drug for treatment for COVID-19.
  • The company had received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for conducting Phase-II clinical trial in April this year.

Read More: Antimicrobial composite materials developed by IISC


Context: In a recent approach toward fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Sun Pharma initiates Phase-II clinical trial on AQCH for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

  • The clinical trial will be conducted across 12 centers in India in 210 patients.
  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. which includes its subsidiaries and/or associate companies has commenced Phase-II clinical trial on AQCH, a phytopharmaceutical (plant-derived) drug for treatment for COVID-19.
  • The company had received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for conducting Phase-II clinical trial in April this year.
  • For patients the duration of treatment will be 10 days and the results of the trial are expected by October 2020.
  • This is the first phytopharmaceutical drug approved for clinical trials by the DCGI as a potential treatment for COVID-19.


Read More: Ashwagandha against COVID-19


What you need to know about AQCH and its Clinical trials?

  • AQCH is derived from tropical, climbing shrub cocculus hirsutus, which is used in Asia for its apparent medicinal properties.
  • AQCH has shown anti-SARS-CoV-2 effects in in-vitro studies conducted in collaboration with ICGEB, Italy.
  • AQCH, which is being developed for dengue, has shown broad antiviral effect in in vitro studies and hence is being tested as a potential treatment option for COVID-19.
  • The work on evaluation of plant-derived drugs for the treatment of dengue started in 2007 under the auspices of the Department of Biotechnology’s (DBT) Task Force on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.

What you need to know about Phases of Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials involving new drugs are commonly classified into four phases. Individual trials may encompass more than one phase. The drug development process will normally proceed through all four phases over many years.

  • If the drug successfully passes through Phases I, II, and III, it will usually be approved by the national regulatory authority for use in the general population.
  • Phase IV are ‘post-approval’ studies.
  • The entire process of developing a drug from preclinical research to marketing can take approximately 12 to 18 years and often costs well over $1 billion.

PHASE I CLINICAL TRIALS

  • These trials are the first stage of testing in human subjects.
  • They are designed to test the safety, side effects, best dose, and formulation method for the drug.
  • Normally, a small group of 20–100 healthy volunteers will be recruited.
  • These trials are often conducted in a clinical trial clinic, where the subject can be observed by full-time staff.

PHASE II CLINICAL TRIALS

  • Phase II trials are performed on larger groups (100–300)
  • These are designed to assess how well the drug works, as well as to continue Phase I safety assessments in a larger group of volunteers and patients.
  • When the development process for a new drug fails, this usually occurs during Phase II trials when the drug is discovered not to work as planned, or to have toxic effects.
  • Phase II clinical programs historically have experienced the lowest success rate of the four development phases.

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PHASE III CLINICAL TRIALS

  • This phase is designed to assess the effectiveness of the new intervention and, thereby, its value in clinical practice.
  • Phase III studies are randomized controlled multicenter trials on large patient groups (300–3,000 or more depending upon the disease/medical condition studied).
  • These are aimed at being the definitive assessment of how effective the drug is, in comparison with current ‘gold standard’ treatment.
  • Because of their size and comparatively long duration, Phase III trials are the most expensive, time-consuming and difficult trials to design and run, especially in therapies for chronic medical conditions.
  • This is sometimes called the “pre-marketing phase” because it actually measures consumer response to the drug.
  • While not required in all cases, it is typically expected that there be at least two successful Phase III trials, demonstrating a drug’s safety and efficacy, in order to obtain approval from the appropriate regulatory agencies.
  • As of 2010, about 50% of drug candidates either fail during the Phase III trial or are rejected by the national regulatory agency.

PHASE IV CLINICAL TRIALS

  • Phase IV trial is also known as postmarketing surveillance trial, or informally as a confirmatory trial.
  • This involve the safety surveillance (pharmacovigilance) and ongoing technical support of a drug after it receives permission to be sold.
  • Phase IV studies may be required by regulatory authorities or may be undertaken by the sponsoring company for competitive (finding a new market for the drug) or other reasons.
  • The safety surveillance is designed to detect any rare or long-term adverse effects over a much larger patient population and longer time period than was possible during the Phase I-III clinical trials.
  • Harmful effects discovered by Phase IV trials may result in a drug being no longer sold, or restricted to certain uses.
  • The minimum time period mandatory for Phase IV clinical trials is 2 years.

Read More: Kangra Tea Lowers Coronavirus Activity


What you need to know about Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) ?

Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is a department of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of the Government of India. It is responsible for approval of licences of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids, vaccines, and sera in India.

Drug Controller General of India, comes under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. DCGI sets standards for manufacturing, sales, import, and distribution of drugs in India. On 14 August 2019VG Somani was appointed as Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

  • With the notification of Medical Device Rules 2017 by the Government of India, DCGI will also act as Central Licensing Authority (CLA) for the medical devices which fall under the purview of these rules.
  • Out of four Classes of medical devices from Class A to Class D, DCGI will be the direct licensing authority for Class C and Class D devices
  • It will also coordinate licensing for Class A and B devices through State drug controllers, who will act as State Licensing Authority or SLA.

The central government have established 4 zonal offices of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Ghaziabad.


Read More: Adenovirus COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV)



TERMS BEING USED TO DESCRIBE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Source | The Hindu


GS Paper II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.



TERMS BEING USED TO DESCRIBE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Key Takeaways

  • The term COVID-19 was coined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to denote the disease that has led to a pandemic.
  • R0 — R-Naught is the basic reproduction number. This is the number of new infections caused by one infected individual in an entirely susceptible population.

Read More: Hydroxychloroquine and Frontline Workers


Context: Most conversations regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic are peppered with scientific terms that have now become commonplace. Here is a short glossary of terms that you might hear/use regularly, but may not understand entirely.

What are some of the key terms being used to describe the novel coronavirus outbreak?

COVID-19

  • The term coined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to denote the disease that has led to a pandemic.
  • On February 11, 2020, WHO announced a name for the mysterious disease originating in China, caused by a new coronavirus.
  • It called it coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19, where CO stands for corona, VI for virus, and D for disease, while the numerals – 19 refer to the year in which the first case was detected.
  • WHO claimed it had consciously avoided naming the disease after the place of origin, to avoid stigmatising that country/area.
  • The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) announced “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of the new virus, also on February 11, 2020.
  • This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003.


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The Epidemic

  • When the incidence of a disease rises above the expected level in a particular community or geographic area, it is called an epidemic.
  • The outbreak started in Wuhan city in Hubei province in China, with what seemed then as a cluster of pneumonia-like cases.

The Pandemic

  • It is notheing but the global epidemic.
  • When the epidemic spreads over several countries or continents, it is termed a pandemic.
  • On January 30, WHO announced that COVID-19 was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
  • On March 11, WHO decided to announce COVID-19 as a pandemic.

R0 — R-Naught

  • R0 — R-Naught is the basic reproduction number.
  • This is the number of new infections caused by one infected individual in an entirely susceptible population.
  • It helps determine whether an epidemic can occur, the rate of growth of the epidemic, the size of the epidemic and the level of effort needed to control the infection.
  • If R0 = 2, then one individual will infect two others.
  • As of end May, India’s R0 value was in the range of 1.22.

Co-morbidities

  • Co-morbidities is nothing but the case when several health conditions including uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension, cancer, morbid obesity, lung diseases, compromised immune systems put patients at greater risk for contracting the infection, and also have poor clinical outcomes.
  • Special attention to prevent the disease and prevent mortality in these groups is the concern of health managers.


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Transmission-The method by which the disease spreads

  • In COVID-19 it is through respiratory droplets, expelled while talking, laughing, coughing and sneezing.
  • This makes mask wearing and physical distancing the main tools for protection against the virus.
  • Washing hands with soap and water is an effective way to kill the virus.

Community transmission

  • Community Transmission occurs when you can no longer tell how someone contracted the disease, or who the source of infection was.
  • As numbers climb, this tracing becomes next to impossible.

Contact tracing

  • It is basically the Identification and monitoring of people who may have come into contact with an infectious person.
  • In the case of COVID-19, monitoring usually involves self-quarantine as an effort to control the spread of disease.

Super spreader

  • Some individuals seem to have the capacity to cause more infections in a disproportionately large number of people, than others.
  • The current pandemic has recorded some super spreaders who have had a huge role in the transmission.


Read More: COVID-19 may become Endemic Disease – WHO


Positivity rate

  • The percentage of people who test positive among all those who are tested.
  • If positivity rate is high, it is possible that only high risk groups are being tested.
  • A low positivity rate can also indicate that not enough testing is being done.

Infection fatality rate

  • It is the number of deaths occurring in all infected people in a particular population.
  • This includes those who might have the COVID-19 infection, but have not been tested for it.
  • Given that the number of tests is not high, experts have clarified that this is not a useful metric to have in this pandemic.

Case fatality rate

  • This is the number of deaths occurring among confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • Since these two figures are available with a certain amount of reliability, it is actually CFR that is being referred to when there is a loose reference to fatality rate.

Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI)

  • A respiratory disease also caused by a coronavirus, and spread through the same transmission method, i.e. respiratory droplets.
  • The symptoms (fever, cough, body ache, difficulty in breathing) are also similar.
  • The government has begun surveillance of SARI patients as also patients with Influenza-like Illness (ILI) admitted in hospitals too.

Cytokine storm

  • An immune reaction triggered by the body to fight an infection is known as a cytokine storm when it turns severe.
  • The body releases too many cytokines, proteins that are involved in immunomodulation, into the blood too quickly.
  • While normally they regulate immune responses, in this case they cause harm and can even cause death.
  • Experts have noticed a violent cytokine storm in several individuals who are critical with COVID infection.
  • These cytokines dilate blood vessels, increase the temperature and heartbeat, besides throwing bloodclots in the system, and suppressing oxygen utilisation.
  • If the cytokine flow is high and continues without cessation, the body’s own immune response will lead to hypoxia, insufficient oxygen to the body, multi-organ failure and death.
  • Experts say it is not the virus that kills; rather, the cytokine storm.


Read More: Lockdown 5.0 or Unlock 1 | Guidelines Issued


RT- PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction)

  • It is the primary test to detect COVID-19 infection across the globe.
  • It is a sensitive test that uses swab samples drawn from the nasal/oral cavity to test for the presence of viral RNA (ribonucleic acid).
  • It has got better sensitivity (ability to correctly identify those with the disease) and specificity (ability to correctly identify those without the disease) rates in current diagnostic tests for COVID.

Antibody tests

  • These tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, and that just means you have had a past infection of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections, and are specific to every disease, granting immunity against getting that particular disease again.
  • An antibody test, with poor specificity, is not believed to be effective in detecting new infections.
  • States have been asked to commence testing seroprevalence in the community, using antibody tests, that are blood tests.

Convalescent plasma therapy

  • Researchers are examining the efficacy of using convalescent plasma, that is, using neutralising antibodies from the blood of people who have recovered from the COVID-19 infection to treat patients with COVID-19.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

  • An antimalarial oral drug that is being repurposed for treatment in COVID-19.
  • It has also been used successfully in the treatment of some auto immune conditions.
  • Its value in COVID-19 has not been resolved entirely.

Flattening the curve

  • Reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases, day on day.
  • The idea of flattening the curve is to ensure that the health infrastructure is not overwhelmed by a large number of cases.

Herd immunity

This is also known as community immunity, and constitutes the reduction in risk of infection within a population, often because of previous exposure to the virus or vaccination.



Read More: Ultra Swachh developed by DRDO


Near Earth Asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) to Pass Earth

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Source | Indian Express


GS Paper III: Awarenes in Space.



Near Earth asteroid

Key Takeaways

  • The gaint near-earth object named 163348 (2002 NN4) was discovered in July 2002 and is expected to approach the earth in June 2020. The asteroid is estimated to be between 250-570 meters in diameter.
  • By convention, a Solar System body is a NEO if its closest approach to the Sun i.e., perihelion is less than 1.3 astronomical units (AU). [where 1 AU = 1.495978707×1011 m]

Read More:


Context: According to an announcement made by NASA, a giant Near Earth Asteroid called as 163348 (2002 NN4), is expected to pass Earth on 6th June 2020.

  • NASA has also speculated that the passing of this gaint near-earth asteroid will be within the safe limit of distance.

What you need to know about Near Earth Asteroids and 163348 (2002 NN4)?

The gaint near-earth object named 163348 (2002 NN4) was discovered in July 2002 and is expected to approach the earth in June 2020. The asteroid is estimated to be between 250-570 meters in diameter.

According to the scientists, this asteroid is a Near-Earth Object and classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA).


Read More: New Trojan Asteroid discovered near Jupiter



near-Earth object (NEO) is any small Solar System body whose orbit brings it to proximity with Earth. By convention, a Solar System body is a NEO if its closest approach to the Sun i.e., perihelion is less than 1.3 astronomical units (AU). [where 1 AU = 1.495978707×1011 m]

  • There are over 20,000 known near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), over a hundred short-period near-Earth comets (NECs), and a number of solar-orbiting spacecraft and meteoroids large enough to be tracked in space before striking the Earth.
  • Two scales namely, the Torino scale and the more complex Palermo scale, rate a risk which is based on how well constrained the orbit calculations of identified NEOs are and on how bad the consequences of a putative impact would be.
  • NEOs have low surface gravity, and many have Earth-like orbits making them easy targets for spacecraft.
  • As of January 2019, five near-Earth comets and five near-Earth asteroids have been visited by spacecraft.

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When does a NEO designated as potentially hazardous?

  • If a NEO’s orbit crosses the Earth’s orbit, and the object is larger than 140 meters (460 ft) across, it is considered a potentially hazardous object (PHO). Most known PHOs and NEOs are asteroids, but a small fraction are comets.
  • They are defined as having a minimum orbital intersection distance with Earth of less than 0.05 astronomical units (19.5 lunar distances) and an absolute magnitude of 22 or brighter.
  • 98% of the known potentially hazardous objects are not an impact threat over the next 100 years.

Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance is a method for calculating the minimum distance between two almost overlapping elliptical orbits.

The Astronomical Unit (AU) is the distance between the Earth and the Sun and is roughly 150 million km.

The absolute magnitude is a measure of the star’s luminosity i.e. the total amount of energy radiated by the star every second.


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What is the difference between an asteroid and a comet?

  • The main difference between asteroids and comets is their composition, as in, what they are made of.
  • Asteroids are made up of metals and rocky material, while comets are made up of ice, dust and rocky material.
  • Both asteroids and comets were formed early in the history of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago.
  • Asteroids formed much closer to the Sun, where it was too warm for ices to remain solid.
  • Comets formed farther from the Sun where ices would not melt.
  • Comets which approach the Sun lose material with each orbit because some of their ice melts and vaporizes to form a tail.
    • Hence the tail of the comet that we see is nothing but the ice which melts and vaporizzes as the comet approaches the sun.

Read More: Cosmic Ring of Fire found 10.8 bn light-years away



Most Recent Asteroid Passby

On 29 April 2020 at 09:56 UTC (3:26 P.M. in India), the 1998 OR2 asteroid safely passed at 0.042 AU (6.3 million km; 16 LD) from Earth. With observations as recent as April 2020 and a 32-year observation arc, the 2020 close approach distance was known with an accuracy of roughly ± 6 km.

What you need to know about 1998 OR2?

  • 1998 OR2, is an asteroid on an eccentric orbit, classifed as a near earth object and  potentially hazardous asteroid of the Amor group, with a diameter of 2 kilometers (1.2 mi).
  • It was discovered on 24 July 1998, by astronomers of the NEAT program at the Haleakala Observatory, Hawaii.
  • There are precovery images from 1987 and 1996.
  • It is one of the brightest and therefore largest potentially hazardous asteroids known to exist.
  • With an observation arc of 32 years, the asteroid has a well-determined orbit, and its trajectory is well known through the year 2197.
  • The asteroid’s orbit is only potentially hazardous on a time scale of hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Read More: Spiral Galaxy NGC 3895 | NASA releases Image



VIRTUAL GLOBAL VACCINE SUMMIT

Top Current Affairs 8th June 2020

Source | The Hindu


GS Paper II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.



VIRTUAL GLOBAL VACCINE SUMMIT 1

Key Takeaways

  • The major intent behind the Summit was to urge nations around the world to pledge funding for vaccinations to protect the world from future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
  • India has pledged USD 15-million as India’s contribution to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI).

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Context: Virtual Global Vaccine Summit was recently addressed by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.

  • The Summit was hosted by the United Kingdom (UK).
  • Almost 50 ​countries including the business leaders, UN agencies, civil society, government ministers, Heads of State and country leaders participated in the Summit.

Key Details about the Virtual Global Vaccine Summit

PURPOSE OF THE SUMMIT

  • The major intent behind the Summit was to urge nations around the world to pledge funding for vaccinations to protect the world from future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
  • The Summit was aimed at raising USD 7.4 million to immunise a further 300 million children in the world’s poorest countries by 2025.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE INDIA’S CONTRIBUTION?

  • India has pledged USD 15-million as India’s contribution to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) which is an international organisation which brings together public and private sectors to create equal access to vaccines for children.
  • India had also mentioned that it has shared its stocks of medicines with over 120 countries in the wake of the pandemic.

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What is the Status of Vaccination in India?

  • India is the world’s foremost producer of vaccines and contributes to the immunisation of about 60% of the world’s children.
  • India has also added six vaccines to its Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) to expand protection of vaccination in the country.
  • Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) was launched by the government in 1985, to prevent mortality and morbidity in children and pregnant women against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.
    • Under UIP free of cost vaccination is provided against twelve vaccine-preventable diseases i.e. Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhoea.
  • The Country has also digitised the vaccine supply chain and an electronic intelligence network has been developed to monitor the integrity of the cold chain.
  • But, recently the report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) observed the disruption of the Global Vaccination Programme in the country in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What you need to know about GAVI?

GAVI, officially Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (previously the GAVI Alliance, and before that the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) is a public–private global health partnership with the goal of increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.

  • GAVI brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.
  • Furthermore, GAVI has observer status at the World Health Assembly.

Read More: A3i COVID-19 Trait Second Most Prevalent in India



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