Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 26 Apr, 2021

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What is “Breakthrough Infection”?

What is the News? 

The union health ministry has said that the breakthrough infection rate is low for both Covaxin and Covishield vaccines.

What is it?

  • Breakthrough infection is a case of illness in which a vaccinated individual becomes sick from the same disease for which the vaccine was administered.
  • Simply, it occurs when vaccines fail to provide immunity against the pathogen they are designed to target.

Possible Reasons for Breakthrough Infections:

  • India’s healthcare and frontline workers were on the priority list for vaccination during the first phase. They were always prone to more occupational exposure to the coronavirus disease.
  • The second wave of Covid-19 is highly transmissible, it might also have contributed to the breakthrough infection rates.

India’s Breakthrough Infections Data:

  • Covishield: After the first dose two per 10,000 people get reinfected and after the second dose, three per 10,000 people get reinfected.
  • Covaxin: After the first dose four per 10,000 people get reinfected after the number remains the same for the second dose too.
  • This type of Infections are mostly mild or asymptomatic because the individuals still have partial protection.

Concerns:

  • According to a US study, people with no symptoms transmit more than half of all cases. This means that controlling this silent transmission from persons without symptoms is very important for controlling the pandemic.
  • Hence, it is very possible that an asymptomatic breakthrough infection can result in the further spread of the disease in the community.
  • This happens especially because people may become careless following vaccination and many such infections are asymptomatic.

Source: The Hindu


What are “Oxygen concentrators” and how are they different from Oxygen cylinders?

What is the News? 

Currently, Oxygen concentrators are in much demand for oxygen therapy. Demand is high especially among patients in home isolation and for hospitals running out of oxygen.

About Oxygen Concentrators:

  • Oxygen Concentrator is a medical device. It filters oxygen from the atmosphere and helps individuals inhale it through a mask or cannula.

How does it work?

  • Atmospheric air has about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen with other gases making up the remaining 1%.
  • The concentrator takes in this atmospheric air, filters it through a sieve. Further, it releases the nitrogen back into the air and works on the remaining oxygen.
  • This oxygen compressed and dispensed through a cannula, is 90-95% pure.
  • A pressure valve in concentrators helps regulate supply, ranging from 1-10 litres of oxygen per minute.

How is it different from oxygen cylinders and LMO?

  • The oxygen cylinder gives you a finite amount of oxygen. When the cylinder is empty, it needs to be refilled. Whereas the concentrator pulls oxygen from the air. So it can provide a consistent supply of oxygen, and it only needs a power source to draw in Atmospheric air.
  • Oxygen Concentrators are portable and need no special temperature. On the other hand, Liquid Medical Oxygen(LMO) needs to be stored and transported in cryogenic tankers.
  • Oxygen from Concentrators is not as pure as Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) which is a 99% pure oxygen. But it is good enough for mild and moderate Covid-19 patients with oxygen saturation levels of 85% or above. However, it is not advisable for ICU patients.
  • Oxygen concentrators are the easiest alternatives to cylinders but can only supply 5-10 liters of oxygen per minute (critical patients may need 40-50 liters per minute).
  • Oxygen Concentrators are more expensive than Oxygen cylinders. But it is largely a one-time investment. Apart from electricity and routine maintenance, there is a little operational cost. While oxygen cylinders incur refilling and transportation costs.

Source: Indian Express


“E-2025 initiative” – WHO Identifies 25 countries with potential to be malaria-free by 2025

What is the News?

WHO has launched the E-2025 initiative. Under this initiative WHO Identifies 25 countries with the potential to be malaria-free by 2025.

Malaria: It is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. It transmits to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

World Malaria Day:

  • World Malaria Day is observed on April 25 every year by the WHO.
  • The 60th session of the World Health Assembly in 2007 identified April 25 as World Malaria Day.
  • 2021 Theme: “Reaching the Zero Malaria target”.

About ‘Zeroing in on malaria elimination’ Report:

  • Purpose: The report provides the progress made by 21 malaria eliminating countries as part of the “E-2020 Initiative”.
    • The E-2020 initiative was launched by WHO in 2017. The initiative supported 21 countries in their efforts to get to zero malaria cases within the 2020 timeline. The countries were identified by WHO in 2016 as having the potential to become malaria-free by 2020.
  • Findings: According to the report, 8 of the 21 E-2020 member countries reported zero indigenous cases of human malaria by the end of 2020. However, the progress was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About E-2025 initiative:

  • Building on the successes of the E-2020, WHO has launched the E-2025 initiative.
  • As part of this initiative, WHO has identified 25 countries that have the potential to eliminate malaria within a 5-year timeline.
  • The countries will receive technical and on-the-ground support by WHO and its partners, in their work towards the target of zero malaria.
  • In return, the countries will audit their elimination programs annually, participate in elimination forums, conduct surveillance assessments, and share malaria case data periodically.

Source: Down To Earth


India hosted the 5th session of “Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs” 

What is the News?

The fifth session of the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) has been virtually inaugurated.

About Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs(CCSCH):

  • The Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs(CCSCH) was established in 2013. It was established with the support of more than a hundred countries under the Codex Alimentarius Commission(CAC).
  • Purpose:
    • To develop and expand worldwide standards for spices and culinary herbs.
    • To consult with other international organisations in the standard development process.
  • Host Country: India is the host country. Spices Board India acts as the Secretariat for organising the sessions of the committee.
  • Significance: Since its inception, the Committee has been successful in developing harmonised global Codex standards for spices and herbs.

About Codex Alimentarius Commission(CAC):

  • Codex Alimentarius Commission(CAC) was established in 1963. It is an intergovernmental body established jointly by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It was established within the framework of the Joint Food Standards Programme.
  • Purpose:
    • To establish international food standards to protect the health of consumers
    • To ensure fair practices in the food trade. Especially while promoting coordination of food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organisations.
  • Membership: Membership of the Commission is open to all Member Nations and Associate Members of FAO and WHO. The countries interested in international food standards can become a member of CAC.
  • Funding: The programme of work of the Commission is funded through the regular budgets of WHO and FAO. All works are subjected to the approval of the two governing bodies of the parent organisation.
  • Headquarters: Rome, Italy.

Source: PIB


“Oxygen Express” Trains – Railways Waive off Few Charges

What is the News?

Indian Railways has decided to waive certain charges on ‘Oxygen Express’ trains. This decision is important due to the increase in demand for Liquid Oxygen from major hospitals across the country.

Oxygen Express:

  • Oxygen Express is a special train transporting liquid medical oxygen to states and Union Territories in cryogenic tankers.
  • It was started to meet the high demand for liquid Medical oxygen gas for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

Why Transport of Liquid Oxygen through train?

  • Transportation of oxygen through trains is faster over long distances than road transport.
  • Transportation through rail takes 2 days. On the other hand, transportation through the road takes 3 days.
  • Further, trains can run 24 hours a day but truck drivers need to take halts.

Challenges:

  • Oxygen in a cryogenic state is a hazardous chemical. Hence, Railways have to avoid sudden acceleration, deceleration to check pressures in between especially when it is in a loaded condition.

Source: The Hindu


“UN-ECOSOC” -India Elected to 3 Key Bodies

What is the News? 

India has been elected to three key bodies of the UN ECOSOC (United Nations’ Economic and Social Council).

These bodies are the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), Executive Board of UN Women, Executive Board of the World Food Programme.

United Nations Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC)

  • UN- ECOSOC was established in 1945. It is one of the six main organs of the United Nations.
    • Other organs are UNSC, UNGA, Trusteeship Council, ICJ, and UN secretariat.
  • Aim: To serve as a forum for discussing international economic and social issues. It also works towards formulating policy recommendations addressed to the Member States and the United Nations system.
  • Members: The Council consists of 54 Member States. The UNGA will elect them for a three-year term.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States.

 Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ):

  • Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice(CCPCJ) is a functional commission of the UN-ECOSOC
  • Purpose: The commission serves as the primary organ that guides the activities of the United Nations. Especially in the fields of crime prevention and criminal justice.
  • Members: CCPJ has 40 member states that are elected by ECOSOC.
  • Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.

UN Women

  • UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  • The UN General Assembly established UN Women in 2010 to accelerate the progress on meeting women’s needs worldwide.
  • Members: The Executive Board of UN Women consists of 41 members.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States

World Food Programme(WFP):

  • Both the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) founded the WFP in 1961.
  • Aim: To eradicate hunger and malnutrition with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
  • Significance: It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
  • Members: The Executive Board of WFP consists of 36 states members. The board provides intergovernmental support, policy direction and supervision of the activities of WFP.
  • Funding: Voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors will entirely fund the operations of WFP.
  • Nobel Prize: WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. This is for the following reasons,
    • Firstly, WFP’s contribution in combating hunger,
    • Secondly, Work of WFP towards bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas
    • Thirdly, Its role as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
  • Headquarters: Rome, Italy

Source: WION


Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons or OPCW

What is the News?

India’s Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) GC Murmu selected as an external auditor to Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons(OPCW). His term will be for 3 years, starting in 2021.

India was also selected as a member of the Executive Council of the OPCW. It is representing Asia Group for another two-year term during the OPCW Conference of State Parties.

About Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons(OPCW):

  • OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention. This convention is in force since 1997 and 193 members.
  • Aim: To achieve the vision of a world free of chemical weapons by implementing the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • Objectives:
    • Destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification.
    • Monitoring chemical industry to prevent chemical weapons from re-emerging.
    • Providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats.
    • Fostering international cooperation to strengthen implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry.
  • Powers:
    • The OPCW is authorized to perform inspections to verify that signatory states are complying with the convention.
    • It can also perform testing of sites and victims of suspected chemical weapons attacks.
  • Members: It has 193 members including India.
  • Headquarters: The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Significance: The OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
  • Relations with UN: OPCW is not a United Nations(UN) organization. However, by the 2001 Relationship Agreement between the OPCW and the UN, the OPCW reports on its inspections and other activities to the UN through the office of the Secretary-General.

Source: AIR


 

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