Norovirus confirmed in Kerala’s Wayanad. Here’s what you need to know

What is the News? Kerala has been put on alert after at least 13 cases of norovirus have been recorded in Wayanad district. What is Norovirus? Norovirus is an animal-borne disease. It causes gastrointestinal illness including inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines, severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Transmission: Norovirus is easily transmitted through… Continue reading Norovirus confirmed in Kerala’s Wayanad. Here’s what you need to know

Gene editing guidelines facing delay

What is the News? The Government of India is delaying in approving the Guidelines for Safety Assessment of Genome/Gene-Edited Plants. What is Gene Editing? Genome editing, also called gene-editing, is a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism’s DNA. These technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered… Continue reading Gene editing guidelines facing delay

Plugging the leak: On the GM rice controversy

What is the news? Since June, the export of about 500 tonnes of rice from India has triggered an uproar in several European countries on the grounds that it was genetically modified (GM) rice. This emerged during a check by the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed that was testing rice flour… Continue reading Plugging the leak: On the GM rice controversy

U.S. surgeons successfully test pig kidney transplant in human patient

What is the News? For the first time, a pig kidney has been transplanted into a human without triggering immediate rejection by the recipient’s immune system. This is a potentially huge milestone in the quest to use animal organs for human transplants. How was the transplantation done? The Pig was genetically engineered so that its… Continue reading U.S. surgeons successfully test pig kidney transplant in human patient

Improving livestock breeding

Synopsis: The facts and schemes relating to different livestock sector and the expected benefit out of it. Introduction Livestock breeding in India has been largely unorganised because of which there have been gaps in forward and backward integration across the value chain. Government has revised “Rashtriya Gokul Mission” and “National Livestock Mission” (NLM) to adress… Continue reading Improving livestock breeding

PM dedicates to the Nation 35 crop varieties with special traits

What is the News? The Prime Minister has launched 35 different crop varieties with special traits. What are these Crop Varieties Launched? These Crop Varieties have been developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to address the twin challenges of climate change and malnutrition. Some of the crop varieties launched include a drought-tolerant… Continue reading PM dedicates to the Nation 35 crop varieties with special traits

COVID-19: WHO recommends Regeneron antibody therapy for high-risk & seronegative patients

What is the news?  Recently, World Health Organization (WHO) approved the Regeneron antibody combination for treatment of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  What is Regeneron?  Regeneron is a combination of two drugs — casirivimab and imdevimab.  It has reduced mortality in seronegative patients with severe infections. The drug cocktail replicates the natural antibody response of human beings. Last year it was approved by the… Continue reading COVID-19: WHO recommends Regeneron antibody therapy for high-risk & seronegative patients

Now, insulin can be kept without refrigeration

What is the News? A team of scientists from Kolkata have developed a “thermostable” variety of insulin named “Insulock” which eliminates the need to keep it refrigerated.  What is Insulin? Insulin is a hormone that helps control the body’s blood sugar level and metabolism — the process that turns the food you eat into energy.… Continue reading Now, insulin can be kept without refrigeration

A disease surveillance system, for the future

Synopsis Diseases and outbreaks are realities and a well-functioning system can help reduce their impact. Introduction The article highlights the importance of epidemiology in preventing and controlling infectious diseases. What is epidemiology and disease surveillance? Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution, patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations.… Continue reading A disease surveillance system, for the future

Bringing woolly mammoths back from extinction might not be such a bad idea — ethicists explain

Synopsis: There’s a strong case for trying out novel methods to restore lost species and damaged ecosystems. A look at the related issues. Introduction The United States startup Colossal Biosciences has announced plans to bring woolly mammoths, or animals like them, back from extinction and into the frosty landscape of the Siberian tundra. Colossal proposes to use CRISPR… Continue reading Bringing woolly mammoths back from extinction might not be such a bad idea — ethicists explain

COVID-19, kidney injury and need for vaccine shot

Synopsis: Covid-19 pandemic has long-term effects on internal organs. This article deals with issues with its impact on Kidney. Introduction: COVID-19 damages many organs including the lungs, heart and kidneys. A severe form of the disease is seen in older adults and people with chronic heart, kidney and lung diseases, diabetes or other conditions that… Continue reading COVID-19, kidney injury and need for vaccine shot

New research: Tech based on CRISPR to control growth of mosquitoes

What is the News? Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have created a new system named precision-guided Sterile Insect Technique(pgSIT) that restrains populations of mosquitoes. What is the Sterile Insect Technique? Source: IAEA The sterile insect technique is a method of biological insect control whereby overwhelming numbers of sterile insects are released into… Continue reading New research: Tech based on CRISPR to control growth of mosquitoes

Saline gargle RT-PCR test tech transferred to MSME Ministry

What is the News? The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute(NEERI) has transferred the indigenously-developed saline gargle RT-PCR technique to the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises(MSME). About Saline gargle RT-PCR Technique Saline gargle RT-PCR is a technique that will be used for testing Covid-19 samples. Developed by: National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI). How… Continue reading Saline gargle RT-PCR test tech transferred to MSME Ministry

The great immunity debate of vaccines vs infection antibodies

What is the news? Recent studies showed that immunity induced by Pfizer shot waned quickly. This led to comparisons between immunity induced by the vaccine shot and the immunity induced by COVID infection. The comparison between vaccine immunity and infection-induced immunity Doctors say that the immunity induced by the vaccine lasts longer. Doctors also say… Continue reading The great immunity debate of vaccines vs infection antibodies

Detecting Fragile X Syndrome

What is the News? In 2017, a man affected by autism underwent his first DNA blood test at the age of 40. He tested positive for Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). This shows the lack of awareness and appropriate training in diagnosing FXS. About Fragile X Syndrome Fragile X syndrome(FXS) is a genetic disorder. It is… Continue reading Detecting Fragile X Syndrome

Its time for national conversation on how to live with the virus

Synopsis: The goal is not to eliminate the infection, but to reduce sickness and mortality. Introduction This article highlights the impact of Covid on people’s lives and what can be expected in the future. Given that virus is constantly evolving, how we shape our policies is crucial for a healthy society. What are the limitations… Continue reading Its time for national conversation on how to live with the virus

Why Moderna’s mRNA candidate brings new hope for an HIV vaccine

What is the News? Moderna has announced the human trials for two HIV vaccines, namely mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1644v2-Core. About the two HIV Vaccines The two vaccines are based on the same platform — mRNA — as Moderna’s Covid vaccine.  Working: The vaccine is expected to work similar to the Covid-19 vaccine — by getting the… Continue reading Why Moderna’s mRNA candidate brings new hope for an HIV vaccine

One vaccine makes more vaccine than another. Does it matter?

What is the news? The researchers are still working to understand how long their protection lasts, and how it differs from one person to another. Getting answers to these questions is a crucial step to determine who will need a booster shot. The studies have found that the Moderna Vs Pfizer vaccines have certain subtle… Continue reading One vaccine makes more vaccine than another. Does it matter?

All you need to know about Nipah virus

What is the News? A 12-year-old boy infected with the Nipah virus died in a private hospital in Kozhikode, Kerala. About Nipah Virus Nipah Virus(NiV) is a zoonotic virus. ​​The first outbreaks of the Nipah virus among humans was reported from Malaysia (1998) and Singapore (1999).  Host Reservoir of Nipah Virus The animal host reservoir… Continue reading All you need to know about Nipah virus

Mu variant: Newly classified by WHO as a SARS-CoV-2 variant of interest

What is the News? The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified yet another SARS-CoV-2 variant — B.1.621 — as a variant of interest (VOI) and given it the label “Mu”.  About Mu Variant Mu Variant was first seen in Colombia in January 2021 when it was given the designation B1621.  It has since been detected… Continue reading Mu variant: Newly classified by WHO as a SARS-CoV-2 variant of interest

DCGI approves clinical trials of Biological E. Covid-19 vaccine CORBEVAX

What is the News? Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the Phase II/III clinical trials of the CORBEVAX vaccine in children aged above 5 years. It has also received the nod for conducting Phase III trials in adults. About CORBEVAX Vaccine: CORBEVAX is an indigenously produced COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Indian… Continue reading DCGI approves clinical trials of Biological E. Covid-19 vaccine CORBEVAX

Genetically changed mosquitoes could transform Africa’s long fight against malaria

Source: Down to Earth Relevance: Tackling Malaria via genetic programming of Mosquitoes. Synopsis: Genetic programming of mosquitoes along with traditional methods of Malaria prevention could help us reduce the increasing cases of Malaria globally and help reduce associated mortality. Context For Malaria prevention, some countries heavily depend on using insecticide treated bed nets and house… Continue reading Genetically changed mosquitoes could transform Africa’s long fight against malaria

Specialized cells maintain healthy pregnancy by teaching the mother’s immune system not to attack developing fetus

Source: Down To Earth What is the News? A study published in Science Immunology has talked about the role of specialized “educator cells” in maintaining healthy pregnancy. About the Study: Scientists have conducted this study to understand how the immune system generally learns what to attack and what not to attack. This is because the… Continue reading Specialized cells maintain healthy pregnancy by teaching the mother’s immune system not to attack developing fetus

Immune cells isolated in sea corals, anemones for the 1st time

Source: Down To Earth  About the news: A new study has identified for the first time that specialised immune cells (phagocytic cells) exist in certain varieties of sea corals and anemones. These cells help understand how the organisms protect themselves from viruses and bacteria in the marine ecosystem. Key findings of the study: The newly… Continue reading Immune cells isolated in sea corals, anemones for the 1st time

Union Agriculture Minister inaugurated the world’s second-largest refurbished gene bank

Source: PIB What is the News? The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has inaugurated the world’s second-largest refurbished state-of-the-art National Gene Bank at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), Pusa, New Delhi. About National Gene Bank: National Gene Bank was established in 1996. It aims to preserve the seeds of Plant… Continue reading Union Agriculture Minister inaugurated the world’s second-largest refurbished gene bank