Govt. report flags lapses in “filovirus study” among Nagaland bats

What is the News? The government of India has concluded that there have been lapses in the conduct and protocols followed for the filovirus study of bats in Nagaland. What was the filovirus study about? Researchers from India, China and the US had conducted a study in Nagaland on bats and humans carrying antibodies to… Continue reading Govt. report flags lapses in “filovirus study” among Nagaland bats

How to Prevent Misuse of Synthetic Biology?

Synopsis: Synthetic biology is a double-edged sword. It is highly prone to misuse, thus there is an urgent need for international measures for monitoring and verification. Background: Synthetic biology is a revolutionary technology. It can help us manipulate biological organisms and processes for human betterment, especially in treating diseases, by re-engineering cells. Till now there… Continue reading How to Prevent Misuse of Synthetic Biology?

Single dose of vaccine can’t control Delta Variant: Global Study on vaccines

Synopsis: The data from clinical trials and post-vaccination study on vaccines shows that the Dominant delta variant of Covid-19 can’t be easily controlled by a single dose of vaccine. The countries must administer two doses of vaccine and should reduce the time gap between them. Background: The WHO has recently given a new classification to… Continue reading Single dose of vaccine can’t control Delta Variant: Global Study on vaccines

Mixing Covid-19 vaccines: Benefits and Concerns

What is the news? India plans to conduct research on Mixing Covid-19 vaccines. This is to investigate if it can immunize people using a “mix and match” of different Covid-19 vaccines. What does mixing of vaccines mean? Mixing of vaccines means following up one dose of a particular vaccine with a second dose of a… Continue reading Mixing Covid-19 vaccines: Benefits and Concerns

Genomic sequencing in India needs to be scaled up

Synopsis: There is a need for rapidly expanding genomic sequencing and sharing related data in a timely & transparent manner. This will help in understanding the impact of new variants on transmissibility, severity and vaccine effectiveness. Background An effective COVID-19 pandemic response requires tracking of emerging variants, conducting studies about their transmissibility, immune escape and… Continue reading Genomic sequencing in India needs to be scaled up

What is the “Delta variant of Covid-19”?

What is the news? As per a study carried out by INSACOG (the consortium of labs undertaking genome sequencing in India), Delta variant of Covid-19 is the primary cause of the second Covid-19 wave gripping the country presently. What is the Delta Variant of Covid-19? The World Health Organization (WHO) has named B.1.617.1 variant as ‘Kappa‘… Continue reading What is the “Delta variant of Covid-19”?

“Corbevax Vaccine” and its difference from other Covid-19 vaccines

What is the News? India has placed an advance order to block 300 million doses of a new Covid-19 vaccine, Corbevax from Hyderabad-based company Biological E. About Corbevax Vaccine: Corbevax is a recombinant protein subunit vaccine. The vaccine is being indigenously produced by Biological E, Hyderabad-based Pharmaceutical company. Made up of: The Corbevax vaccine is… Continue reading “Corbevax Vaccine” and its difference from other Covid-19 vaccines

First “WHO BioHub Facility” Launched

What is the News? The World Health Organization(WHO) and the Swiss Confederation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch the first WHO BioHub Facility. About WHO BioHub Facility: BioHub Facility has been launched to enhance the rapid sharing of viruses and other pathogens between laboratories and partners globally. Based in: Spiez, Switzerland. Key… Continue reading First “WHO BioHub Facility” Launched

” Kyasanur Forest Disease” – ICMR-NIV Develops a New Point-of-Care Testing

What is the News? A new point-of-care test has been developed for the rapid diagnosis of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD). About Point-of-Care Test: Firstly, the Point-of-Care Test has been developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Virology. Secondly, the test kit includes a battery-operated Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The analyser is… Continue reading ” Kyasanur Forest Disease” – ICMR-NIV Develops a New Point-of-Care Testing

“Dipcovan Kit” -DRDO develops Antibody Detection Kit

What is the News? Defense Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has developed a Covid-19 antibody detection kit named Dipcovan. About Dipcovan Kit: Firstly, Dipcovan kit is a Covid-19 antibody detection kit. Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences lab of DRDO developed it in association with Delhi’s Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt Ltd. Secondly, Purpose: Its primary purpose… Continue reading “Dipcovan Kit” -DRDO develops Antibody Detection Kit

New Naming System for Virus Variants

What is the News? The World Health Organization(WHO) has announced that it would unveil a new naming system for Virus Variants. The system would be similar to the way tropical storms are named. What is the current method of naming Virus Strains? Currently, WHO and other agencies across the world refer to viruses and their… Continue reading New Naming System for Virus Variants

“Protein–Antibody Conjugates (PACs)” – A combination of biologics and Antibody-Drug Conjugates

What is the News? A team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences has developed a nanoparticle. This nanoparticle has the potential to revolutionize disease treatment including for cancer. The research is based on a method known as Protein–Antibody Conjugates or PACs. What are Protein–Antibody Conjugates or PACs? This… Continue reading “Protein–Antibody Conjugates (PACs)” – A combination of biologics and Antibody-Drug Conjugates

Biodegradable “Moorhen Yoga Mat” developed from “Water Hyacinth”

What is the News? Six young girls from Assam have developed a biodegradable and compostable yoga mat called ‘Moorhen Yoga Mat’. Note: The Mat was developed with the support of the North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach(NECTAR). NECTAR is an autonomous body under the Department of Science & Technology(DST). About Moorhen Yoga Mat:… Continue reading Biodegradable “Moorhen Yoga Mat” developed from “Water Hyacinth”

WHO warns against use of “Ivermectin” to treat Covid-19

What is the News? The World Health Organization(WHO) has recommended against the use of ‘ivermectin‘ drug for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Despite this, Ivermectin is still listed in India as a possible treatment option for mild COVID-19 patients under home isolation. About Ivermectin Drug: Ivermectin is an orally administered drug used to treat parasitic… Continue reading WHO warns against use of “Ivermectin” to treat Covid-19

“2-deoxy-D-glucose” – DRDO’s Anti-COVID drug

What is the News? Recently, the Drugs Controller General of India(DCGI) has approved an anti-COVID drug named 2-deoxy-D-glucose(2-DG). The Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO) developed this medicine for emergency use. However, independent experts have raised questions about the efficacy of the drug. About 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG): 2-DG drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear… Continue reading “2-deoxy-D-glucose” – DRDO’s Anti-COVID drug

WHO classifies Indian variant as “Variant of Concern”

What is the News? The World Health Organization has classified the B.1.617 (variant first identified in India in 2020) as a Variant of Concern(VoC). Variant Classifications: Variants of a virus have one or more mutations that differentiate it from the other variants that are in circulation. Types: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)… Continue reading WHO classifies Indian variant as “Variant of Concern”

DCGI approves “2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG)” – an anti-COVID drug developed by DRDO

What is the News? Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO) has developed an anti-COVID drug named 2-deoxy-D-glucose(2-DG). Recently, the Drugs Controller General of India(DCGI) has approved this drug for emergency use. About 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG): 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) is an anti-Covid oral drug. It has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a… Continue reading DCGI approves “2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG)” – an anti-COVID drug developed by DRDO

First “genetically modified mosquitoes” released in US

What is the News? Biotech firm Oxitec has released its Genetically Modified Mosquitoes(GMM) in Florida, USA. What are Genetically Modified Mosquitoes(GMM)? These are the mosquitoes whose genome has been altered using recombinant DNA technology. Their genome is altered in a way to favour the few desired physiological traits and the generation of desired biological products.… Continue reading First “genetically modified mosquitoes” released in US

New Malaria Vaccine Can be a Game Changer in Curtailing Malaria

Synopsis: Phase 2b clinical trials of R21/Matrix M (a new malaria vaccine) have shown the efficacy of 77%. It is a new version of RTS, S — another candidate against malaria. Experts believe that this new version could be a game-changer in curtailing the spread of malaria across the globe, especially during pandemic times.  Background:… Continue reading New Malaria Vaccine Can be a Game Changer in Curtailing Malaria

“Project Pyrasol” – A 2+2 project of Indo-German Science & Technology Centre

What is the News? CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Chennai has inaugurated the Integrated Solar Dryer and Pyrolysis pilot plant. This plant and dryer focus on urban waste management. Also, this pyrolysis plant is the part of Indo-German project Pyrasol. About Project Pyrasol: Project Pyrasol is a part of the Indo-German Science & Technology Centre… Continue reading “Project Pyrasol” – A 2+2 project of Indo-German Science & Technology Centre

What are “Variants of Concern” (VoC)?

What is the News?  The Variants of concern(VOC) together with widespread relaxation of COVID-19 appropriate behavior resulted in the 2nd wave of Covid-19 in India.  What is a Variant of Concern? The term variant of concern(VOC) is a category assigned to a newly emerged variant of a virus with an increased ability of transmission. Properties… Continue reading What are “Variants of Concern” (VoC)?

“MACS 1407” – A new high-yielding, pest-resistant Soybean Variety

What is the News? Scientists from MACS- Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) Pune in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR) have developed a variety of Soybean called MACS 1407. The MACS-ARI is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology.  About MACS 1407: MACS 1407 is a high-yielding and pest-resistant variety of soybean.… Continue reading “MACS 1407” – A new high-yielding, pest-resistant Soybean Variety

Antimicrobial Resistance may Become a Silent Pandemic

Synopsis: The challenges posed by Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) demands a comprehensive and collaborative approach by all the countries. They must come together to tackle the silent pandemic. Background: Covid 19 exposed the vulnerabilities of health systems across the globe. It took away the lives of more than 3 million people since January 2020. Experts believe… Continue reading Antimicrobial Resistance may Become a Silent Pandemic

“Classical swine fever” vaccine and “Sheep Pox Vaccine” – Technology transfer done

What is the News? ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute has transferred the Technology for the Classical swine fever(CSF) & Sheep Pox Vaccines to M/s Hester Biosciences through Agrinnovate India Limited. About the technology transfer: ICAR-IVRI has developed both the CSF vaccine and Sheep pox vaccine. But to provide commercialisation and build sustainable public-private partnerships ICAR-IVRI decided… Continue reading “Classical swine fever” vaccine and “Sheep Pox Vaccine” – Technology transfer done

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… Continue reading What is “Breakthrough Infection”?

UK Variant Behind current COVID-19 surge in Delhi: NCDC chief

What is the News? The National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) has released data obtained from the ‘Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-19’ Samples in India. UK Variant is the cause of the Current COVID-19 surge in Delhi. Who conducted the study? Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics(INSACOG) has conducted Genome Sequencing of around 15,000 samples. It is about… Continue reading UK Variant Behind current COVID-19 surge in Delhi: NCDC chief

Zydus Cadila’s antiviral drug “Virafin” gets emergency use nod

What is the News? Drug Controller General of India(DCGI) has granted emergency use approval for pharma major Zydus Cadila’s antiviral drug ‘Virafin’ to treat moderate COVID-19 in adults. About Virafin Drug: Virafin is an antiviral drug. It is administered subcutaneously, i.e., it is injected under the skin. “Zydus Cadila”, a pharma major, manufactured. The drug was originally… Continue reading Zydus Cadila’s antiviral drug “Virafin” gets emergency use nod

First “Human-Monkey Embryo” Sparks Ethical Debate

What is the News? Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the US have for the first time created the first monkey embryo containing human cells. This particular field of research is called “chimera research”. About the Chimera Research: Research: Scientists have injected human stem cells(cells that have the ability to develop into… Continue reading First “Human-Monkey Embryo” Sparks Ethical Debate

Researchers Propose Method to treat “Post-Vaccine Blood Clots”

What is the News? Researchers have come closer to identify the reason behind the post-Vaccine blood clotting cases following the Covid-19 vaccination. Background: The US pauses the use of Johnson and Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine. It was followed by adverse reactions in a few vaccinated persons. A similar adverse reaction to AstraZeneca’s vaccine has also been observed… Continue reading Researchers Propose Method to treat “Post-Vaccine Blood Clots”

Importance of Clinical Trials in COVID-19 Treatment

Synopsis: Clinical Trials have been instrumental in the development of treatment for Covid-19 so far. Introduction The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on March 11, 2020. Doctors did not know how to treat patients with COVID-19 in the beginning. Clinical care was dominated by opinion, narratives, and code of belief in the… Continue reading Importance of Clinical Trials in COVID-19 Treatment

WHO guidelines to control Transmission of “Zoonotic Diseases”

What is the News? The World Health Organization(WHO), World Organization for Animal Health and United Nations Environment Programme jointly released guidelines to control “Zoonotic Diseases” for governments. Guidelines ask to reduce the risk of transmission of zoonotic pathogens to humans in food production and marketing chains. What are Zoonotic Diseases? Zoonosis is an infectious disease… Continue reading WHO guidelines to control Transmission of “Zoonotic Diseases”

“Double Mutant” COVID Virus Variant Found

What is the News? Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) has been doing genome sequencing of Covid-19 Variants. It has found a unique “double mutant” virus variant in India. This variant has a unique combination of mutations, not seen anywhere else in the world. What is Double Mutation? Double Mutation is when two mutated strains… Continue reading “Double Mutant” COVID Virus Variant Found

Deadly drug-resistant superbug “Candida Auris or C.Auris” found in Andamans

What is the News? Candida Auris (deadly hospital pathogen) identified for the first time in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. About Candida Auris: Candida Auris or C.auris is a multidrug-resistant fungus. It presents a serious global threat to human health. Origin of Candida Auris: Candida Auris was first identified in 2009 in a patient in… Continue reading Deadly drug-resistant superbug “Candida Auris or C.Auris” found in Andamans

EU unveiled a ‘Digital Green Certificate’

What is the news? The European Commission has unveiled a “digital green certificate” for the European Union(EU) Citizens. About Digital Green Certificate: Firstly, Digital Green Certificate is a type of vaccine passport. It will be available to the citizens who are Covid-19 vaccinated or tested negative against Covid-19. It is also available to the persons… Continue reading EU unveiled a ‘Digital Green Certificate’

Genome mapping of Indian Ocean by NIO

What is the News? National Institute of Oceanography(NIO) has launched its first-of-its-kind project of Genome Mapping in the Indian Ocean. About the Genome Mapping in the Indian Ocean Project: Aim of the Project: To reveal the internal working of the body of the ocean at a cellular level. To understand the biochemistry and the response… Continue reading Genome mapping of Indian Ocean by NIO

What is “Adenovirus”?

What is the News? AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, produced from harmless adenovirus have low efficacy. On the other hand, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are produced from mRNAs have higher efficacy. About Adenovirus: Adenoviruses are common viruses that cause a range of illnesses. They can cause cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhoea… Continue reading What is “Adenovirus”?

Second edition of “Global Bio-India”-2021

What is the News? The 2nd edition of Global Bio-India is being organised on a digital platform. About Global Bio India 2021: Organized by: It is organised by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology along with BIRAC in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry(CII), Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises(ABLE) and Invest… Continue reading Second edition of “Global Bio-India”-2021

COVAX program

What is the News? Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive a shipment of coronavirus vaccines under the COVAX program. What is the COVAX program? The COVAX program is led by the vaccine alliance GAVI, the World Health Organisation(WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations(CEPI). The COVAX program is in… Continue reading COVAX program

What are “novel Open Reading Frames(nORFs)”?

What is the News? The University of Cambridge has found out new genes emerging in the genome of living organisms. They have called them novel Open Reading Frames or as nORFs. Human Genome Project: Human Genome Project(HGP) was an international, collaborative research program conducted from 1990 to 2003. The main goal was to completely map… Continue reading What are “novel Open Reading Frames(nORFs)”?

Scientists map detailed “genome of malaria vector mosquito”

What is the News? Scientists have unveiled the detailed genome of the Asian malaria vector mosquito Anopheles stephensi. Click Here to Read about Malaria Who conducted the research? The research was conducted by the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS) and Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology both in Bengaluru. What was the need… Continue reading Scientists map detailed “genome of malaria vector mosquito”

What is a “Placebo”, how is it used in Medical trials?

What is the News? Indian drug regulator approved Serum Institute to conduct a phase-2/3 trial of CovoVax COVID-19 vaccine that was originally developed by Novavax Inc. In this case, the regulator allowed the vaccine manufacturer to use a placebo in the control group. What is a Placebo? It is a substance or treatment which is… Continue reading What is a “Placebo”, how is it used in Medical trials?

Study finds irreversible changes to DNA can be caused by excessive Alcohol

What is the News? A study by NIMHANS, Bengaluru has rejected the assumption that if one stops drinking, the damage to health from excessive consumption of alcohol can be reversed. About the study: The study has been published online in the American Journal of Medical Genetics. It tracked patients at NIMHANS Centre for Addiction Medicine… Continue reading Study finds irreversible changes to DNA can be caused by excessive Alcohol

Zolgensma Gene therapy for “Spinal Muscular Atrophy disease”

What is the News? The Government of India has decided to waive off some GST amount against the import of gene therapy — Zolgensma. This therapy is required to treat a child who is suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Spinal Muscular Atrophy Spinal muscular atrophy is a rare genetic disease. The person suffering from this… Continue reading Zolgensma Gene therapy for “Spinal Muscular Atrophy disease”

After oils, FSSAI caps Trans Fatty Acids(TFAs) in foods

What is the News? The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI) has amended its rules. Under new rules, it put a cap on trans fatty acids(TFAs) in food products. Previously, it tightened the norms for oils and fats in the food. What are the new rules? According to FSSAI, Food products contain edible oils… Continue reading After oils, FSSAI caps Trans Fatty Acids(TFAs) in foods

What is “Garbage to Power Plant”?

What is the News? The Prime Minister mentioned the garbage to power Plant (Waste to power) plant in his speech. The plant is being commissioned inside the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Agriculture Market. About the Garbage-to-power plant: Developed by:  CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology(IICT) Technology: It is based on a biomethanation technology-based Anaerobic Gas lift Reactor(AGR).… Continue reading What is “Garbage to Power Plant”?

A comparison of CBG (Compressed Bio Gas) and CNG

Why in News? Verbio AG, a German company is setting up compressed biogas(CBG) plant in  Bhutal Kalan village in Punjab. Increasing CBG production is much more beneficial compared to the Production of CNG. Facts: Compressed Biogas(CBG): It is a purified form of biogas. It can be produced from waste including municipal solid waste, sludge from… Continue reading A comparison of CBG (Compressed Bio Gas) and CNG

How should India handle the new virus variants?

Source: click here Syllabus: GS 3 Synopsis: Mutation of the coronavirus has become a new threat for the world. India must take precautionary measures to deal with it. Introduction  New SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged independently in several countries and the virus is changing very quickly.  If it continues to change, currently available vaccines will become… Continue reading How should India handle the new virus variants?

“BBV154” A Bharat Biotech’s Intranasal Vaccine vaccine

What is the news? An expert body is looking into Bharat Biotech’s application for testing its  Covid-19 vaccine, BBV154. This is an Intranasal Vaccine. What is Intranasal Vaccine? Vaccines are administered as injectable shots into the muscles(intramuscular). Or the tissue just between the skin and the muscles(subcutaneous). However, with intranasal vaccines, the solution is sprayed… Continue reading “BBV154” A Bharat Biotech’s Intranasal Vaccine vaccine

“Covaxin” is effective against U.K. virus variant

What is the News? Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology(NIV) study found Covaxin effective against the new UK variant of Covid-19. About the Study: The study has found that Covaxin has a good neutralization capacity against the U.K variant of the COVID-19 virus. This capacity was the same against… Continue reading “Covaxin” is effective against U.K. virus variant

 Global stockpile of Ebola vaccine  

Why in News?  WHO, UNICEF, IFRC and MSF announced the establishment of a Global Ebola Vaccine Stockpile to ensure response to outbreak.    Facts:  Global Ebola Vaccine Stockpile: The stockpile is led by International Coordinating Group(ICG) on Vaccine Provision which includes the WHO, UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies(IFRC), and Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) with financial support from… Continue reading  Global stockpile of Ebola vaccine