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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 07-April-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Hog Cholera

  2. European economy faces historic recession

  3. Vizag Gas Leak Case

  4. Israel’s vaccine against Corona

  5. Italian firm claims to have made a vaccine to contain coronavirus

  6. Himalayas' Melting Snow Caps Cause Spread Of Toxic Algae


HOG CHOLERA

Why in news?

  • Suspected hog cholera has killed at least a dozen pigs across two districts of Meghalaya. 


Highlights:

  • Classical swine fever (CSF), otherwise known as hog cholera (HC) or just swine fever, is a specific viral disease of pigs.

  • It affects no other species.

  • It is a notifiable disease in most countries of the world.

  • It causes generalised disease, including fever, malaise, lack of appetite, diarrhoea, paralysis, abortion, mummification and the birth of shaking piglets. Mortality is high.

  • Vaccines are available.


Source : The Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pigs-die-of-suspected-hog-cholera-in-meghalaya/article31520758.ece )


EUROPEAN ECONOMY FACES HISTORIC RECESSION

Why in news?

  • The EU on Wednesday forecast a historic recession on the continent battered by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.


Highlights:

  • The eurozone economy is forecast to contract by an eye-watering 7.7%, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Paulo Gentiloni said.

  • Europe is facing an economic shock without precedent since the Great Depression

  • Governments are seeking to revive stalled economies by slowly lifting lockdown measures that have hemmed in more than 4.6 billion people worldwide — while avoiding a second wave of the virus.

  • Car sales plunged by 61% last month while new industrial orders hit a record low in March.


Source : The Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/european-economy-faces-historic-recession/article31522342.ece )


VIZAG GAS LEAK CASE

Why in news?

  • At least eight people including a child died after toxic gas leaked from LG Polymers facility located near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, the state government reported. 


Highlights:

  • At least 800 people were reportedly admitted to hospital. Ambulances, fire engines and policemen rushed to the chemical plant. Thousands of people were evacuated from the nearby villages, officials told.

  • The plant operated by LG Polymers was located in the outskirts of Visakhapatnam. The city and the surrounding area were home to around five million people.

  • The LG Polymers plant makes polystyrene products, according to a company website, which are used in manufacturing electric fan blades, cups and cutlery and containers for cosmetic products such as make up.

  • The raw material, styrene, is highly flammable and releases a poisonous gas when burnt.

  • The gas had leaked out of two 5,000-tonne tanks that had been unattended due to coronavirus lockdown in place since late March.


Source : Livemint ( https://www.livemint.com/news/india/andhra-pradesh-chemical-plant-gas-leak-live-updates-6-died-200-reportedly-in-hospital-11588826050031.html )


ISRAEL’s VACCINE AGAINST CORONA

Why in news?

  • Israel has isolated a key coronavirus antibody at its primary biological research centre, Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday. He called it a “significant breakthrough” towards a possible treatment for Covid-19.


Highlights:

  • The “monoclonal neutralising antibody” developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) “attacks the virus and neutralizes it” inside the virus carrier’s body.

  • Monoclonal antibodies, as the name suggests, are cloned from a single recovered cell. Thus, they are much easier to create and use, as opposed to polyclonal antibodies which will have to be derived from multiple cells.

  • In typical antibody vaccines, neutralisation occurs when the laboratory-developed antibodies mimic the body’s natural immune response and attack the virus when exposed to it.

  • According to the Jerusalem Post, IIBR has completed the development phase of the antibody formula and is now looking to manufacture it.

  • However, most potential vaccines are currently in human trials. Though Shapira said mass production is about to begin, it is unclear whether the vaccine has been tested for safety or efficacy on humans.


Source : The Print ( https://theprint.in/world/israel-develops-key-covid-antibody-that-attacks-and-neutralises-the-virus-in-patients-body/414570/ )


ITALIAN FIRM CLAIMS TO HAVE MADE A VACCINE TO CONTAIN CORONAVIRUS

Why in news?

  • Italian researchers have claimed that they have successfully developed a vaccine to contain the coronavirus, which is likely to work on humans, Italian news agency ANSA has reported. 


Highlights:

  • Luigi Aurisicchio, CEO of Takis, the firm that claims to have developed the vaccine, said that a coronavirus candidate vaccine has neutralised the virus in human cells for the first time, according to the news report.

  • The researchers experimented with the vaccine on mice that successfully developed antibodies that blocked the virus from infecting the cells.

  • This is the most advanced stage of testing of a candidate vaccine created in Italy. Human tests are expected after this summer.

  • The vaccine candidates being developed are based on the genetic material of DNA protein “spikes”, the molecular tips used by the coronavirus to enter human cells.

  • The researchers believe that this makes their vaccine particularly effective for generating functional antibodies against the “spike” protein. 


Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/italian-firm-claims-to-have-made-a-vaccine-to-contain-coronavirus/story-fl2DYhDRTUeGOb8wY0xULM.html )


HIMALAYAS' MELTING SNOW CAPS CAUSE SPREAD OF TOXIC ALGAE

Why in news?

  • The loss of snow cover in the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau region is fuelling ‘harmful algal blooms’ in the Arabian Sea, according to the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory’s research. 


Highlights:

  • The US space agency, NASA also released satellite images which found bloom of the marine species Noctiluca Scintillans, also known as ‘sea sparkle’, lining coastlines around the sea. 

  • The coast of the Arabian Sea, on the border of India and Pakistan, have traces of the ‘sea sparkle’ which have formed thick green swirls and filaments.

  • These 'sea sparkles’ force out planktons and cause massive destruction to the sea’s food chain which also affects the survival of fishes. 

  • Noctiluca has also expanded to other Southeast Asia parts, including the coast of Thailand, Vietnam and Seychelles.

  • The algal may portend dire consequences over the long term for countries in the region already gripped by socioeconomic problems from war, poverty and loss of livelihoods. 


Source : Republic World ( https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/rest-of-the-world-news/himalayas-melting-snow-caps-cause-toxic-algae-in-arabian-sea.html )

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