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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 15-May-2020

Updated: May 18, 2020

Topic Covered :

  1. NIPERs playing proactive role in Fight against COVID-19

  2. COBAS 6800 


  4. Gujarat to pilot sensor-based service delivery monitoring system in rural drinking water sector under Jal Jeevan Mission

  5. Coronavirus lockdown | NHRC issues notices to States

  6. Three new species of fishes found in Western Ghats


Why in news?

  • A large number of multi-faceted research proposals have been submitted by various National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs), towards the containment, identification and treatment of COVID-19 to relevant agencies for approval. 


The key themes of these proposals include :

  • Design of protease targeting COVID-19 antiviral agents (NIPER-Mohali),

  • Computationally guided drug-repurposing using the FDA approved drug-database (NIPER-Mohali and Raebareli),

  • Analysis of pro-drug to drug conversion of Remdesvir (NIPER, Mohali),

  • Adjuvant-therapy based nasal spray for ailing patients (NIPER-Hyderabad),

  • Quantum-dot based and conductivity based biosensor development for rapid COVID-19 (NIPER-Ahmedabad) testing, and

  • an interesting study about the control of strokes incidence during Covid-19.

  • NIPER-Raebareli has also initiated a mega project with IIT and an industrial partner in the development of new immuno-booster formulation utilizing traditionally used shrubs.

  • NIPER Kolkata is working on an indigenous cost effective ICU VENTILATOR in collaboration with CSIR CECRI and a private manufacturer.

About NIPER :

  • National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs) are the institutes of national importance under the aegis of the Department of Pharmaceutical, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

  • The seven institutes are functional at Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Hajipur, Kolkata, Guwahati, Mohali, and Raebareli.

Source : PIB ( )

COBAS 6800

  • Why in news? Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare visited the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and dedicated the COBAS 6800 testing machine to the nation.


  • This is the first such testing machine that has been procured by the Government for testing of COVID-19 cases and is installed at the National Centre for Disease Control.

  • It is a fully automated, high end machine for performing real time PCR testing COVID-19.

  • COBAS 6800 will provide quality, high-volume testing with a high throughput of test around 1200 samples in 24 hours. It will largely increase the testing capacity with reduction in pendency.

  • COBAS 6800 is a sophisticated machine enabled with robotics that minimizes the chance of contamination as well as the risk of infection to the health care workers since it can be operated remotely with limited human intervention. 

  • COBAS 6800 can also detect other pathogens like Viral Hepatitis B & C, HIV, MTb (both rifampicin and isoniazide resistance), Papilloma, CMV, Chlamydia, Neiserreia etc.

About NCDC :

  • Earlier it was known as National Institute of Communicable disease.

  • The Institute is under administrative control of the Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India.

  • The Director, an officer of the Public Health sub-cadre of Central Health Service, is the administrative and technical head of the Institute.

  • The Institute has its headquarters in Delhi and has 8 out-station branches located at Alwar (Rajasthan), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Kozikode (Kerela), Coonoor (Tamil Nadu), Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh), Patna (Bihar), Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh) and Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).

Source : PIB ( )


Why in news?

  • Ministry of HRD has developed an e-Governance platform, SAMARTH(Enterprises Resource Planning) ERP, under National Mission of Education in Information and Communication Technology Scheme (NMEICT). 


  • SAMARTH, is an Open Standard Open Source Architecture, Secure, Scalable and Evolutionary Process Automation Engine for Universities and Higher Educational Institutions.

  • It caters to faculty, students and staff at a University/Higher Educational Institutions.

  •  SAMARTH, has been implemented at National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, a participating unit under the World Bank supported Technical Education Quality Improvement Program (TEQIP).

  • This initiative will enhance the productivity through better information management in the institute by seamless access to  information, and its utilization for various purposes.

Source : PIB ( )


Why in news?

  • Gujarat is all set to implement sensor-based service delivery monitoring system in rural drinking water sector under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). 


  • The pilot is already underway in two districts of the state so as to monitor the functionality of water supply i.e. potable water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality being provided to every rural household on regularly on long-term basis.

  • The JJM announced by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi last year aims to provide tap water connections to 18 Crore rural households of the country by the year 2024. 

  • This ambitious scheme is benefitting all the states as the States/ UTs are working hard to ensure every rural household gets water tap connection.

Source : PIB ( )


Why in news?

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued notice to the Maharashtra government over the “inappropriate approach” adopted for the release of prisoners to avoid the SARS-CoV-2 infection and the incident of a pregnant migrant giving birth on the road.


  1. It also issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government as the woman was walking from Maharashtra to Satna, her home town, when she was forced to give birth on the road.

  2. Taking cognisance of a complaint by its prison monitor Maja Daruwala, the NHRC noted that “allegedly, the policy adopted by the Maharashtra government to decongest jails has arisen due to the misinterpretation of directions given by the Supreme Court in the matter”.

  3. She asked the NHRC for its intervention to ensure the safety of prisoners.

  4. The Commission has observed that it is aware of the fact that in many jails, the prisoners as well as the staff members have fallen prey to COVID-19 owing to overcrowding, lack of manpower and medical facilities

  5. In the second case, the NHRC took cognisance suo motu of media reports on Tuesday about a pregnant woman, who was walking with her husband from Nashik in Maharashtra to Satna, when she developed labour pain.

  6. She gave birth on the road, resting for two hours and continuing to walk the remaining 150 km.

  7. The NHRC asked Chief Secretaries of both States for a report in four weeks.

Source : The Hindu ( )


Why in news?

New research employing an integrative approach of evidence-gathering using morphological and genetic analysis and based on a fresh collection of Dawkinsia, a genus of cyprinid fish specimens from the Western Ghats, has resulted in the discovery of three new fish species.


  1. Collaborative research by scientists from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, has led to the discovery of three new species.

  2. Scientists from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, have unravelled the diversity in the filament barbs of the Western Ghats.

  3. Filament barbs are a group of small freshwater fishes found in the rivers of peninsular India and Sri Lanka, of which nine species are currently known under the genus Dawkinsia. 

  4. They are popular among aquarium hobbyists around the world and are both wild-collected and captive-bred for the trade.

Source : Hindu ( )

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