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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 17-April-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Coronavirus: Govt lab claims to have identified ‘novel mutations’

  2. Novel test may quickly, accurately detect novel coronavirus: Study

  3. Delhi to begin clinical trials of ‘plasma therapy’ for coronavirus soon: Arvind Kejriwal 

  4. Chitra GeneLAMP-N makes confirmatory tests results of COVID 19 possible in 2 hours

  5. CeNS develops portable sensor to ease heavy metal detection in water.

  6. India to launch training programmes for SAARC healthcare professionals to fight COVID-19 

  7. Workforce guideline lands tea gardens in trouble 


CORONAVIRUS: GOVT LAB CLAIMS TO HAVE IDENTIFIED ‘NOVEL MUTATIONS’

Why in news?

  • Claiming a breakthrough in studying the mysterious ways in which Covid-19 works, scientists at the government-run Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre have identified three "novel mutations" in the virus that they say could become building blocks in the quest for a universal cure. 


Highlights:

  • Dr CG Joshi, director of the Gandhinagar-based institute, said on Thursday that genome sequencing of a Covid-19 sample taken from a patient in Gujarat revealed nine mutations, of which six had been reported in various countries hit by the pandemic. 

  • Three mutations are unique to our sequencing. This indicates that the virus is mutating fast.

  • The institute plans to collect about 100 more samples from across the state to arrive at a comprehensive set of findings.

  • Hareet Shukla, secretary of science and technology, said the results of genome sequencing would be crucial to deciding a "drug strategy" for the viral infection as well as developing a vaccine for it. 


Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/coronavirus-govt-lab-claims-to-have-identified-novel-mutations/articleshow/75190715.cms )


NOVEL TEST MAY QUICKLY, ACCURATELY DETECT NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: STUDY

Why in news?

  • Scientists have developed a new test that may detect the novel coronavirus more accurately and quickly, and relieve the pressure on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based tests currently used in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. 



Highlights:

  • Millions of people have been tested for the novel coronavirus, most using a kit that relies on the PCR, a sensitive method that amplifies SARS-CoV-2 RNA from patient swabs so that tiny amounts of the virus can be detected.

  • Researchers including those from the Institute of Environmental Engineering, ETH Zurich in Switzerland, have developed a potentially more accurate diagnostic based on plasmonic photothermal sensing. 

  • The method can detect interactions between molecules on the surface of a constructed metallic nanostructure as a local change in refractive index. 

  • The team made DNA probes that recognised specific SARS-CoV-2 RNA sequences and attached them to gold nanoparticles. 

  • When they added pieces of the viral genome, the RNA attached to the complementary probes like a zipper being closed. 

  • The team used a laser to heat up the nanoparticles, making it more difficult for imperfectly matched sequences to remain attached, reducing false-positives. 

  • For example, a nucleic acid "zipper" missing a couple of teeth -- indicating a partial mismatch -- would unzip under these conditions.  In this way, the researchers could discriminate between SARS-CoV-2 and its close relative, SARS-CoV-1. 

  • Although the test still needs to be tested on intact viral RNA from patient samples, it could help relieve the current pressure on PCR-based tests, they said.


Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/novel-test-may-quickly-accurately-detect-novel-coronavirus-study/articleshow/75174813.cms )


DELHI TO BEGIN CLINICAL TRIALS OF ‘PLASMA THERAPY’ FOR CORONAVIRUS SOON: ARVIND KEJRIWAL

Why in news?

  • Delhi government has got the Centre’s permission to conduct clinical trials of ‘plasma therapy’ to help critically ill coronavirus patients, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.


Highlights:

  • Plasma therapy is meant for only those coronavirus patients who are on ventilator support and are critical.

  • Through the Plasma Therapy, transfusion of plasma from a convalescent coronavirus patient to a critical patient is done. As the blood of a convalescent patient is rich in antibodies it is expected to help in the recovery of the critical patient.

  • In this therapy, the donor has to be a patient who has recovered, showed multiple negative testing and showed no symptoms after 14 days of isolation.

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research has asked institutions from across the country to participate in the clinical trials to assess the plasma treatment using protocols.

  • However, the trials needed permission from the Drug Control authority since conducting it involves relaxation in blood donation norms.


Source : The Statesman ( https://www.thestatesman.com/coronavirus/delhi-to-begin-clinical-trials-of-plasma-therapy-for-coronavirus-soon-arvind-kejriwal-1502878147.html )


CHITRA GENELAMP-N MAKES CONFIRMATORY TESTS RESULTS OF COVID 19 POSSIBLE IN 2 HOURS

Why in news?

  • Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, an Institute of National Importance, of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has developed a diagnostic test kit that can confirm COVID19 in 2 hours at low cost. 


Highlights:

  • The confirmatory diagnostic test, which detects the N Gene of SARS- COV2 using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid (RT-LAMP), will be one of the world’s first few if not the first of its kinds in the world. 

  • The test kit, funded by the DST called Chitra GeneLAMP-N, is highly specific