UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS| PRELIMS & MAINS | 3rd May 2020

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IASbhai DAILY UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS  (THE HINDU+LIVEMINT+PIB)

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Daily Current Affairs for UPSC is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS2020.

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.– Francis of Assisi

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

‘India Thanks COVID-19 Warriors’ initiative

      HEADLINES:

Indian Coast Guard joins the nation to thank COVID-19 Warriors

      WHY IN NEWS:

The ICG is also actively taking part in the ‘India Thanks COVID-19 Warriors’ initiative by illuminating ships and showering petals at hospitals treating Corona patients.

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Defence
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Defence

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS just remember the name of this initiative and who is conducting this .

For MAINS nothing much here!

      ISSUE: 

Indian Coast Guard (ICG) stands in solidarity with efforts of the Government to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)proactively by undertaking additional community interaction programmes about the precautions to be adopted to educate mariners, especially fishermen community, ports and other agencies.

 ICG has been in the forefront of Ministry of Defence (MoD) initiative to appreciate the efforts of COVID Warriors.

  • Ships will appreciate the efforts of the COVID-19 Warriors by illuminating the ships on May 03, 2020 at 25 locations covering the entire coastline of the country including the remote sites and far flung island territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.
  • The ICG ships and aircraft continue to maintain strict vigil at sea and remains committed to ensure safe and secure seas around the Indian subcontinent.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

It is also maintaining 24×7 electronic surveillance of our coasts through Coastal Surveillance Radar Network.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

National Gallery of Modern Art

      HEADLINES:

National Gallery of Modern Art pays tribute to pioneering artist Jamini Roy through virtual tour

      WHY IN NEWS:

National Gallery of Modern Art pays tribute to the pioneering artist Jamini Roy on his 133rd Birth Anniversary year through virtual tour.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1:Culture:Visual arts

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS it is highly important to go through the virtual link given below in the article. You will have the glimpses of modern art .

For MAINS how does this effect normal live ? Substantiate.

      CONTEXT: 

Therefore, on his 133rd Birth Anniversary year (11.04.1887 – 24.04.1972), NGMA presents the life and art works of Jamini Roy through this Virtual Tour for the visitors to enjoy without even physically coming down to the location these days.

NATIONAL GALLERY OF MODERN ART ART

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES :

– To acquire and preserve works of modern art from 1850s onward
– To organize, maintain and develop galleries for permanent display
– To organize special exhibitions not only in its own premises but in other parts of the country and abroad.
– To develop an education and documentation centre in order to acquire, maintain and preserve documents relating to works of modern art
– To develop a specialized library of books, periodicals, photographs and other audio visual materials
– To organize lectures, seminars and conferences, and to encourage higher studies and research in the field of art history, art criticism, art appreciation, museology and the inter-relations on visual and performing arts.

OTHER FEATURES:

The foremost responsibility of the National Gallery of Modern Art is to ensure quality and to set and maintain standards of excellence.

Above all, the National Gallery of Modern Art helps people to look at the works of modern art with greater joy, understanding and knowledge by extending their relationship with our daily life and experiencing them as vital expressions of the human spirit.

NGMA launched Virtual Tour of its permanent collection for the visitors to enjoy without having to physically visit the Museum during these days.

It is for the first time that NGMA has provided the facility of virtual tour of its permanent collection to art lovers.

JAMINI ROY

  • Trained in the British academic style of painting in the early decades of the twentieth century, Jamini Roy became well-known as a skilful portraitist.
  • He received regular commissions after he graduated from the Government Art School in what is now Kolkata, in 1916.
The Bengal School, founded by Abanindranath Tagore and Kala Bhavana in Santiniketan under Nandalal Bose rejected European naturalism and the use of oil as a medium and were exploring new ways of representation.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Jamini Roy, too, consciously rejected the style he had mastered during his academic training and from the early 1920s searched for forms that stirred the innermost recesses of his being.
  • He sought inspiration from sources as diverse as East Asian calligraphy, terracotta temple friezes, objects from folk arts and crafts traditions and the like.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

U.S. offers relief to H-1B

      HEADLINES:

U.S. offers relief to H-1B holders, green card applicants

      WHY IN NEWS:

They have been given 60 more days to submit documents

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Recent developments

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS what is H-1B Visa ? How it is regulated ?What the criteria for this visa ?

      ISSUE: 

In a major relief for professionals and immigrants from countries like India, the U.S. government has given a grace period of 60 days to H-1B visa holders and Green Card applicants, who have been served notices for submission of various documents, taking into account the massive COVID-19 outbreak in America.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.CIS) on Friday said the 60-day grace period for responding to its requests .

H-1B VISA : 

The US H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations.

H-1B visa holders can bring their spouse and children under 21 years of age to the US under the H-4 Visa category as dependents.

 SPECIALITY OCCUPATIONS :

  • Theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc.
  • Any professional level job that usually requires you to have a bachelor’s degree or higher can come under the H-1B visa for specialty occupations.

CRITERIA TO QUALIFY AS A SPECIALTY OCCUPATION:

  • Have a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent.
  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree.
The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position.
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.

USCIS’S COMMENT :

  • The U.S.CIS can issue a maximum of 65,000 H-1B work visas every year to highly skilled foreign workers.
  • It can issue an additional 20,000 H-1B visas to those highly skilled foreign workers who have obtained masters or higher degrees from an American educational institution.
Under the existing law, the U.S. can issue a maximum of 1,40,000 employment-based green cards every year with a per country cap of seven per cent.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Accordingly, in fiscal year 2019, Indian nationals received 9,008 category 1 (E-B1), 2,908 category 2 (E-B2), and 5,083 category 3 (E-B3) green cards.
  • E-B13 are different categories of employment-based green cards.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Broad-spectrum antiviral

      HEADLINES:

Broad-spectrum antiviral inhibits novel coronavirus

      WHY IN NEWS:

There was a dose-dependent reduction in novel coronavirus infections in human airway epithelial cell cultures

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Science and Technology

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS you have to dive into broad spectrum Anti-virals !

  • What were the medicines used for Ebola ?
  • How do they react with COVID-19 ?

      ISSUE: 

Broad-spectrum antivirals for emerging zoonotic infections become particularly important when specific interventions do not yet exist.

Stopgap: Broad-spectrum antivirals are useful when specific interventions are lacking.

PARTIAL SUCCESS ! 

  • Researchers have found that a ribonucleoside analogue (beta-D-N4-hydroxycytidine or NHC) that has previously shown to be effective against influenza and Ebola is also potent against coronaviruses, including the novel coronavirus that is currently causing the pandemic.
The drug was found to be effective in both cell lines and primary human airway epithelial cultures against SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2.
  • It was also effective against three closely-related bat coronaviruses that were capable of replicating in human cells without undergoing any adaptation, suggesting potential direct transmission from bats to humans.

IN VITRO ANALYSIS

The NHC drug is highly active against all three coronaviruses2002 SARS, MERS and the novel coronavirus.

  • While it was not toxic to human cells.
  • The antiviral activity of NHC arises from increased mutation rate in viral genomic RNA.
In the case of MERS, treatment with 1 microMolar of NHC resulted in three-fold increase in error rate and 138-fold decrease in virus titer.
  • When the amount of NHC used was increased to 10 microMolar, the error rate increased sixfold and virus titer reduction increased 26,000-fold.
  • Explaining the process that leads to increased mutation rates, the authors say that NHC gets incorporated during RNA synthesis and then subsequently misread leading to enhanced mutation.

PRODRUG TESTED

  • Encouraged by these results, the researchers tested an orally bioavailable prodrug of NHC designed for improved oral bioavailability in humans and non-human primates and better pharmacokinetics.
  • The prodrug was tested in vitro using the 2002 SARS coronavirus.

Lung haemorrhage was significantly reduced and there was a dose-dependent reduction in lung titer of SARS coronavirus.

  • They found the prodrug given as a prophylactic was “robustly antiviral” and was able to prevent SARS coronavirus replication and disease.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

OTHER VIRUSES

  • The authors have not been able to test the efficacy of the drug against novel coronavirus using animals models.
  • Also, it is known that disease severity increases with age, but the authors were not able to test the drug against coronavirus using aged mouse models.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Pooled RT-PCR testing

      HEADLINES:

A protocol for pooled RT-PCR testing of COVID-19

      WHY IN NEWS:

The algorithm reconstructs the individual list of positives, negatives and their viral loads from the readings of the tests

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Diseases : Science and Technology

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS note down the principle of pooled testing method and understand the algorith on which it works . That should suffice Prelims preparation of this topic.

For MAINS can you compare testing methods based on their efficacy ?

      ISSUE: 

IIT Bombay researchers have developed an algorithm which can be used to help conduct pooled testing of samples for COVID-19.

Pooled test: Pooling of samples is one way of reducing the number of test kits used and increases testing capacity. istockistock/jarun011

In order to validate this protocol – known as Tapestry Pooling – in vitro experiments using synthetic RNA and DNA fragments have been carried out by NCBS and InSTEM, Bengaluru, and Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering, U.S.

WHAT IS POOLED TESTING ? 

  • Pooling of samples involves testing them in batches, and when pooled sample tests positive, then individual samples are assessed.
Using combinatorics, an algorithm is found that unscrambles the test results and tells you which of the individuals in the pool are positive.
  • The Android application named BYOM Smart Testing, which was developed by Shop 101, guides the user on how to perform the test.
  • Pools are tested and the quantitative reading from the tests is entered into our algorithm, which reconstructs the list of positives, negatives, and their viral loads,” .
  • This could take four hours to perform typically.
An adaptive test which has two rounds of testing, can take twice the amount of time.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

GRACEFUL FAILURE MODE

  • The protocol also has a so-called graceful failure mode.
  • “It estimates actual prevalence rate in the batch and if this is much higher than the projected prevalence so that the algorithm is not able to identify all positives exactly, it returns a list of suspected positives which includes all the positives, and possibly a few false positives which can be eliminated in round two of testing,”.
  • The group is in the process of drafting and obtaining permissions for a clinical trial.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Portable coronavirus detection kit: eCovSens

      HEADLINES:

NIAB develops portable coronavirus detection kit

      WHY IN NEWS:

The device can detect novel coronavirus antigens in 20 microlitres of human saliva within 30 seconds

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Diseases : Science and Technology : Recent Innovations

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS jot some points from the features of this equipment ! This can be a game changer if it comes to reality .

For MAINS how should be mass testing facilitated and give your opinion on mass testing of mega population.

      ISSUE: 

Researchers from the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad, have developed a biosensor that can detect the novel coronavirus in saliva samples.

Cross-reactivity studies: The researchers checked that the antibody in the device does not bind with any other viral antigen.Getty ImagesGetty Images – bluecinema
  • Biosensors have been currently used across the world to detect toxins, narcotic drugs, and are also considered as a reliable tool to detect infectious diseases.

NEW DEVICE

The new portable device named eCovSens, can be used to detect the presence of novel coronavirus antigens in human saliva within 30 seconds using just 20 microlitres of the sample.
  • The in-house built biosensor consists of a carbon electrode and the coronavirus antibody.
  • The antibody is capable of binding with the spike protein found on the outer layer of the virus.
  • An electrical signal is generated when the antigen and antibody binds.
  • Electrical components in the device further amplify this signal, process it, convert it to digital readings on an LCD display.
The device can also be connected to a computer or cellphone via Bluetooth and studied.

BATTERY-OPERATED

The device can also be battery-operated as it uses very low voltage of 1.3V to 3V.
  • The team also compared eCovSens to a regular potentiostat and found the new device to be ultrasensitive and quicker.

OTHER VIRAL ANTIGENS

  • Cross-reactivity studies were done to check if the antibody in the device binds with any other viral antigen.
  • No electric current was generated when tested with antigens of the Avian influenza virus.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The device is stable and when built in bulk can drastically bring down the cost of testing.
  • The validation studies using saliva samples from coronavirus patients are yet to be done,”
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

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