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Last Updated: October 19, 2020 6 hours ago

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  • BepiColombo Spacecraft crossed Venus

    6 hours ago
    The BepiColombo SpaceCraft has crossed the Venus in its journey towards Mercury. Highlights: ♦ BepiColombo is a joint mission of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to the smallest planet Mercury. ♦ The mission comprises two satellites launched together: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and  MercuryMagnetospheric Orbiter, MMO(MIO) ♦ This mission will perform a comprehensive study of Mercury, including characterisation of its magnetic field, magnetosphere, and both interior and surface structure.  ♦ The Spacecraft was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket on 20 October 2018 and it will arrival  Mercury in December 2025. ♦ The Spacecraft is one of the European Space Agency's Horizon 2000+ programmes. ♦ This is the last mission of the programme to be launched.

    MISSION SHAKTI Launched by UP Government

    6 hours ago
    Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issues directions for including Bhojpuri, Bundelkhand dialects in helplines. Highlights: ♦ Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed that the facility of speaking in Bhojpuri and Bundelkhand should be made available on various helpline numbers, observing that women would feel more comfortable communicating in regional dialects. ♦ The second day of Mission Shakti, is to interact with women village pradhans, BDC members, corporators, heads of urban local bodies, self-help groups and women teachers, through virtual mo ♦ The helpline numbers such as 1090, 181, 1076 and 112 should be publicised. ♦ The pradhan of Ratsar Kala Garhwar village in Ballia, said that there should be a facility of speaking Bhojpuri and Bundelkhand dialects on helpline numbers such as 1090, 112, 181. ♦ This will help the women to feel comfortable speaking in their regional dialect. ♦ There is a need to teach the feeling 'gaanvkibeti, sabkibeti'. ♦ These are our culture and values, and this should reverberate from villages to cites.  ♦ The Centre and state government are making consistent efforts to ensure women security and honour, but the real success will be achieved by cooperation and awareness of women. ♦ If the public representative is not aware, then the schemes fall prey to corruption.

    SC appoints former justice Lokur to monitor steps to prevent stubble burning

    12 hours ago
    The Supreme Court has appointed Justice Madan B Lokur, a former judge of the Supreme Court, as a one-person monitoring committee to prevent stubble burning in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, amid rising levels of pollution in the national capital and adjoining regions. Highlights: ♦ The judgment was passed by the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice SA Bobde while hearing a PIL filed by two environmental activities as directions to ensure the implementation of the complete ban on stubble burning. ♦ Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and chief secretaries of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh were directed to help the Lokur panel. ♦ The concerned state governments are asked to provide secretarial, security and financial facilities to this committee. The committee is directed to submit its report to the Supreme Court in 15 days, with the next hearing on October 26, 2020. ♦ The committee will be assisted by state chief secretaries and also by National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and Bharat Scouts.

    Science-Society-Setu webinar series initiated to strengthen the S&T capacity of NGOs & Communities.

    12 hours ago
    The need to create knowledge that is required for different sections of our society at the Science-Society-Setu for Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (S34ANB), a web clinic series by Science for Equity Empowerment and Development SEED Division, Department of Science and Technology (DST). Highlights: ♦ DST has organised the discussions under web clinic to reach the unreached through 'vocal for local approach' to strengthen the social infrastructure & technology-driven pillars of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat.'  ♦ The web clinic is in partnership with the Office of Principal Scientific Advisor, India Science Technology & Innovation Portal, WWF-India, AGNi, HESCO & FICCI. ♦ The webinar will cover four broad sectors, namely: 'agriculture and allied sectors, MSME & economic sector, social infrastructure, and cross-sectoral areas’. ♦ To have a free flow of knowledge, have the last mile connects besides creating new small business opportunities, social entrepreneurship, and empowering the self-help groups. ♦ The knowledge ecosystem consists of two categories:  knowledge creation and transforming knowledge into new socio-economic opportunities. ♦ For a sustainable knowledge ecosystem, it is required these two components flow together, creating more master trainers, advancing S& T capacity of NGO's and communities to make the society more self-reliant. ♦ The web clinic is aimed to bridge the systematic gaps in S&T absorption capacity of the community, enhancing the knowledge capacity and livelihood systems for sustainable development at a local level by strengthening the S&T capacity of NGOs and Communities. ♦ A panel discussion on emerging technologies was organised showcasing different technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) for water conservation, satellite technology for agriculture supply chain, and automation for small scale agriculture.

    CSIR-CMERI develops Sustainable Municipal Solid Waste Processing Facility

    12 hours ago
    The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Processing Facility that has helped in achieving decentralised decimation of solid wastes. Highlights: ♦ The critical focus of CSIR-CMERI is to unburden the typical households from the segregation responsibilities through advanced segregation techniques. The bio-digestion process adopted has minimum pollution factor. ♦ The MSW facility has been equipped with unique capabilities to make it easy with a diverse range of waste including masks, sanitary napkins, diapers etc.  ♦ The MSW facility has been with unique disinfection capabilities to help break the COVID chain through UV-C lights and hot-air convection methods. ♦ The equipment can be worked with optimum energy sufficiency by adding solar energy technology which can also feed the surplus Energy Supply onto a Mini-Grid. ♦ Decentralised Waste Management technology developed by CSIR-CMERI can result in a drastic reduction of expenditure related to Transportation Logistics and can help reductions in CO2 emissions, by reducing fossil fuel usage. ♦ The Scientifically Decentralised Waste Processing Hubs will help multiply outreach for various locations and will also boost the manufacturing potential for the residents of the region.  

    BRAHMOS missile test-fired from destroyer INS Chennai in the Arabian Sea

    12 hours ago
    The supersonic cruise missile BRAHMOS was successfully test-fired on October 18, 2020, from Indian Navy’s indigenously-built stealth destroyer INS Chennai, hitting a target in the Arabian Sea. The missile hits the mark with its maximum accuracy.  Highlights: ♦ The BRAHMOS missile hit the target successfully with pin-point accuracy after performing high-level and too complex manoeuvres. ♦ Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Navy for the successful launch of the missile. ♦ BRAHMOS is a prime strike weapon will ensure the warship's invincibility by engaging naval surface targets at long ranges, thus making the destroyer another lethal platform of Indian Navy. ♦ The supersonic cruise missile BRAHMOS has been jointly designed, developed and produced by India and Russia. BRAHMOS: Brahmos is named by the names of the rivers Brahmaputra & Moskva. The missile is a two-stage (solid propellant engine in the first stage and liquid ramjet in second) air to surface missile. Brahmos is multiplatform that is it can be launched from land, air, and sea and multi capability missile with pin-point accuracy that works in both daytime and night time, amid the weather conditions. It works on the "Fire and Forgets" principle means it does not need further guidance after its launch. This missile is one of the fastest cruise missiles currently operationally deployed with the speed of Mach 2.8, which is 3 times more than the speed of sound.

    Gov Tech- Thon 2020 to be held from 30th October

    2 days ago
    Government of India' sNIC(National Informatics Centre), IEEE Computer Society (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and Oracle Corporation will organize Gov Tech- Thon 2020 commencing from October 30, 2020, to November 1 2020.    Highlights: ♦ Gov Tech-Thon 2020, a pan India 36 hours virtual Hackathon to be organized from October 30 to November 1, 2020.  ♦ It is launched under the Government of India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. ♦ The virtual hackathon is open to students, working professionals, startups, freelance technologists, faculty, and other IT service firms in India.  ♦ During the hackathon, participants will receive mentorship and advice from technical experts from NIC, IEEE and Oracle, as well as senior domain experts from the Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Transport Departments, Government of India. ♦ Participants would be given access to the latest tools from Oracle, Oracle Autonomous Database, built-in and easy-to-use cloud security. This technology will help them to develop prototypes that are practical and scalable.

    Narendra Singh Tomar Inaugurated Food and Agri Week 2020

    2 days ago
    Union Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar, the Food Processing Industries Minister on October 16, 2020, inaugurated the India-International Food &Agri Week virtually. The focus of the Food and Agro Tech will be on the use and benefit of the technology in the field of food and agriculture sector. India - International Food & Agri Week is being organized from 16th to October 22 2020. CII in association with the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, Ministry of Fisheries & Animal Husbandry and Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, is organizing its first-ever Virtual CII Agro & Food Tech: India - International Food &Agri on CII HIVE – virtual platform with an intent to create a platform for the benefit of the stakeholders involved in the agriculture & allied sectors.    Highlights ♦ As per Govt. data, Indian food processing sector is 32% of India's food market.  ♦ The focus of the Food & Agro Tech will be on the use and benefit of the technology in the field of food and agriculture sector to increase the income of the farmers. ♦ The focus of this sector is in the line of the goal set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to double the payment of the farmers by 2022. ♦ Proper marketing and the latest technology can lead to more significant development of the agriculture sector.  ♦ The GDP growth rate in Agriculture is 3.4%, and this sector has contributed hugely to India's economic growth even during Covid times.  ♦ MoFPI has started an awareness campaign named 'Anna Devo Bhava'to mark this occasion. ♦ The celebration aims in increasing awareness about the value of the food and also focus on reducing food wastage ♦ Under AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, MoFPI has started PMFME (PM Formalisation of Micro food Enterprises) scheme with an outlay of Rs 20,000 crores. This scheme will support 2 lakh micro food processing units with credit-linked subsidy and would focus on supporting the SHGs, FPOs and cottage industry. ♦ The 14th edition of the Agro and Food Tech is an appropriate platform to showcase the products, services and technology available in the agriculture and related sectors.  PM Kisan Sampada Scheme:        MoFPI started PM KisanSampada Scheme (PMKSY) for modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlets. MFP scheme is an essential element of PMKSY whose objective is to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together the farmers, processors and retailers. As of now, 37 MFPs have been approved out of which 20 have begun operations. Ministry has expanded the Operation greens scheme from TOP to TOTAL.  Under this scheme, Ministry will provide 50% subsidy for transportation of eligible crops from surplus production cluster to consumption centre for six months and Hiring of appropriate storage facilities for suitable crops (for a maximum period of 3 months)

    SCALE India Android App launched by LSSC

    2 days ago
    Leather Sector Skill Council launches SCALE India Android App for Enhanced Quality Assurance under Skill India Mission. Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC)  today announced the launch of Skill Certification Assessment for Leather Employees (SCALE) India android app on October 15, 2020 Aim: The SCALE platform assists employees to upgrade their skills basis changing market dynamics. The aim is to meet the evolving industry demands and get certified on the new skills acquired. It brings candidate/trainee, employer, employee, assessor and trainer – all at one place. Highlights: ♦ SCALE app virtually works on any smart handheld device, desktop/laptop, smart phones, tablets etc. ♦ The app will also helps in engaging employers with other stakeholders and also provide a marketplace for human capital for the leather industry. ♦ The assessments are currently available in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Bengali, with plans to add more regional languages in a phased manner. ♦ This app will help candidates in the skilling ecosystem to get assessed and certified on their knowledge, skills and behaviour on a specific qualification pack. ♦ SCALE App provides access to micro learning modules for the betterment of the knowledge. Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC): LSSC set up in year 2012 by the approval of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to meet the demand for skilled workforce in the leather industry in India.

    USFDA approved first treatment for Ebola

    3 days ago
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first drug for the treatment of Ebola on October 14, 2020. The United States approved a lab-made antibody treatment against the Ebola virus developed by the biotech firm Regeneron after it was shown to significantly reduce the mortality rate in a clinical trial. Highlights: ♦ FDA approved the first drug for the treatment of Ebola. ♦ The US regulator approved the drug developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for treating adults and children. It was tested during an outbreak in Congo that killed nearly 2,300 people before it ended in June. ♦ The drug, named Inmazeb (IN’-meh-zehb), dramatically increased survival, when compared to three other treatments. The study was ended ahead of schedule last year so patients could get Inmazeb or a second drug that was nearly as effective. ♦ It first sought US' approval which is a common strategy for drugmakers to develop treatments for diseases that are mainly found in the tropics and in developing countries. ♦ Regeneron will be used during outbreaks in African countries, where the approval process is not straightforward, said Leah Lipsich, who heads Regeneron’s global program for infectious diseases. ♦ Earlier, FDA approved its first vaccine for Ebola in last December.

    Russia Approved second COVID-19 Vaccine EpiVacCorona

    3 days ago
    Russian President Vladimir Putin announced about the 2nd COVID-19 Vaccine EpiVacCorona. Russian authorities have given regulatory approval to EpiVacCorona, the second coronavirus two-shot vaccine after early-stage trails. Highlights: ♦ The peptide-based EpiVacCorona, a vaccine was developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia and tested among 100 volunteers in early-stage. ♦ The tested volunteers were between 18 and 60 years old. ♦ The vaccine produces enough antibodies to protect the person and that the immunity it creates could last for up to six months. ♦ Russia's first vaccine was Sputnik V. The vaccine was developed by the Russia-based Gamaleya Institute and approved by the government on 11th August.  ♦ The first vaccine was approved after early trials among 76 volunteers were completed.

    WMO released 2020 State of Climate Services Report

    3 days ago
    World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released the State of Climate Services 2020 Report on October 13, 2020. The State of Climate Services 2020 Report was released on the occasion of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction by the UN- WMO. Highlights: ♦ Over the past 50 years, more than 11,000 disasters have been attributed to weather, climate and water-related hazards, involving 2 million deaths and US$ 3.6 trillion in economic losses. ♦ The report is prepared by 16 international agencies. ♦ This report contains 16 different case studies on various aspects like successful early warning systems for climate hazards including tropical cyclones and hurricanes, floods, droughts, heat waves, forest fires, sand and dust storms, desert locusts, severe winters and glacial lake outbursts. ♦ Around 108 million people needed the help from the international humanitarian system because of natural disasters. ♦ By 2030 the number of people using international humanitarian system could be increased by 50% at a cost of around US$ 20 billion a year. World Meteorological Organization (WMO): WMO is one of the specialised agencies of the United Nations. It focuses on for promoting international cooperation on atmospheric science, hydrology, climatology and geophysics. The organisation was established in 1873. It is constituted of 193 countries and territories which has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.  

    Intellectual Property India annual report released by Government of India

    3 days ago
    Government of India (GoI) released Intellectual Property India annual report on October 15, 2020. Intellectual Property India annual report released by GoI focuses on the patent for the inventions that are invented in India. Highlights: ♦ With the report released, the rankings for the year 2018 – 19 was also finalized by Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Government of India. ♦ Chandigarh University Gharuan topped the list by filing the highest number of 336 patents in a year. ♦ By the report released, it is known that 27 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT’s) have filed 557 patents totally. ♦ Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) took second place with 239 patent applications. ♦ Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) stands in third place with 202 applications. ♦ Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) placed at fourth position with 173 patent applications. ♦ By statewise Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh took the First, Second and third places respectively.

    DRDO successfully test-fired Shaurya missile

    16 days ago
    Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired 'Shaurya missile', a new version of nuclear-capable off the coast of Odisha on 3 October 2020. Highlights: ♦ Shaurya missile of the nuclear-capable missile will be inducted in the strategic forces and is being claimed to complement the existing missiles in the same class.  ♦ This missile is lighter and easier to operate as compared to the existing ones. ♦ In its last phase, when the missile moves close to its target, it moves at hypersonic speeds.

    China to launch worlds first mining robot into space

    17 days ago
    Origin Space, a space start-up in China, has announced that it is to send out the world's first mining robot into space. The robot has been designed in a way to identify and extract resources.  Highlights: ♦ The robot is termed an Asteroid Mining robot. ♦ The robot will be launched into space by a Chinese Long March series rocket. ♦ The mission aims to assess the capabilities of the asteroid mining robot and to find out how well it can identify and extract valuable resources through asteroid mining. ♦ The mission will demonstrate and verify multiple functions like simulated small celestial body capture, spacecraft orbital manoeuvre, intelligent spacecraft identification and control.

    Astronomers finds possible hints of life in the clouds of Venus

    32 days ago
    Astronomers have recently found a potential sign of life in the atmosphere of Venus. Two telescopes in Hawaii and Chile have spotted the chemical signature of phosphine in the thick Venutian clouds. This has given a hint that there may be bizarre microbes living in the sulfuric acid-laden clouds of Venus.  Highlights: ♦ The researchers first used the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) in Hawaii to detect the phosphine. Then, they used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile.  ♦ Both the facilities observed Venus at a wavelength of about 1 millimeter at a high altitude. ♦ It has been speculated high clouds on Venus could offer a home for microbes. ♦ The detection of phosphine molecules, which consist of hydrogen and phosphorus, could point to this extra-terrestrial aerial life. Note: Phosphine can be found only in rocky planets like Earth and Venus. This gas can only be made by life like human or microbe. Phosphine can be manufactured as well.

    Cabinet approves establishment of new AIIMS at Darbhanga, Bihar

    34 days ago
    The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Darbhanga, Bihar. The establishment of new AIIMS under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). The total cost will be Rs.1264 crore and is likely to be completed within a period of 48 months from the date of the approval of the Government of India. The Cabinet also approved the creation of one post of Director in the basic pay of Rs.2,25,000 (fixed) plus NPA (however pay + Non Performing Assets (NPA) would not exceed Rs.2,37,500) for the above AIIMS.   Highlights: ♦ As per the approval, the new AIIMS will involve the creation of a Hospital, Teaching Block for Medical & Nursing courses, residential complex, and allied facilities/services, broadly on the pattern of AIIMS, New Delhi, and other six new AIIMS taken up under Phase-I of PMSSY.  ♦ The main objective is to establish the new AIIMS as an Institution of National Importance for providing quality tertiary healthcare, medical education, nursing education, and research in the Region. ♦ Under the approval, New AIIMS will add 100 UG (MBBS) seats and 60 B.Sc (Nursing) seats ♦ New AIIMS will have 15-20 Super Specialty Departments ♦ New AIIMS will add 750 hospital beds ♦ As per data of current functional AIIMS, it is expected that each new AIIMS will cater to around 2000 OPD patients per day and around 1000 IPD patients per month. ♦ PG and DM/ M.Ch Super-specialty courses will also be started in due course

    SCTIMST develops Indigenous device to help prevent blood clot in deep vein

    34 days ago
    Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum (SCTIMST), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India has developed a device for the prevention of Deep vein thrombosis (DVT).    Highlights: ♦ The newly developed device works by compressing the veins in the legs in sequence so that the flow of blood from the veins in the legs is facilitated.  ♦ The compression pressure is set in such a way that the veins are compressed but not the arteries. It is equipped with closed-loop monitoring of compression pressure and also has controls through valves which are driven by an electronic circuit.  ♦ A control circuit and dedicated software are provided in the device to ensure that safe compression levels are always maintained.  The device is also equipped with a power supply back-up in case of power failure. ♦ The imported cost between the device lies is Rs.2 lakh to 5 lakh whereas the device developed by the SCTIMST team costs less than Rs.1 lakh. ♦ The license for the manufacture and sale of the device has been transferred to Enproducts located in Kochi, Kerala. 

    JNCASR researchers developed diagnostic therapy for Lung Cancer

    42 days ago
    Researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India (GOI), have developed a theranostics (diagnostic therapy) drug candidate for lung cancer. The research work was funded jointly by DST, BRICS Multilateral R&D Projects grant, and SwarnaJayanti Fellowship Grant was published in the journal Theranostics. Highlights: ♦ The selective recognition and imaging of oncogene specific non-canonical DNA secondary structures (G-quadruplex-GQ structures) will help in the development of diagnostic therapy (theranostics) for cancer. But, this is challenging due to their structural dynamics and diversity. ♦ The researchers have developed a small molecule for selective recognition of BCL-2 GQ. It was developed through unique hybrid loop stacking and groove binding mode with turn on far-red fluorescence response and anticancer activity demonstrating the potential as GQ-targeted lung cancer theranostics. ♦ The study revealed, a remarkably lower dosage of TGP18 (0.5 mg/kg) showed anti-lung tumor activity which is similar to anticancer drug gemcitabine at a very high dose of 100 mg/kg.  ♦ Also, TGP18, the therapeutic agent, was found to reach the target tumor site as monitored by its far-red imaging of the tumor tissue. ♦ The method can be further exploited to develop cancer-type specific theranostic drugs with tremendous implications in personalized medicine. 

    MoD developed Healthy Air, a Herbal-based Immunity Boosting Room Freshener

    46 days ago
    Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT), a Deemed to be University, Pune, under Ministry of Defence has developed "Healthy Air", herbal-based immunity to boost room freshener product. The product was developed with an aim to contain the spread of the COVID-19. Highlights: ♦ Healthy Air has been developed by the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.  ♦ The product consists of various extracts of herbal oils like Neem, Neelgiri, Camphor, Daalcheeni, Tulsi, Lemon, Turmeric, Laung, Ajwain, Lavender, Elaichi, Turmeric, Natural Vetiveru, Raimuniya, and Pine Oil.  ♦ The product consists of a blended solution of the natural herbal oils, which instinctively acts as an immunity booster for the body, and exhibits Anti-cancerous, Anti-microbial, Anti-viral and Anti-fungal properties.  ♦ The product is herbal-based product is non-mutagenic, non-carcinogenic, non-toxic. ♦ The product purifies the air and makes it breathable. ♦ The product is used in any room, conference halls, at public places, hospitals, malls, cinema halls, waiting for lounges, rooms of Airports, Railway Station etc. The product is packed in a container with a wick also will be loaded in a dispenser.

    IIT Bombay students launched Indian alternative to Scanning Apps

    49 days ago
    Students from the Indian Institutes of Technology, Bombay (IIT-Bombay) has AIR Scanner, a free-of-cost mobile application. It was developed by Rohit Kumar Chaudhary and Kavin Agrawal from IIT-Bombay. The mobile application falls in line with the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. The innovation is aimed to help people in education. AIR Scanner app: ♦ The Artificial Intelligence (AI) based Reading Assistant & Document Scanner app can scan documents. It can be used to read to users who have difficulty in reading English. ♦ The document that is scanned using the mobile camera will be saved in PDF format and will be stored in the device only. ♦ The app will not collect any information about the user and all the documents are stored in the phone’s local storage. ♦ AIR Scanner app is free of cost and secure. ♦ The AI feature of the app reads out the scanned pages. It also provides the meaning of the selected word to the user in 40 different languages. ♦ This new indigenous app is an alternative to Chinese document-scanning apps. It has been launched after the Government of India’s decision to ban 59 Chinese mobile apps. ♦ The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

    Scientists convert tamarind waste and cotton waste to supercapacitor

    59 days ago
    Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), under Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, have developed a cost-effective electrode material for making affordable supercapacitor devices, from waste biomass like tamarind seeds and industrial cotton waste. With this discovery, tamarind seeds and cotton waste may soon be used to make low-cost supercapacitors for energy storage. The scientists have used waste biomass to develop materials for making cost-effective supercapacitor devices.  Highlights: ♦ The scientists have converted the waste materials into highly porous carbon fibres by activation process. It was then utilised the porous carbon fibres to make high-performance supercapacitor electrodes.  ♦ The electrode materials are made from biomass waste. It was tested with the help of a rapid testing protocol developed by Scientists at Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, ARCI-Chennai to evaluate different porous electrode materials for their suitability in supercapacitors.  ♦ The method involves Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) and records the impedance offered by a material under a small perturbation and the capacitance was formed by the arrangement of electrolyte ions over the electrode surface, which is called as double-layer capacitance. ♦ The scientists tested the pore characteristics and stability of the activated carbon material prepared from tamarind seed and its suitability for supercapacitor application. ♦ The Dynamic Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (DEIS) results that are observed by the ARCI team showed a superior double layer capacitance value at all the applied potentials for the optimized sample with high surface area (2645 m2 g-1) within 1 hour of the experiment, validating that the material could be used for supercapacitor electrode. ♦ It is expected that this will respond to the intense hunt for supercapacitor materials to meet the widespread demand for supercapacitors. ♦ This discovery can pave the way towards affordable electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles which bank on supercapacitors significantly for their application in braking systems and start-stop cycles. Note: Impedance is a parameter used to measure the opposition that a circuit presents to a current when a voltage is applied.

    Scientists found that the Dwarf planet Ceres is now an Ocean world

    62 days ago
    Researchers have stated that Ceres looks like an “Ocean World”. Teh scientist stated after analyzing the data collected by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. The dwarf planet Ceres lies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and is also the largest object in that belt. The scientist is trying to search for a possibility of the presence of water in Ceres. Exploration Ceres: Ceres was first spotted by Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801. It was assumed that Ceres was the missing planet between Mars and Jupiter. In the year 2006, Ceres was classified as a dwarf planet. It is the first dwarf planet to be orbited by a spacecraft. In 2015, NASA’s Dawn reached it to study its surface, composition, and history. The spacecraft Dawn was launched in 2007. It visited Vesta and Ceres. In 2015, the spacecraft went into the orbit around Ceres. The information that was collected reinforced the idea that dwarf planets could have hosted oceans over a significant part of their history. The Dawn mission concluded in 2018. Dwarf planet: There are officially five dwarf planets in the Solar System. The most famous dwarf planet is Pluto, downgraded from the status of a planet in 2006. The other four dwarf planets, in the order of size, are Eris, Makemake, Haumea, and Ceres. The sixth claimant for a dwarf planet is Hygiea, which so far has been taken to be an asteroid.   

    ISA to organize the First World Solar Technology Summit

    62 days ago
    International Solar Alliance (ISA) is to organize the First World Solar Technology Summit on a virtual platform on 8th September 2020. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the inaugural address of the First World Solar Technology Summit. Highlights: ♦ The objective of the First World Solar Technology Summit is to bring the spotlight on state-of-the-art technologies and next-generation technologies which will provide impetus to the efforts towards harnessing solar energy more efficiently. ♦ ISA is expected to launch the ISA Journal on Solar Energy, I JOSE, which will help authors from across the globe to publish their articles on solar energy.  ♦ Laureates including Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham will participate in the summit.  ♦ The summit will hold four technical sessions in different languages namely English, Spanish, French & Arabic. The topic will be Vision 2030 & Beyond, Towards a Decarbonised Grid, Disruptive Solar Technologies, and Solar Beyond the Power Sector.

    Indigenous AUM Photonic System developed for Real-Time Remote Monitoring of Air Quality

    66 days ago
    Scientific and Industrial Research Centre (GVP-SIRC) and GVP College of Engineering, Visakhapatnam, has developed an indigenous photonic system for real-time remote monitoring of air quality parameters. The system titled Air Unique-quality Monitoring (AUM) was developed under the Clean Air Research Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology. Air Unique-quality Monitoring System: ♦ The AUM system is an innovative application of the principles of statistical mechanics, laser backscattering, optoelectronics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine/deep learning, and Internet of Things.  ♦ AUM can identify, classify, and quantify various pollutants simultaneously of orders of less than one part per billion and meteorological parameters, with sensitivity, very high precision, and accuracy. ♦ AUM was successfully evaluated during laboratory trials with gold standards in collaboration with EffecTech, UK. ♦ The system is operated by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board under the aegis of the Central Pollution Control Board of India. ♦ The system is capable of simultaneous detection and quantification of all air quality parameters. ♦ It offers a number of merits like portablility, compactibility, low powered nature and economical over any of the currently available conventional systems. ♦ This system is expected to boost India’s efforts towards self-reliance in high-end technologies.  ♦ It can additionally be instrumental in supporting the endeavours in improving the nation’s health and economy.

    JNCASR scientists devise an adaptive model to estimate critical resources in pandemic

    77 days ago
    Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), under Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), have developed a model to scale up the novel tests using an adaptive strategy and the early phase of COVID-19 as an example. Highlights: ♦ The new model can be utilized to estimate the key aspects of medical inventory requirements which are required to scale up both the testing capabilities and the critical care facilities.  ♦ The model is extremely relevant for COVID-19, as the disease character and the behavioral patterns of the people change. ♦ The model reduces errors by letting one understand the range of variation of the predicted infections. ♦ This new approach allows for planning of requirements for critical resources such as ICUs, Personal protective equipment (PPEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic.  ♦ The new model is designed for simplicity of interpretation, and adaptability over time.

    SNBNCBS develops a No-touch and Painless device for non-invasive screening of bilirubin level in new-borns

    81 days ago
    S.N. Bose National Centre For Basic Sciences (SNBNCBS), Kolkata, an autonomous research Institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India has developed “AJO-Neo”, a No-touch and Painless device for non-invasive screening of bilirubin level in new-borns. SNBNCBS hosted a Technical Research Centres (TRC) funded by DST and in scientific collaboration with Nil-Ratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata.  AJO-Neo: ♦ AJO-Neo is based on non-contact and non-invasive spectrometry-based techniques for the measurement of neonatal bilirubin level as an alternative of total serum bilirubin (TSB) test without limitations of other available bilirubin meters. ♦ The device is reliable in measuring bilirubin levels in preterm, and term neonates irrespective of gestational or postnatal age, sex, risk factors, feeding behavior, or skin color.  ♦ The device is found to deliver an almost instantaneous report (about 10 seconds) to a concerned doctor, who is sitting 10,000 km away from the point of care.  ♦ The new methods has showed improved output when compared to the conventional “blood test” method, which takes more than 4 hours to generate the report.  ♦ AJO-Neo has been transferred by the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), an enterprise of DSIR, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India in the presence of Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST to a Vijayawada based company, M/s Zyna Medtech Private Limited.

    Hetero group launched Favipiravir in India to treat Covid-19 infected patients

    82 days ago
    Hetero group has launched the generic Favipiravir in India under the brand ‘Favivir’. The company received approvals from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to manufacture and market the generic drug. The drug, Favivir, is used to treat mild to moderate COVID-19. Favivir: ♦ Favivir will improve treatment accessibility to a significant amount of the COVID-19 patient population, which usually sustains mild to moderate symptoms. ♦ The generic favipiravir drug is priced at Rs.59 per tablet.  ♦ The drug is being marketed and distributed by Hetero Healthcare. ♦ The product is made available at all retail medical outlets and hospital pharmacies across India to be sold on prescription. ♦ Favivir is prepared at a world-class formulation facility, which was approved by USFDA and the EU. ♦ Favivir is the second drug developed by Hetero. Earlier, the company launched Covifor, the generic version of Remdesivir injection to be administered intravenously in a hospital to traet severe COVID-19 infection.

    Acculi Labs to launch mobile app for detection & risk assessment of COVID 19 infected individuals

    82 days ago
    Bangalore based startup Acculi Labs has been selected the Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH), an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to develop a COVID risk assessment profile called Lyfas COVID score.  Lyfas: ♦ Lyfas is an Android application. ♦ In this application, one can keep the index finger on the rear phone camera of a mobile phone for 5 minutes. It will capture the capillary pulse and blood volume change and derive 95 biomarkers with proprietary algorithms and signal processing techniques.  ♦ The app uses the power of smartphone processor and smartphone sensors to capture a bunch of body signals.  ♦ The signals are subsequently processed on the principle of Photoplethysmography (PPG), Photo Chromatography (PCG), Arterial Photoplethysmography (APPG), mobile spirometry, and Pulse Rate Variability (PRV). ♦ It also provides cardiovascular, hematology, hemorheology, cardio-respiratory, neurology based parameters that are capable of tracking minute pathophysiological changes in the body. They are further profiled into organ system-wide response. ♦ Acculi Labs' Lyfas is a clinical-grade, non-invasive, digital functional biomarker smartphone tool for screening, early detection, root cause analysis, acute event risk assessment, prognosis, and home monitoring of chronic diseases which they have repurposed to Lyfas COVID score. CAWACH: ♦ CAWACH is an initiative launched by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), DST, Government of India. ♦ The initiative is aimed to support market-ready innovations for the control of COVID-19 and startup ideas to address associated challenges. 

    India to take up clinical trials of OXFORD Vaccine COVISHIELD

    84 days ago
    University of Oxford and AstraZeneca have shown successful clinical trials on the COVID-19 vaccine, COVISHIELD. World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the first use of the vaccine is expected in early 2021.  Highlights: ♦ The initial results of the first two-phase trials of the vaccine that are conducted in five trial sites in the UK showed the acceptable safety profile and homologous boosting increased antibody responses. ♦ Serum Institute of India (SII) has sought permission from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduce phase II/III human clinical trials of the potential vaccine. ♦ Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) also announced that it will conduct clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine, COVISHIELD.

    DBT provides seed funding for HGCO19, novel mRNA based COVID-19 Vaccine candidate

    87 days ago
    Department of Biotechnology (DBT)-Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) has facilitated the establishment of a first-of-its-kind mRNA-based vaccine manufacturing platform in India. DBT is providing seed funding for the development of Gennova’s novel self-amplifying mRNA-based vaccine candidate for COVID-19. Highlights: ♦ BIRAC in collaboration with HDT Biotech Corporation, Seattle, USA, Gennova has developed an mRNA vaccine candidate (HGCO19). ♦ It has been demonstrated with safety, immunogenicity, neutralization antibody activity in rodent and non-human primate models.  ♦ The company is working aggressively to ensure the first human injection by the end of the year, subject to Indian regulatory approvals. ♦ The diseases emanating from unknown and new pathogens require novel ideas for effective mitigation.  ♦ Gennova's m-RNA platform supported by DBT utilizes the advances in nucleic acid vaccine and delivery systems.  ♦ The vaccine candidate that makes use of nanotechnology has shown promise to be effective in animal models.  ♦ The vaccine candidate can be rapidly scaled up, once proven effective in human clinical trials.

    China successfully launched a rover to Mars

    88 days ago
    China successfully launched a rover to Mars on 23 July 2020, which is another milestone for its space programme.  Highlights: ♦ China's Mars probe was launched from the southern island of Hainan, China. ♦ The Mars mission was named Tianwen-1 meaning "Questions to Heaven" in a nod to a classical Chinese poem that has verses about the cosmos. ♦ Under the mission, the probe aims to go enter into Martian orbit. It will land on the planet Mars and release a small rover to conduct research on its surface. ♦ It is expected to reach the planet in February 2021.  ♦ The spacecraft will travel at least 55 million kilometres to reach its destination. ♦ In its earlier attempt in 2011, China's partnership with Russia failed because the Russian launcher was unable to get the craft into a transfer orbit to slingshot towards Mars.

    SNBNCBS has developed an active respirator mask and Nano-sanitizer to fight COVID-19 spread

    88 days ago
    S.N. Bose National Centre For Basic Sciences (SNBNCBS), Kolkata, has developed an active respirator mask with attached exhalation valve and suspended particulate matter filter for comfortable and hygienic breathing while wearing masks. Active Respirator mask: ♦ The Active Respirator mask which was developed by SNBNCBS is an innovative solution to the rebreathing of carbon dioxide to solve exhaled moisture and sweaty and hot environment inside the mask. ♦ The respirator will also improve the clarity of speech of a person with a face mask and assures comfortable, hygienic breathing to protect the wearer from exposure to airborne contaminants. Nano-sanitizer: ♦ The Institute has also developed Nano-sanitizer has a Dispensing Antimicrobial Layer.  ♦ The Long-Lasting Nano-sanitiser innovation is a solution to the problems caused by the use of the general sanitizers like dehydration of skin due to frequent use, and nature of instantaneous antimicrobial action of common sanitizers without protective role.  ♦ This innovative sanitizer technology assures comfortable and hygienic hand sanitization for a longer duration.

    UAE launched mission to Mars

    91 days ago
    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched its first mission to Mars on 20th July 2020. The UAE is striving to develop its scientific and technology capabilities and move away from its reliance on oil. Highlights: ♦ The first Arab (UAE) mission to Mars was initially planned to be launched on 14 July, but got delayed twice due to bad weather. ♦ The Hope Probe was launched from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center on 20 July for a seven-month journey to Mars. ♦ The satellite will orbit around Mars and send back data about the atmosphere. ♦ The total cost of the Emirates Mars Mission is $200 million. ♦ The Hope Probe was developed by the Emiratis and Dubai's Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) worked with U.S. educational institutions. ♦ The UAE has an ambitious plan for a Mars settlement by 2117. ♦ At present, there are 8 active missions exploring Mars. Of the 8 missions, some satellites orbit the planet and some satellites have landed on the surface of Mars planet. China and the United States, currently, each plan to send another this year.

    NABL accredits CIPET for testing and Certification of PPE kit

    91 days ago
    Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering & Technology (CIPET) under the Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, has been accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) for Testing & Certification of Personal protective equipment (PPE) Kit. Highlights: ♦ The move by CIPET is to tackle COVID- 19 Pandemic and a step forward towards 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'. ♦ The accredited PPE kit includes Coverall, Gloves, Face Shield & Goggles, and Triple Layer Medical masks, etc in line with International Standards. ♦ After developing facility of testing PPE kit, IPT Centre Bhubaneshwar, had submitted an application to NABL for accreditation.  ♦ After an online audit of its testing facility, NABL granted accreditation to CIPET- Centre Bhubaneshwar. ♦ CIPET has taken up the R&D initiatives in the areas of Health Care as per WHO/ISO guidelines.

    CSIR-CMERI unveiled the COVID Protection System for Workplace

    91 days ago
    Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur, unveiled the COVID Protection System (COPS) for Workplace to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from the Healthcare Workers, the frontline Security Guards of any organisation are very vulnerable to COVID-19 through infected individuals and contaminated objects. CSIR-CMERI, has announced that it is to develop a Digital Entry Management Systems in which the workflow will be automated and based upon Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).  Highlights: ♦ Solar Based Intelligent Mask Automated Dispensing Unit cum Thermal Scanner (IntelliMAST) is an Intelligent surveillance kiosk that identifies the body temperature and whether an individual is wearing Face Mask or not through customised Software solutions.  ♦ Touchless Faucet (TouF) is launched for households and Office Spaces. The system dispenses Liquid Soap and Water from the same Faucet with a time-gap of 30 seconds, which is as per the latest Government guidelines. ♦ 360° Car Flusher is a Sodium Hypochlorite Water Screen which uses specialised Nozzle Design to ensure that the Sanitizer Diffused Water is evenly spread over and under the Car Body/Wheels with adequate Water Force and coverage. ♦ The COPS for Workplace will include contactless Solar Based Intelligent Mask Automated Dispensing Unit cum Thermal Scanner (IntelliMAST), Touchless Faucet (TouF) and 360° Car Flusher are now available for Technology Transfers and Product Orders. ♦ CSIR-CMERI aims to support the Start-Ups and Entrepreneurs while developing its technologies to give boost to their aspirations and give them a platform to showcase their Innovative potential.  ♦ CSIR-CMERI also focused upon developing products Made in India, which will consequently boost the Atma-Nirbhar Bharat flagship initiative of the Government of India.

    ARCI, Vehant Technologies develop UV System for baggage Scan Disinfection to curb COVID-19 spread

    93 days ago
    International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), Hyderabad, and Vehant Technologies, Noida has jointly developed KritiScan UV Baggage Disinfection System. The device has been designed to control the spread of infection through baggage. Kritiscan UV advanced baggage disinfecting system: ♦ The compact Ultraviolet C (UVC) conveyor system is capable to efficiently disinfect the baggage passing through the conveyor within a few seconds. ♦ Kritiscan UV advanced baggage disinfecting system has a specially designed motorized conveyor to guide the baggage into the disinfection tunnel, which uses UVC light (254 nm) with appropriate irradiance to inactivate microbes and viruses.  ♦ The UV-C lamps used in the system shielded in a manner that poses no harm to staff or passengers in the vicinity of the system. Nemce, human intervention is strongly advised against when the UVC sources are on. ♦ The system can be used in airports, railway and bus stations, hotels, commercial and private establishments for the rapid disinfection of baggage.

    DBT supported COVID-19 Vaccine ZyCoV-D to begin Adaptive Phase I, II clinical trials

    95 days ago
    Vaccine Discovery Programme supported by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, under the National Biopharma Mission, and implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is to begin clinical trials. The study is aimed to assess the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of the vaccine Highlights: ♦ BIRAC announced that ZyCoV-D, the plasmid DNA vaccine designed and developed by Zydus and partially funded by the DBT has initiated Phase I/ II clinical trials in healthy subjects. ♦ This will be the first indigenously developed vaccine for COVID-19 to be administered in humans in India. ♦ The adaptive Phase I/ II dose-escalation, the multi-centric study will assess the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of the vaccine.  ♦ The human dosing of the vaccine marks a key milestone since the launching of the accelerated vaccine development programme for COVID-19 in February 2020. ♦ This will help the country to develop preventive strategies for future disease outbreaks and exemplifies the government’s focus on creating an ecosystem that nurtures.  ♦ It will also encourage new product innovation to make real and measurable changes to issues most relevant to society.

    HRD Minister launches Corosure, worlds most affordable COVID-19 test kit developed by IIT-Delhi

    96 days ago
    Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister and Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State HRD launched a low-cost COVID-19 test "Corosure" developed by Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-Delhi).  Highlight: ♦ Corosure is billed as the world’s most affordable probe free Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) based on the COVID-19 diagnostic kit.  ♦ Corosure is approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). ♦ The kit uses an alternative testing method for testing COVID-19 samples and is launched by the company Newtech Medical. ♦ The total cost of the kit is around Rs.650. It can do two million tests per month. ♦ The kit is very affordable as compared to other probe tests that are being imported from other countries. ♦ This test kit is expected to change the paradigm of COVID-19 testing in India, both in terms of scale and cost. 

    Worlds First Reusable PPE Kits by Indian Manufacturing Company

    100 days ago
    World’s First Reusable PPE Kits with Triple Viral Shield Technology launched Indian Manufacturing Company- Loyal Textile Mills launched the first of its kind in the world-wide reusable PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) kits on 9th July 2020. Along with reusable PPE kits, Loyal Textile Mills also unveiled reusable garments and face masks with zero virus penetration. The reusable masks, clothing and PPE kits were introduced by Loyal Textile Mills in partnership with the textile manufacturing company headquartered in Reliance Industries Limited and Switzerland- HeiQ Materials AG. The 3 items will be available on the market under the Loyal Textile Mills name 'Supera Shield.' Contents [hide] Triple Viral Shield Reusable Masks, Garments, and Kits Number of Tmes Reusable Triple Viral Shield Reusable Masks, Garments, and PPE Kits Technology 1. The reusable masks, garments, and PPE kits are made with the Viroblock Technology of HeiQ Materials AG. 2. The fiber used for making the reusable masks, garments, and PPE kits was 'R ELAN Fibre' of Reliance Industries Limited. R ELAN Fiber inhibits bacterial and viral growth. 3. Viral Barrier PU film Lamination: The fabric in the reusable mask and PPE kit has been engineered with viral barrier PU film lamination imported from the Republic of China (Taiwan). Number of Times Reusable As per Loyal Textile Mills, the garments and masks can be washed for up to 25 times for reuse while the PPE kit can be washed up to 10 times for reuse.

    NITI Aayog Launches ATL App Development Modules

    100 days ago
    ATL App Development Modules On July 10, 2020, 'ATL App Development Modules' was launched for school children across the country in line with the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative to transform school students from smartphone-based applications users into innovative smartphone-based applications developers. The 'ATL Device Development Modules' are launched by NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under its Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) initiative, in partnership with Plezmo- a mobile application(lndian Startup Company-Gunakar Private Limited). Modules for the Development The Modules are part of an online course that is available to everyone at no cost. The online course consists of a total of 6 project-based learning modules which allow school children to learn how to create mobile apps. Virtual mentoring sessions will be given to the kids during the Modules learning course. In addition, in order to build capacity and acuity in school teachers about app development, the periodic training for school teachers will be conducted through the 'AIM App Development Course.' You can access the ATL App Development Modules at-'

    CSIR, Laxai Sciences seek regulatory approval to undertake clinical trials on Covid-19 patients, phase III clinical trial

    103 days ago
    Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), in collaboration with Laxai Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad has sought regulatory approval to undertake 'MUCOVIN', a four-arm randomized controlled phase III clinical trial. The study is to combine and repurpose antivirals and host-directed therapies (HDTs) to address the disease-spread and pathology simultaneously. Highlights: ♦ The unique combinatorial strategy, antivirals, and HDTs, with repurposed drugs having a complementary, additive, and synergistic role, has been adopted to increase therapeutic options for Covid-19 treatment and help recover patients faster. ♦ The trial will determine the safety and efficacy of the three combination drugs and a control arm with the standard of care in COVID-19 patients.  ♦ The 3 combination drugs are Favipiravir+Colchicine, Umifenovir+Colchicine and Nafamostat+5-ALA. ♦ The clinical trial will be carried out in partnership with Medanta Medicity. ♦ The trial will include a total of 300 patients in four different groups of 75 patients in the trials to be carried for 17 to 21 days including screening and treatment. ♦ The study aims to target viral proteins essential for its replication and host factors that play a crucial role in the viral life cycle and contribute to the cytokine storm.

    MOM captured image of Phobos, the biggest moon of Mars

    107 days ago
    The Mars Colour Camera (MCC) onboard ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has captured the image of Phobos, the closest and biggest moon of Mars. The image was taken on 1st July when MOM was about 7,200 km from Mars and 4,200 km from Phobos. Highlights: ♦ The image is a composite image generated from 6 MCC frames with a Spatial resolution of the image is 210 m. ♦ The colour if the image has been corrected. ♦ In the image, 4 craters namely Stickney, Shklovsky, Roche & Grildrig are seen. Stickney is the largest crater on Phobos. Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM): ♦ Mars Orbiter Mission is also known as Mangalyaan. Initially, it was meant to last for six months. But then it had enough fuel to last for many years.  ♦ MOM was launched on 24 September 2014. It cost Rs.450 crore. ♦ The MOM spacecraft was successfully launched in the orbit of the planet Mars. ♦ MOM mission aims to study the Martian surface and mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane which is an indicator of life on Mars. ♦ Mars Orbiter has 5 scientific instruments namely: Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP) Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM) Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) Mars Colour Camera (MCC) Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS)

    DCGI approved Zydus Healthcare's COVID-19 vaccine for human clinical trials

    108 days ago
    Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved a potential COVID-19 vaccine indigenously developed by the Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila Healthcare Ltd. The vaccine will be used for human clinical trials. Highlights: ♦ The approval process was fast-tracked after the recommendation by the subject expert committee on COVID-19. It considered the emergency medical need during the COVID-19 pandemic. ♦ DCGI has approved for the phase I and II clinical trials on humans of the potential novel coronavirus vaccine after its animal studies were found to be successful. ♦ The vaccine candidate was found to be successful with respect to safety and immunogenicity. ♦ Phase I & II trials will take around three months to be completed. ♦ Also, the country’s ‘first’ indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin had recently got approval for human clinical trials from the DCGI. It was developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology (NIV).

    Centre launched Drug Discovery Hackathon for supporting drug discovery process

    108 days ago
    Centre launched Drug Discovery Hackathon on 2 July 2020 in the presence of Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.  Drug Discovery Hackathon: ♦ Drug Discovery Hackathon is a joint initiative of the Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD’s) Innovation Cell (MIC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). It is supported by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), MyGov, and other private players. ♦ MIC & AICTE will focus on identifying potential drug molecules through the Hackathon. And CSIR will take the identified molecules forward for synthesis and laboratory testing for efficacy, toxicity, sensitivity, and specificity. ♦ in-silico drug discovery methods, which utilize Computational methods such as Machine Learning (ML), AI and Big Data, will help to accelerate this process. ♦ The initiative is open for all researchers/faculty across the globe as it attracts international talent to join and support our efforts. Highlights: ♦ The Hackathon will consist of many challenges that are based on specific drug discovery topics which, are open to the participants to solve. ♦ Under the Hackathon, around 29 Problem Statements (PS) were identified. ♦ MyGov portal is used and any Indian student can participate. ♦ The Hackathon will have three Tracks. Track 1 will primarily deal with drug design for anti-COVID-19 hit/lead generation: this is done using tools such as molecular modelling, pharmacophore optimization, molecular docking, hit/lead optimization, etc. Track 2 deals with designing/optimizing new tools and algorithms which will have an immense impact on expediting the process of in silico drug discovery. Track 3 which is called “Moon shot" will allow for working on problems which are ‘out of the box’ nature.

    RMRC lab, Assam becomes 4th to isolate COVID-19 virus strain in India

    109 days ago
    Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) located in Lahowal in Dibrugarh district of Assam has successfully isolated the SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, virus becoming the fourth such facility in the country to achieve the feat. The other 3 hospitals that isolated the virus were: National Institute of Virology, Pune Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad Highlights: ♦ The significance of isolation of the COVID-19 virus by RMRC is live and viable SARS-CoV-2 virus can now be produced in abundance in the lab as and when required. ♦ Isolation of the COVID-19 virus is important to develop inactivated COVID-19 vaccine where virus grown in laboratory are inactivated by heat or chemical and purified for use as vaccines after pre-clinical and clinical trials. ♦ Some other uses of the SARS-CoV-2 virus culture are that it can be used for drug screening for potential drugs or drug candidates against the virus, testing the effectiveness of disinfectants, use in the development of therapeutic antibodies, etc. ♦ Scientists at RMRC stated that all strains of SARS-CoV-2 were L-type and not S-type, which is slowly disappearing across the world.

    Scientists synthesize inorganic-organic hybrid compound that can inhibit breast, lung, liver cancer cells

    111 days ago
    Scientists from the Institute of Nano Science & Technology (INST), Mohali, have synthesized a novel inorganic-organic hybrid compound that can inhibit breast, lung, and liver cancer cells. It is expected that this will open up new possibilities for metallodrugs. Highlights: ♦ The solid compound is based on phosphomolybdate cluster, an inorganic salt of phosphomolybdic acid. The compound belongs to the Polyoxometalates (POMs) family, which had earlier been identified to have antitumor potential.  ♦ Scientists have recently figured out the mechanism by which the compound kills the cancer cells.  ♦ POMs are an evolving class of inorganic metal oxides. ♦ The scientists ♦ probed into the mechanism of how the cancer cells are attacked by the compound, the team synthesized it by hydrothermal method. ♦ The results showed that the hybrid solid is less toxic towards normal cells, and its antitumor activity was also found to be comparable with that of a routinely used chemotherapeutic agent. So far, POMs have evolved as a promising candidate for future metallodrugs for combating cancer.

    Indian Garment Company bagged NRDC license for manufacturing NavRakshak PPEs

    112 days ago
    The National Research Development Cooperation (NRDC) has signed a technology licensing agreement with an Agra-based apparel manufacturing entity, the Indian Garment Company. The agreement aims to manufacture know-how of a Personal protective equipment (PPE) Suit named NavRakshak. Highlights: ♦ NavRakshak PPE was principally developed by Dr. Arnab Ghosh, a Naval Doctor.  ♦ The PPEs were made considering the comfort and protection of the doctors.  ♦ The PPE is incorporated with superior quality breathable fabric to make the PPE suit and the design innovation eliminates the need for costly taping and sealing of the seam which is otherwise needed in other PPEs available in the market.  ♦ The fabric, suit, and seam have been found to meet the synthetic blood penetration resistance criteria comfortably. ♦ The prototype development took place earlier at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. ♦ It was tested and certified at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is an accredited lab authorized by the Ministry of Textile for PPE prototype sample testing as per the prevailing ISO standards and guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Textile. Indian Garment Company: Indian Garment Company is a registered micro-enterprise under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Act. Indian Garment Company is already manufacturing PPE kits in and around Agra and supplying to various hospitals and has now proposed an annual production target of over one million PPE kits using the licensed know-how of NavRakshak to meet the increased requirement of PPEs enforced by COVID crisis. 

    Gravel geometry of the Indus river unravel its paleoclimatic history

    115 days ago
    Researchers from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun, have traced the paleoclimatic history of the Indus River in Ladakh Himalaya. It was traced with the help of geometric data from overlapping gravels of channel fills.  Highlights: ♦ The researchers studied the discharge during periods in which the river experienced an increase in land elevation, due to the deposition of sediment and its incision. ♦ River Terraces are part of valley-wide aggradations, which has been studied extensively in Himalaya to understand the processes driving such a periodic increase in river valley land elevation and incision. ♦ The researchers studied the discharge during periods of established river aggradation and incision of the Indus River, Ladakh Himalaya over late Quaternary.  ♦ The researchers used the geometric data from overlapping gravels of channel fills to calculate paleo discharges during net river aggradation at 47–23 ka (thousand years), and preserved slack water deposits (SWDs) at 14–10 ka to constrain paleo discharges that occurred during net river incision. ♦ The researchers also observed that the aggradation in the Himalayan rivers occurred in glacial-interglacial transient warm climatic conditions (33–21 ka and 17–14 ka) when the sediment budget in the rivers increased just after the glacial events. ♦ The recent study showed that aggradation took place in the Indus River when sediment to water ratio was higher during MIS-3 (Marine isotope stages (MIS).  ♦ Marine oxygen-isotope stages are alternating warm and cool periods in the Earth's paleoclimate, deduced from oxygen isotope data reflecting changes in temperature derived from data from deep-sea core samples) and incision initiated when sediment to water ratio reduced during post-glacial climatically wet phase (early Holocene).

    Researchers finds new biomolecules to fight drug resistance in Kala-azar

    116 days ago
    Researchers at the Department of Biotechnology’s National Centre for Cell Science (DBT-NCCS) in Pune discovered new biomolecules to fight drug resistance in Kala-azar exploring ways to tackle miltefosine resistance.  Highlights: ♦ The researchers worked with one of the species of Leishmania that causes infection, called Leishmania major. The researchers manipulated the transporter proteins in the species in a manner that would result in increased uptake of the drug and decrease in its being thrown out of the parasite’s body. ♦ The researcher used a computational method to design small molecules, called peptides, that could very specifically interact with the transporter proteins of L. major alone, and not interfere with human proteins in any way.  ♦ The peptides were designed to modulate the transporter proteins “allosterically”, that is, by interacting with the protein molecule at a location other than the specific location where miltefosine binds to it. ♦ Teh outcomes of the research indicated that this approach could prove useful in the long run to develop novel therapeutics against drug-resistant Leishmania parasites. Background: Leishmaniasis is a tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India. It is caused by a parasite called Leishmania. It is transmitted through the bite of sandflies. There are three main forms of leishmaniasis are: visceral, which affects multiple organs and is the most serious form of the disease cutaneous causes skin sores and is the most common form mucocutaneous causes skin and mucosal lesion Visceral leishmaniasis is commonly known as Kala-azar in India. It is fatal in over 95% of the cases if left untreated. The only drug available against leishmaniasis is miltefosine. This drug is rapidly losing its effectiveness because of emerging resistance to this drug due to a decrease in its accumulation inside the parasite, which is necessary for the drug to kill the parasite. Specific types of protein molecules called transporter proteins to play a major role in carrying miltefosine into and out of the parasite’s body, which comprises a single cell. A protein called ‘P4ATPase-CDC50’ is responsible for the intake of the drug by the parasite, and another protein, called ‘P-glycoprotein’, is responsible for throwing this drug out from within the parasite’s body.

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