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A Future for the World’s Children? report

Syllabus subtopic: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the report and its key findings; India’s performance   News: A Future for the World’s Children? report was recently released by a Commission of more than 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world. The Commission was convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and

24 February, 2020

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

Syllabus subtopic: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the move and its significance; about IRDAI   News: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is considering the possibility of allowing life insurance companies to offer health policies despite opposition from general insurance companies.   Background The IRDAI move follows intense lobbying by private life insurance companie

26 February, 2020

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

Syllabus subtopic: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the decision; about drug prices control order; about NPPA and its functions   News: The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has decided to exempt a new stent made by Meril Life Sciences from price control, several months after a patient activist group raised safety concerns about the product.   Background The decision comes nearly three

29 February, 2020

New Technical Committee for APIs

Syllabus subtopic: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the new committee and its functions; about COVID-19 outbreak and its implications; about API   News: The government has decided to set up a 10-member technical committee to revive India’s lost capacity to make certain crucial drug ingredients.   Significance of the move The developme

04 March, 2020

International efforts to Fight Coronavirus

International efforts to Fight Coronavirus Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- IR I. Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, G20 summit was held through video conferencing, recently. Key takeaways: G20 nations pledged a united front in the fight against coronavirus. They also committed to inject $5 trillion into the global economy to ensure the situation of deep recession doesn’t arise. G20 leaders also pledged to work with bodies such as the Internationa

27 March, 2020

Can drugs for Ebola be used to treat COVID-19?

Can drugs for Ebola be used to treat COVID-19? Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III-  S&T Medical research towards the development of drugs and vaccines against the coronavirus infection – COVID 19. Background: The virus, SARS-CoV-2, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), has caused the world’s largest pandemic. Over six lakh are infected and nearly 29,000 dead globally. In India, the number of cases is growing despite the unpreceden

29 March, 2020

Convalescent Plasma Therapy and COVID-19

Convalescent Plasma Therapy and COVID-19 Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III-  S&T Basis of the Therapy: The convalescent plasma therapy seeks to make use of the antibodies developed in the recovered patient against the coronavirus. The whole blood or plasma from such people is taken, and the plasma is then injected in critically ill patients so that the antibodies are transferred and boost their fight against the virus. Time Period f

30 March, 2020

Looking beyond just diagnosis and quarantine

Looking beyond just diagnosis and quarantine Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III S&T The author of the article calls for greater attention towards the development of therapeutic options against epidemics in India. Background: The world has suffered numerous pandemics and COVID-19 will certainly not be the last. Future pandemics are a certainty. Ebola, Zika, Nipah, SARS, MERS, H1N1 and COVID-19 are some of the viral diseases. Unlike bacterial infections such as ch

30 March, 2020

Alcohol Sanitizers and Coronaviruses

Alcohol Sanitizers and Coronaviruses Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- S&T The novel coronavirus has a lipid envelope. Soap being a detergent destroys this envelope. The same is true for alcohol also. Structure of Lipid Envelope: SARS-CoV-2 particles, like other coronaviruses, are spherical and have proteins called spikes protruding from their surface. These spikes latch onto human cells, then undergo a structural change that allows the vi

01 April, 2020

Indian Government’s Latest Moves - COVID-19

  Indian Government’s Latest Moves - COVID-19 Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- S&T Combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin against COVID-19 instead of HIV drugs According to the new clinical management guidelines issued on 31st March, 2020, a combination of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) - used for treatment of auto-immune disorders, and azithromycin - the antibiotic has been recommended for use in severe patients. The earlier gu

01 April, 2020

The Orphan Drug Act – Rare diseases

Covid-19 and the Orphan Drug Act – Rare diseases Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- S&T Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared Covid-19 an orphan disease, or a rare disease. Key Points The FDA granted Gilead Sciences orphan drug status for its antiviral drug, Remdesivir, on March 23, 2020. Ori

01 April, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak: Kerala based SCTIMST joins

Coronavirus outbreak: Kerala based SCTIMST joins hands with Wipro 3D to make automated ventilators On April 03, 2020, In view of increasing coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in India, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an institute of National Importance of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) based in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, has partnered with ‘Wipro 3D’ to build a portable and lightweight emergency ventilator

04 April, 2020

ICMR approves TB machines for Covid-19 testing

ICMR approves TB machines for Covid-19 testing Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- S&T Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has given its nod to Diagnostic machines used to test drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) for conducting Covid-19 tests. In this regard, Truenat beta CoV test on Truelab workstation will be used for screening test of COVID-19. A total of 800 truenat machines are available in India. Currently India is using real time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)

07 April, 2020

World Health Day 2020

Important Days World Health Day 2020: April 7 World Health Day is observed annually on April 7, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), to spread about equal healthcare facilities worldwide, the importance of Health and Wellness and to kill myths around Health. Theme of the year 2020: Support nurses and midwives. The theme celebrates the work of nurses and midwives and reminds world leaders of the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy.

08 April, 2020

Animals affected through COVID-19

Animals affected through COVID-19 Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III-Health Owing to a recent news report on a Tiger being infected with Covid-19 in New York (Bronx Zoo), the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued an advisory regarding the containing and management of Covid-19 in National Parks/Sanctuaries/Tiger Reserves. Also, a tiger in Pench Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh) has died due to respiratory illness. The National Tiger Conservation Authori

08 April, 2020


CSIR and COVID-19 CSIR - centre for cellular and microbiology in Hyderabad engaged in fight against COVID 19 CCMB is an authorized testing centre for COVID-19 and receives patient samples from government hospitals across 33 districts of Telangana to check for SARS-CoV-2 virus. Currently, test capacity is around 350 samples a day.  CSIR labs are leading the way in genome sequencing of the Corona Virus and CCMB is  performing Next Generation Sequencing and analysis to map out the

13 April, 2020

Cognitive Science Research Initiative and SATYAM-Yoga

Cognitive Science Research Initiative and SATYAM-Yoga Part of: GS-III- S&T - Health (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) Recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has initiated the Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM) programme. Under SATYAM, DST has invited proposals to study appropriate intervention of yoga and meditation in fighting Covid-19 and similar kinds of viruses.   Aim: To provide assistance to soc

14 April, 2020

Chitra Gene Lamp- N makes confirmatory test results-COVID-19

Chitra Gene Lamp- N makes confirmatory test results-COVID-19 Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) 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 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 for SARS-CoV-2 N-gene and can detect two regions of the ge

17 April, 2020

Plasma enrichment technique

Plasma enrichment technique The plasma enrichment techniques, antibodies from the blood of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 are used to treat severely infected patients. It is aimed at assessing the efficacy of convalescent plasma to limit complications in Covid-patients.

17 April, 2020

Australia Company to begin 1st human trial of COVID -19 vaccin

Australia Company to begin 1st human trial of COVID -19 vaccin Clinical research company Nucleus Network revealed that, it would test the effectiveness and safety of a Recombinant Spike Protein Nanoparticle vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, developed by US based Biotechnology Company. A small group of healthy volunteers would be recruited for the trial to test the effectiveness of this vaccine. The human trial procedures would involve four phases, following strict protocols to make sure it was safe an

17 April, 2020

India to supply hydroxychloroquine

India to supply hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries India has decided to supply anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries. Government sources said, out of these, 21 countries will get the drug on a commercial basis and other countries will receive it on a grant in very small quantities.  India will soon get COVID19 testing kits from South Korea. Indian missions have also taken quotations for testing kits from vendors in the UK, Malaysia, France, Germany, Japan and the US.&n

17 April, 2020

COVID19-Virtual Reality

Telemedicine The World Health Organization (WHO) refers to telemedicine as “healing from a distance“. It is the use of telecommunications technology and information technologies to provide remote clinical services to patients. Physicians use telemedicine for the transmission of digital imaging, video consultations, and remote medical diagnosis. Telehealth as “the utilization of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance

17 April, 2020

INDIAN scientists have developed low cost diagnostic kit for COVID -29

INDIAN scientists have developed low cost diagnostic kit for COVID -29 Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram, under the Department of Science and Technology, has developed an innovative diagnostic test kit named, Chitra Gene LAMP-N  for the diagnosis of COVID-19. This detects the N-Gene of virus using reverse tranase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid or RT-LAMP technique. This new kit is considered as one of the first

18 April, 2020

Pool testing of corona virus

Pool testing of corona virus Uttar Pradesh has become the first state in the country to start pool testing of corona virus samples. The move is aimed at speeding up the screening process and also brings down the cost of testing samples. State health department has also decided to carry out the audit of any death in state due to COVID-19. The death audit will help in providing better treatment to other COVID-19 patients. The Pool testing of corona samples started yesterday and 150 samples were

18 April, 2020

Export curb removed from Paracetamol

Export curb removed from Paracetamol The Centre has permitted the export of formulations (medicinal products) made from Paracetamol. However, the restriction on export of Paracetamol Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) will continue. The API is the part of any drug that produces the intended effects.   Paracetamol Paracetamol is a common fever medication globally. Paracetamol is the most sought after and widely used drug ever sin

19 April, 2020

Polyprotein – Virus and Bacteria

Polyprotein – Virus and Bacteria Difference between Coronavirus and bacterium: Bacterium Coronavirus Bacteria are living even outside a host body. The viruses are basically inactive outside a host organism. Each bacterial cell has its own machinery to reproduce itself.   Viruses would be unable to renew and grow by themselves.  

20 April, 2020

Health Problems and New National Health Policy

National Health Policy,2017 The National Health Policy, 2017 (NHP, 2017) seeks to reach everyone in a comprehensive integrated way to move towards wellness.  It aims at achieving universal health coverage and delivering quality health care services to all at affordable cost. Objectives Improve health status through concerted policy action in all sectors and expand preventive, promotive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative services provided through the public health sector with

21 April, 2020

DCGI approves trial of a drug to reduce mortality rate

DCGI approves trial of a drug to reduce mortality rate The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved trial of a drug for reducing mortality rate in critically ill COVID-19 patients. The trial is likely to begin at multiple hospitals. The drug which has been developed by Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd. with the support of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is meant to treat critically ill patients suffering from Gram-negative bacterial sepsis. CSIR appointed monitorin

21 April, 2020

TDB approves financial support to MyLab Discovery Solutions

TDB approves financial support to MyLab Discovery Solutions for ramping up production of COVID-19 diagnostic kits The Technology Development Board (TDB) has approved financial support to MyLab Discovery Solutions, Pune, for ramping up production of COVID-19 diagnostic kits. Mylab Discovery Solutions is the first indigenous company to develop real-time PCR based molecular diagnostic kit which screens and detects COVID 19 from samples. The support from TDB will ensure ramp up in the production

22 April, 2020

One more institute of CSIR started whole-genome sequencing of coronavirus

One more institute of CSIR started whole-genome sequencing of coronavirus One more institute of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has started whole-genome sequencing of novel coronavirus. Chandigarh-based Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTech) has taken up the task of large-scale genome sequencing of the virus. Earlier, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the Institute of Genomic and Integrated Biology had started working on it. The complete genome se

22 April, 2020

e-Raktkosh Portal

e-Raktkosh Portal Recently, the Union Health minister urged the use of the e-Raktkosh portal as a single point for maintaining real-time information on the status of stocks of each blood group. The Health Minister has termed the availability of blood in blood banks as 'essential'. In several blood disorders like thalassemia and haemophilia regular transfusion of the blood is necessary. Blood Disorder A blood disorder is any co

23 April, 2020

UVC disinfection trolley:

Context: UV disinfection trolley can effectively clean up hospital spaces in combating COVID-19. Coronavirus is sensitive to UVC light, as in the case of other viruses and bacteria The present system has been deployed at Employee’s State Insurance Corporation hospital in Hyderabad for field trials Developed by: International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST), G

26 April, 2020

Coping with today, planning for tomorrow-COVID-19

Coping with today, planning for tomorrow Part of: GS-I- CULTURE (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) (By Dr. Ramasubramanian is Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospital, and Director, Capstone Clinic; Dr. Aruna Mohan is Consultant Paediatric Dentist, and Director, Capstone Dental Care ) Quote for essay (Ethics) “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over.

30 April, 2020

Plasma therapy is no silver bullet

Plasma therapy is no silver bullet By, Dr. Balram Bhargava is Director General, Indian Council for Medical Research Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to governments, health professionals and the general public at large, around the world. Every response, administrative, social, economic or medical is being subjected to intense public scrutiny, as it rightly should be in the spirit of mature democracy. Scientific research in medicine is the only

01 May, 2020

UN Chief said world should follow South Korean model to fight CoVID -19

UN Chief said world should follow South Korean model to fight CoVID -19 Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) UN Chief Antonio Guterres has expressed hope that many countries in the world will follow the remarkable example of South Korea in addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Republic of Korea, the country has been extremely successful in addressing the coronavirus outbreak and is planning to tackle climate change in its recovery from COVID-19. South Korea has prese

01 May, 2020

Taiwan’s coronavirus protocol shows how it is done

Taiwan’s coronavirus protocol shows how it is done By, Dr. Chen Shih-chung is Minister of Health and Welfare, Taiwan Introduction Pandemics can spread rapidly around the world because of the ease of international transportation. The most salient examples are the Spanish flu of 1918, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003, and the H1N1 influenza of 2009. Intermittently, serious regional epidemics, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in

02 May, 2020

3 drug regimen in Phase 2 trial for COVID-19

Phase-2 trial with three drugs offers hope Introduction A phase-2 trial involving participants with mild to moderate coronavirus (COVID-19) illness found no detectable virus within an average seven days of starting treatment with a three-drug regimen compared with 12 days in people in the control group. Samples tested for the virus comprised nasopharyngeal swab, posterior oropharyngeal saliva, throat swab, and stool samples. Clinical Improvement Clinical improvement was also sign

09 May, 2020

Using NFHS for population surveillance for coronavirus

Using NFHS for population surveillance for coronavirus Introduction Governments worldwide have been testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) in high-risk individuals, such as those with symptoms, close contacts of those tested positive, health-care professionals and those with travel history to an affected region. But this does not give an accurate number of those affected, making it impossible to understand the true prevalence in a population. Inaccurate data Lancet Global Health prop

10 May, 2020


DRUVS and NOTESCLEAN Defence Research Ultraviolet Sanitiser (DRUVS). Hyderabad based Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) premier lab, Research Centre Imarat (RCI), has developed an automated contactless UVC sanitisation cabinet, called Defence Research Ultraviolet Sanitiser (DRUVS). It has been designed to sanitise mobile phones, iPads, laptops, currency notes, cheque leafs, challans, passbooks, paper, envelopes, etc. The DRUVS cabinet is having contactless oper

11 May, 2020


COVID KAVACH ELISA Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Pune has developed and validated the indigenous IgG ELISA test “COVID KAVACH ELISA” for antibody detection for COVID-19. ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune is the apex laboratory of the country with state-of-art infrastructure and expertise for research in virology. NIV’s competent scientific team successfully isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus from laboratory conf

11 May, 2020

National infant mortality rate at 32, Madhya Pradesh worst performer

National infant mortality rate at 32, Madhya Pradesh worst performer Data Madhya Pradesh has the worst infant mortality rate in the country while Nagaland has the best. Chhattisgarh has the highest death rate, while Delhi has the lowest. Bihar continues to remain at the top of list in birth rate while Andaman and Nicobar is at the bottom. These details were released by the Centre recently in its Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin based on data collected for 2018.

10 May, 2020

Stringency Index

Stringency Index Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) A Stringency Index created by Oxford University shows how strict a country’s measures were, and at what stage of the pandemic spread it enforced these. As per the index, India imposed its strictest measures much earlier than others. What is Stringency index? The Stringency Index is a number from 0 to 100 that reflects these indicators. A higher index score indicates a higher level of

11 May, 2020

Covid’s vitamin D link

Covid’s vitamin D link Context A new study has found an association between low average levels of vitamin D and high numbers of Covid-19 cases and mortality rates across 20 European countries. The research, led by scientists from UK’s Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, is published in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research. Vitamin D Vitamin D is known to modulate the response of white bloo

11 May, 2020

SwasthVayu ventilator

SwasthVayu ventilator Context CSIR - National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) Bangalore, a constituent of lab of CSIR has developed a Non Invasive BiPAP Ventilator in a record time of 36 days to treat COVID-19 patients. About BiPAP Non-Invasive ventilator BiPAP Non-Invasive ventilator is a microcontroller-based precise closed-loop adaptive control system with a built-in biocompatible “3D printed manifold & coupler” with HEPA filter (Highly Efficient Particulate Ai

12 May, 2020

ICMR's clearance on using convalescent plasma therapy

ICMR's clearance on using convalescent plasma therapy Context The U.S. FDA and India’s ICMR have approved the use of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients only for trial purposes. With the ethics committee approval in hand on May 8, the ICMR cleared the last hurdle to conduct a multicentric phase-2 trial using convalescent plasma on COVID-19 patients with moderate illness. Phase 2 trial- to check the efficacy of Plasma therapy Its three feasibility studies in about

12 May, 2020

Feluda Test

Feluda Test Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) Recently, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) has developed India’s first paper strip test for Covid-19 namely, ‘Feluda’. Imp Points Description: The Feluda is a paper strip test that detects the coronavirus in an hour. Feluda is an acronym for FNCAS9 Editor Linked

12 May, 2020

Human Challenge Studies

Human Challenge Studies In new guidelines issued on May 6, the World Health Organization has said that well-designed human challenge studies could not only accelerate coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine development but also make it more likely that the vaccines ultimately deployed will be far more effective. Note:   In human challenge studies, healthy participants are first administered the candidate vaccine and then deliberately exposed to novel coronavirus.

17 May, 2020

Herd Immunity-Dangerous assumption

Aiming to achieve herd immunity naturally is ‘dangerous’, WHO warns Introduction The World Health Organization has condemned the “dangerous” concept of herd immunity for managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme said it was wrong to think that countries can “magically” make their populations immune to novel coronavirus. Herd immunity The concept of herd immu

17 May, 2020

Antimicrobial masks manufactured by IISC

IISc develops antimicrobial composite material and testing protocols for PPEs A team from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (IISc) has developed a three-layered antimicrobial composite material of low-cost for making masks. And another team, including members from IISc, is involved in testing masks and developing a way of recycling them. Antimicrobial masks The mask material consists of three layers. 1. The outermost layer is made of polyester fabric Awith polymeric nanofib

17 May, 2020

BPDS and POMID disinfectant sprays

BPDS and POMID disinfectant sprays Scientists at CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur, have developed two mobile indoor Disinfection Sprayer units. These units can be used for cleaning and disinfecting pathogenic micro-organism effectively, especially in hospitals. Called Battery Powered Disinfectant Sprayer (BPDS) and Pneumatically Operated Mobile Indoor Disinfection (POMID), these units can be used to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces suc

18 May, 2020

Where is health in the stimulus package?

Where is health in the stimulus package? By, A.K. Shiva Kumar is a Delhi-based development economist Introduction India has done well to limit the COVID-19 score and flatten the curve. Credit for containing the spread of the virus should go to our frontline medical and health workers in government who literally rushed in where angels fear to tread to save people’s lives. Putting aside threats to personal safety, family interests, and stigma, selfless government health workers

18 May, 2020

MicroRNA- Why old age make it more difficult to fight COVID-19

MicroRNA- Why old age make it more difficult to fight COVID-19 A group of tiny RNA — that is supposed to attack the SARS-CoV-2 when it infects human bodies — diminishes with age and in people with chronic health problems, which may explain why older individuals and those with pre-existing health conditions are more vulnerable to Covid-19. MicroRNAs play a big role in controlling gene expression, and are a frontline defence when viruses invade. According to a study published

18 May, 2020

Preparing for a syndemic

Preparing for a syndemic By,Chirantan Chatterjee is a faculty member at IIM Ahmedabad and Visiting Fellow at Hoover Institution, Stanford University Introduction The World Health Organization has announced that COVID-19 will likely never go away. Experts warn that there will be a second wave of infections. Syndemic situation may arise Meanwhile, some people have also raised the alarm about diseases like dengue and malaria in the upcoming monsoon season. &n

19 May, 2020

Impact of weather on COVID-19 reproduction number

How far can weather impact Covid reproduction number? A new study by Harvard University has estimated the impact of weather on transmission of Covid-19 infections and found a negative relationship between temperatures above 25°C and estimated reproduction number, with each degree Celsius associated with a 3.1% reduction in the reproduction number. The study found that higher levels of relative humidity strengthen the negative effect of temperature above 25°C. But the findings

19 May, 2020

Less invasive surfactant administration (LISA)

Less invasive surfactant administration (LISA) A recent medical technique, known as less invasive surfactant administration (LISA), has been started at J.K. Lon Government Children’s Hospital here for treatment of lung disease or respiratory distress syndrome among premature babies. The procedure, started initially for newborn children with the birth weight of less than 1,500 grams, has yielded encouraging results. Most of the premature babies admitted to the hospital’s ne

19 May, 2020

Working safely: On workplaces during the pandemic

Working safely: On workplaces during the pandemic Introduction Opening up economic production from a lockdown, even partially, when the COVID-19 pandemic has not peaked in the country poses an extraordinary challenge. Guidelines to be followed in a workplace Reducing the number of people present at any given time is a universal principle, either through resort to shifts, or arrangements to enable employees to work from home. Physical distancing of at least one metre, mandatory us

21 May, 2020

How public health boosts an economy

How public health boosts an economy By, K. Srinath Reddy is president, Public Health Foundation of India. Views are personal Introduction International Monetary Fund, called the present crisis the worst downturn since the Great Depression. The ?20-lakh-crore package recently announced includes proposals to prevent and respond to future pandemics. These include strengthening of health and wellness centres, establishment of infectious diseases hospital blocks in all districts, expansi

21 May, 2020

Backing the angels in white coats

Backing the angels in white coats By,Suneeta Reddy is Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Introduction Never since the Second World War have we seen the size, scale and human impact of the lockdown. Yet, we have managed and continue to manage the worst health and economic crisis we have seen in our lifetimes. Over 1,01,000 Indians have so far become infected by the novel coronavirus. We are not yet fully able to test and isolate efficiently, we are yet to find a protocol for cure an

21 May, 2020


Rotavac Bharat Biotech’s diarrhea vaccine ROTAVAC gets WHO pre-qualification. The WHO pre-qualification paves the way for health and humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF to procure it for public health vaccination programs across the world. Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea and kills more than 200,000 children every year. ROTAVC is also included in the Universal Immunization Program

31 May, 2020

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has recommended the introduction of HPV vaccine in the UIP. NTAGI is an advisory body that recommends vaccines for India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a group of more than 150 viruses. It is usually harmless and goes away by itself. However, some types cause papilloma or warts in parts of the body. HPV spreads by skin-to-skin contact and is the most com

31 May, 2020


Avifavir Russia will start giving its first drug approved to treat COVID-19 to patients next week, its state financial backer said, a move it hopes will ease strains on the health system. Russian hospitals can begin giving the antiviral drug, which is registered under the name Avifavir, to patients from June 11. Avifavir, known generically as favipiravir, was first developed in the late 1990s by a Japanese company later bought by Fujifilm as it moved into healthcare. RDIF head Kirill

02 June, 2020


GAVI Context Prime Minister Addresses the virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020. India has today pledged 15 Million US Dollars to Gavi, the international vaccine alliance. GAVI(Global Vaccine Summit) The virtual Global Vaccine Summit hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which over 50 ?countries - business leaders, UN agencies, civil society, government ministers, Heads of State and country leaders participated. India’s civilization teaches to see the world as one fami

05 June, 2020

Shine a light: On retraction of a research paper

Shine a light: On retraction of a research paper Part of: GS-III- R&D (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) About News Study in The Lancet, perhaps the most influential medical journal in the world, found no benefit from the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a well-known antimalarial, to treat sick COVID-19 patients. Today, that study stands retracted. As it had relied on a huge dataset of about 96,000 patients sourced from 671 hospitals in six continents, the World Health Organization, citing

06 June, 2020

Global Virtual vaccine summit – GAVI and India’s Immunisation programme

Global Virtual vaccine summit – GAVI and India’s Immunisation programme Part of: GS-III- Health  (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) PM Modi said this while addressing the virtual Global Vaccine Summit hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which over 50 countries - business leaders, UN agencies, civil society, government ministers, Heads of State and country leaders participated.   Imp Points He said, India’s civilization teaches to see the world as on

06 June, 2020

What are some of the key terms being used to describe the novel coronavirus outbreak? THE HINDU EXPLAINED

What are some of the key terms being used to describe the novel coronavirus outbreak? THE HINDU EXPLAINED Part of: GS-III- Health (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) Here is a short glossary of terms that you might hear/use regularly, but may not understand entirely. COVID-19 — A term coined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to denote the disease that has led to a pandemic. On February 11, 2020, WHO announced a name for the mysterious disease originating in China, caused by a new co

07 June, 2020

Prevalence of diabetes among women high in southern India

Prevalence of diabetes among women high in southern India Part of: GS-III- Health  (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) More than one in 10 women aged 35-49 suffer the disease          Researchers have identified a bunch of districts in India that have the maximum prevalence for diabetes among women. At least 50 of the 640 districts studied have high prevalence of diabetes — greater than one in 10 — among women aged 35-49 years.

07 June, 2020

Indian Air Force develops ARPIT

Indian Air Force develops ARPIT The Indian Air Force has designed, developed and manufactured an Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation (ARPIT). This pod will be utilised for evacuation of critical patients with infectious diseases including COVID-19 from high altitude area, isolated and remote places. Requirement of an air evacuation system with facility to prevent spread of infectious aerosol from a COVID-19 patient during air travel was felt by IAF when COVID-19 was declared as

09 June, 2020

Needed, a transfusion for public health care

Needed, a transfusion for public health care Dr. Raj B. Singh is a pulmonologist in Chennai. The views expressed are personal Part of: GS-III- Health  (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) Health services cannot be left to private medicine in a developing country, or indeed, in any country Context A news channel in India alleged recently that several private hospitals in the country were “exposed” by a “sting operation” to be levying fees in excess when CO

11 June, 2020

Call for action: On ICMR antibody test study

Call for action: On ICMR antibody test study Context The results of a serological test conducted across 69 districts by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have indicated that the confirmed numbers of COVID-19 infections reported from the RT-PCR tests are likely an undercount. Serological or antibody tests # Serological or antibody tests are not as accurate as the PCR tests, but they are useful indicators of the spread of the novel coronavirus among people. # The ICMR

16 June, 2020

India may have undercounted COVID-19 cases

India may have undercounted COVID-19 cases The findings of a serological survey by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) from 69 districts across 21 States indicate that an estimated 7,00,000 people could have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus in these districts even in early May. The number indicated by the survey is twenty times higher than the 35,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported as of early May in the entire country, suggesting that the actual COVID-19 count ov

14 June, 2020

COVID-19 taking an emotional toll on children

COVID-19 taking an emotional toll on children Context The fear of losing loved ones to the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection is most apparent among children who dabble with immense anxiety and emotional stress brought by the ongoing pandemic and lockdown. Doctors say that the toll on the mental health of the young ones is way more than the physical symptoms of COVID-19. Stress and anxiety rise amid coronavirus pandemic “Every age group is processing the events in a di

14 June, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine does not reduce mortality, RECOVERY trial finds

Hydroxychloroquine does not reduce mortality, RECOVERY trial finds Recovery trial The RECOVERY trial, a large randomised controlled trial in the U.K. to test five drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, has found no clinical benefit from use of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. The trial investigators found that there was no significant benefit in mortality reduction in the intervention group, which was the primary objective. The RECOVERY trial began in March.

14 June, 2020

Persistent global transmission of chikungunya from India

Persistent global transmission of chikungunya from India Context Studying the geographic distribution and evolution of the chikungunya virus over the period from 2005-2018, a team from ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune, has noted India as an endemic reservoir for the virus with persistent global transmissions from the country. The paper published recently in Infection, Genetics and Evolution adds that “dispersal of the strains from India was noted to neighbouring and di

14 June, 2020

Vector-borne diseases

Vector-borne diseases Key facts Vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 700 000 deaths annually. They can be caused by either parasites, bacteria or viruses. Malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted by Anopheline mosquitoes. It causes an estimated 219 million cases globally, and results in more than 400,000 deaths every year. Most of the deaths occur in children under the age of 5 years. Dengue is the most prevalent viral inf

14 June, 2020


ICMR RECOMMENDS THE USE OF RAPID ANTIGEN TEST KIT ALONG WITH RT-PCR TEST FOR DIAGNOSIS OF COVID TEST Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR has recommended the use of rapid antigen test kits for diagnosis of COVID-19 in containment zones and healthcare settings in combination with the RT-PCR test. The kits will allow faster diagnosis without laboratory examination. Rapid antigen test kit is a rapid chromatographic immuno assay for qualitative detection of specific antigens to SARS-CoV-2.

17 June, 2020

Beginning of the Rural wave-COVID-19

Rural India, the new viral flash point By, M.S. Seshadri is retired Professor of Medical Endocriniology, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore and now Medical Director, Thirumalai Mission Hospital, Ranipet, Tamil Nadu. T. Jacob John is retired Professor of Clinical Virology, CMC, Vellore and past President of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics Context à The initial misplaced optimism that India is somehow protected from the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be illusory, with rapid

17 June, 2020


Dexamethasone The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom (UK) that show dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth, according to preliminary findings shared with WHO.  

17 June, 2020

Can a COVID-19 vaccine be developed soon?

Can a COVID-19 vaccine be developed soon? Purpose of a vaccine à The great hope in the control of infectious diseases is always a vaccine. à A vaccine could be a weakened biological or synthetic agent administered to humans that will protect them from contracting infectious diseases by supplying specific antibodies to neutralise the disease-causing pathogen, while not making a person actually sick from it. à Vaccines have always sounded the bugle of relief from

14 June, 2020

What must schools do before reopening?

What must schools do before reopening? Context àSchools in India have been shut since the first 21-day national lockdown from March 25, some from a week or two earlier, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. àWith the number of COVID-19 cases spiking this week, there is a growing clamour to protect children from going to examination centres and keep them away from school for some time longer. Many schools are offering online classes, but that has its own perils. What a

14 June, 2020

Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin @Rs.1

Sanitary Napkins available for Rs. 1/- per pad at Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras It may be stated that menstruation and menstrual practices still face some social, cultural, and religious restrictions which are a big barrier in the path of menstrual hygiene management. In many parts of the country especially in rural areas girls and women do not have access to sanitary products or they do not opt for them as most of these items available in the market are bit costly. This

18 June, 2020

India Health Fund

India Health Fund The India Health Fund (IHF) is an initiative by Tata Trusts, in collaboration with the Global Fund. It is to financially support innovations and technologies designed to combat tuberculosis and malaria. The IHF aims to support new products and strategies that impact the entire lifecycle of TB and malaria, from prevention to post-cure recovery. The funds will support the long-term exercise aligned with the country’s goal of eliminating TB by 2025 and malaria by

17 June, 2020

A prescription of equitable and effective care (Solutions for COVID-19 management)

A prescription of equitable and effective care By, Anand Zachariah is a Professor of Medicine at the Christian Medical College, Vellore. George Thomas is an Orthopaedic Surgeon at St. Isabel’s Hospital, Chennai. The views expressed are persona Context # Medical care has been disrupted by the novel coronavirus. # Fear, anxiety, uncertainty and confusion have all overtaken clinical services. # The private sector, which delivers the major part of medical services, is now funct

18 June, 2020

Maternal health matters

Maternal health matters By, Jashodhara Dasgupta writes on gender, rights and health Context # In a shocking incident earlier this month, a pregnant woman died in an ambulance in Noida after being turned away from a number of private and government hospitals. Questions to be raised # This raises a chilling question for all of us: if this can happen somewhere so close to the nation’s capital, what is happening in the corners of the country? # A second question that comes

18 June, 2020


I-Lab The Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated and flagged off India’s first I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic lab) for Covid testing in rural and inaccessible areas of India.      Expressing his happiness to launch the I-Lab, infectious disease diagnostic laboratory- a mobile testing facility, Dr. Harsh Vardhan dedicated this facility to provide Covid testing access to rural

19 June, 2020

PBC Complex

SERB supported study shows that collapse of respiratory center in the brain may cause breakdown of COVID-19 patients The team of researchers at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata has explored the neuro-invasive potential of SARS-CoV-2 and suggested that the virus may infect respiratory centre of the brain and attention should be focused on the respiratory centre of the central nervous system to search for mortality due to COVID 19. The paper published in ACS Chemic

19 June, 2020


CSIR-CDRI’s candidate drug Umifenovir secures DCGI approval for Phase III Clinical Trial against COVID-19 Context CSIR constituent lab CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute(CDRI) Lucknow, has received permission for carrying out Phase III randomised, Double blind, Placebo controlled trial of efficacy, safety and tolerability of antiviral drug Umifenovir. Umifenovir This drug has a good safety profile and acts by preventing entry of virus into human cells and also by pri

19 June, 2020


An enterprise of DSIR, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, NRDC Licenses NavRakshak PPE Suit Manufacturing Know-how to Five MSMEs Developed by Indian Navy National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) has licensed the manufacturing know-how of a PPE Suit being named as NavRakshak to five MSME to meet the ongoing country wide demand of quality PPE kits. These five manufacturers put together are planning to mass produce more than 10 million PPEs per year. The manufact

19 June, 2020

Ban on export of HCQ lifted

Ban on export of HCQ lifted Government has lifted ban on export of anti-malerial drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) API and formulation.with immediate effect. An Inter-ministerial High-Level Empowered Committee meets regularly on fortnightly basis for assessing the availability of drugs in the country and will continue to meet to monitor the situation. In the meeting it was noted that during March-May, 2020 period (COVID-19 period) numbers of manufacturing units of Hydroxychloroquine have

20 June, 2020

VTM kits

VTM kits Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, in association with RR Animal Healthcare Ltd and Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), has developed low-cost diagnostic kits. These are Viral Transport Media (VTM) kits, RT-PCR kits, and RNA isolation kits. The VTM kits are the first-stop source used to collect nasal and oral swab specimens from an individual source to a laboratory safely for culture and testing. During this period, the virus, if present, in the sampl

20 June, 2020

Sickle cell disease

Sickle cell disease Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. People with this disorder have atypical hemoglobin molecules called hemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape. Signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease usually begin in early childhood. Characteristic features of this disorder include a low number of red blood cells (anemi

20 June, 2020

Favipiravir drug for COVID-19

Glenmark gets nod for favipiravir Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said it has received an approval from India’s drug regulator(CDSO) to manufacture and sell oral antiviral drug favipiravir (FabiFlu) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients in India. Favipiravir is the generic version of Japanese firm Fujifilm Toyoma Chemical Co’s Avigan.

20 June, 2020

Global Influenza Data Initiative (GISAID)

Global Influenza Data Initiative (GISAID) GISAID is a global science initiative and primary source for genomic data of influenza viruses and the novel coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. It is headquartered in Munich, Germany. It is a not for profit organisation. Since its establishment in 2008, as an alternative to sharing avian influenza data via conventional public-domain archives. GISAID differs from other genetic sequence databases like GenBank and EMBL primarily in that use

20 June, 2020

COVID poses trying times for Diabetics

COVID poses trying times for Diabetics Context Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, who is also a renowned Diabetologist, said here today that COVID poses trying times for Diabetics. Delivering the inaugural address, as chief guest, at the "World Congress of Indian Academy of Diabetes" being held for the first time on Virtual platform under the name “Dia-V Con 2020”. Diabetes and COVID19 Those suffering from Diabetes have an immuno-comprised status, which t

21 June, 2020

Antibodies against coronavirus start to decrease in 2-3 months,

Antibodies against coronavirus start to decrease in 2-3 months, study finds Context A few countries, including the U.K., were toying with the idea of issuing some form of a certificate to people who have been infected with novel coronavirus and recovered subsequently, as such people were assumed to be resistant to reinfection. Study reveals Now, a study published in Nature Medicine suggests that antibodies formed against SARS-CoV-2 begin to decrease in number, just two-three

21 June, 2020

COVID19-Plasma therapy

Antibodies from convalescent plasma protect against COVID-19 A team of scientists led by Dennis R. Burton from the Scripps Research Institute has discovered that neutralising antibodies present in the blood of COVID-19 infected who have recovered offers powerful protection against novel coronavirus in animals. Role for antibodies The small animals that received high dose of antibodies did not lose weight and the amount of virus in the lungs was low compared with those that rece

21 June, 2020

Automated lung ultrasound (LUS)

IIT-Palakkad develops ultrasound for COVID-19 screening The IIT, Palakkad, has developed an automated lung ultrasound (LUS) for COVID-19 screening and monitoring through cloud-based image analysis and scoring system. The app, the first of its kind in India, is now available for clinicians to perform automated analysis by just uploading the ultrasound video. Motivated by the promising results that showed the relevance and importance of LUS in COVID-19 patients, the IIT team conducte

21 June, 2020

The many questions about Favipiravir (Analysis of Favipiravir Drug)

The many questions about Favipiravir S.P. Kalantri is Professor of Medicine at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences and Medical Superintendent of Kasturba Hospital, Sevagram, Maharashtra; Dinesh Thakur is a public health activist Context # The pandemic has not only exposed the dire situation of the public health infrastructure, but also the opacity with which drug/medical device approvals are granted in India. # We have had many controversies over the last few months: th

25 June, 2020

eBloodServices mobile App

eBloodServices mobile App Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare launched the ‘eBloodServices’ mobile App developed by The Indian Red Cross Society (ICRS), here today, through a video conferencing. The Union Health Minister is also the Chairman of Indian Red Cross Society. This application is developed by the E-Raktkosh team of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) under the Digital India scheme launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2015.

26 June, 2020

Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle Cell Disease It is a blood disorder that arises when both parents have the problem gene and pass it on to their child. If only one parent has the problem gene, then the child will not have symptoms but will have the gene called the ‘sickle cell trait’. With sickle cell disease, the red blood cells have an abnormal crescent shape, taking the shape of a sickle, hence, its name. The sickle shape results in the red blood cells becoming rigid and sticky, getti

26 June, 2020

Reverse Zoonosis

Reverse Zoonosis Zoonosis is an infectious disease caused by a pathogen that has jumped from an animal to a human. When the pathogen is transmitted from human to animals, it is known as reverse zoonosis. The animal infected through the process may in turn re-transmit the infection to humans under some circumstances. Recently novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has begun infecting minks farms in the Netherlands. It could largely have been transmitted through indirect routes such as through feed

23 June, 2020

Science vs nonsense: On Patanjali’s COVID-19 claim

Science vs nonsense: On Patanjali’s COVID-19 claim # Patanjali Ayurved’s recent claim of having discovered a “cure” and the publicity that this garnered, bypassing every regulatory requirement without any serious consequence so far, shows that India’s regulatory checks and balances are wanting. # The company said in Haridwar that its product, ‘Coronil’, had cured everyone in a clinical trial. # While quackery and the potency of ‘magic dru

27 June, 2020

Novel coronavirus infection might trigger type-1 diabetes

Novel coronavirus infection might trigger type-1 diabetes Diabetes poses one of the key risk factors for developing severe COVID-19, and chances of dying are elevated in people with diabetes. Now, there is growing evidence that novel coronavirus might actually be triggering diabetes in some people who have so far remained free of it. These patients typically develop type-1 diabetes. The virus seems to be causing diabetes spontaneously in people. Type-1 diabetes These patie

28 June, 2020

TB during COVID-19

TB during COVID-19 (Shibu Vijayan is a physician and Global TB Technical Director at PATH, Mumbai, India. Madhukar Pai is a physician and Director of the McGill International TB Centre, Montreal, Canada.) Dangers of TB transmission India has the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the world. Even as the government was pushing to end TB by 2025, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive disruption in TB services. TB case notifications across India have dropped by over 50%

28 June, 2020

Why is there a stress on randomised controlled trials?

Why is there a stress on randomised controlled trials? Context # On June 23, the claim by Patanjali Ayurved [Haridwar (Uttrakhand)] that its preparations, ‘Coronil’ and ‘Swasari’, would cure COVID-19 in only seven days, was met with robust disbelief in some quarters, even as it hogged media space soon after the announcement. # Ramdev, the yoga guru, and who is associated with the company, claimed that a randomised controlled trial (RCT) among COVID-19 positive p

28 June, 2020

MMR vaccine can help fight sepsis in Covid patients

MMR vaccine can help fight sepsis in Covid patients A new paper suggests that live attenuated vaccines such as MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) may prevent the severe lung inflammation and sepsis associated with Covid-19 infection. The paper is published online in the journal mBio.   A live attenuated vaccine is derived from a disease-causing pathogen, which has been weakened in the laboratory so that it does not cause severe illness when a person is vaccin

29 June, 2020

Kala- azar Disease

Kala- azar Disease Recently, a team of researchers from the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune have found new biomolecules to fight drug resistance in Kala- azar (visceral leishmaniasis). NCCS is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. It was established to facilitate cell biology research in the country. Leishmaniasis It is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India.

29 June, 2020

On India’s first COVID-19 vaccine-COVAXIN

Promise and delivery: On India’s first COVID-19 vaccine Context # India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine (COVAXIN) developed by a Hyderabad-based company in collaboration with the ICMR is all set to be tested on humans.   Clinical Trials of COVAXIN # The permission from the Drugs Controller General of India to carry out phase-1 and phase-2 human clinical trials was based on the safety and efficacy results of studies on mice, rats and rabbits. # The phase-1

02 July, 2020

Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme

  Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme has been activated as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Project was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in assistance with the World Bank, in 2004. It continued as the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) during 12th Plan (2012–17) under the National Health Mission with a domestic budget. Under it, a Central Surv

03 July, 2020

Staying alert

Staying alert: On monitoring non-COVID-19 diseases Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) # The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), the backbone of India’s disease monitoring network, is responsible for alerting the Centre and the wider world, on a weekly basis, about the emergence of disease outbreaks, a surge in novel pathogens, the rate of spread and remedial action taken.   Major focus –only on COVID-19 # On average, there are 30-40 su

03 July, 2020

Bend it like Italy: On flattening the COVID-19 curve

Bend it like Italy: On flattening the COVID-19 curve Context * Five months after WHO declared COVID-19 as a  public health emergency of international concern and three-and-half months after it called the disease a pandemic, its spread does not seem to be slowing down globally.   Spike in the cases globally * Instead, infections and the death toll continue to rise alarmingly. After a sharp increase in March, the fresh cases reported have steadily increased, breaching the

04 July, 2020


Covaxin  Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has granted approval to Bharat Biotech to conduct human clinical trials for ‘Covaxin’, making it the first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine candidate to receive this approval. Covaxin has been developed by the company Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). It is

04 July, 2020

Surely, even if slowly: On a COVID-19 vaccine

Surely, even if slowly: On a COVID-19 vaccine Context * A letter by the ICMR’s  head, Dr. Balram Bhargava, to doctors last week, preparing to test a vaccine for human trials, appeared to be coercing them into getting a vaccine ready by August 15.   Issues in hastening the process of vaccine trials * However, there was no rationale extended for why the date August 15 cropped up. * Given the crisis at hand, regulatory agencies the world over have relaxed rules o

06 July, 2020

Meta-analysis does not support continued use of point-of-care serological tests for COVID-19

Meta-analysis does not support continued use of point-of-care serological tests for COVID-19 Serological test Serological tests to detect antibodies against novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) could improve diagnosis of COVID-19 and be useful tools for epidemiological surveillance. Epidemilogy   It is the branch of medicine which deals with the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health.

05 July, 2020

IIT-M develops nano-coated filter for healthcare workers

IIT-M develops nano-coated filter for healthcare workers The nylon-based nano-coated filter uses polymer coating on cellulose paper and was developed using electro-spinning process. The coating properties are optimised to efficiently remove sub-micron sized dust particles in the air. The filter media is currently being field-tested and once validated through field trials it will be recommended for bulk manufacturing, the researchers have said. The project is being funded by the Defe

07 July, 2020

G4 Virus

G4 Virus GS-PAPER-III DISEASES (PT-I.V) Recently, scientists have identified a new strain of Swine Flu (H1N1) virus namely, G4 EA H1N1. It has started infecting Chinese pigs and also has the potential of triggering a pandemic. Risk Involved: G4 EA H1N (also known as G4) replicates efficiently in human airway paths and so far, has infected a few people without actually making them ill. Thus, greater vigilance in monitoring people is

08 July, 2020

Marmots and Plague

Marmots and Plague Recently, reports of an outbreak of bubonic plague in Mongolia, China and far east Russia have emerged, caused mainly by Tarbagan Marmot (a species of Marmot). It has been compared to the Covid-19 pandemic which was apparently spread by the consumption of bat meat.   Marmot (genus Marmota) belongs to the squirrel family (Sciuridae) within the order Rodentia. These have almost 15 s

09 July, 2020

None gains: On U.S. withdrawal from WHO

None gains: On U.S. withdrawal from WHO Withdrawal of USA from WHO * On July 6, when the number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. reached over 2.8 million and nearly 0.13 million, respectively, the U.S. officially notified the United Nations of its intention to withdraw membership from the World Health Organization. * This comes after President Donald Trump announced on May 29 his decision to halt funding and pull out of the global health body. * After accusing WHO

10 July, 2020

Measles and Rubella

Measles and Rubella GS-Paper-3 Health and Children   Recently, the Maldives and Sri Lanka have become the first two countries in the World Health Organisation’s South-East Asian Region (WHO SEAR) to have eliminated both measles and rubella ahead of the 2023 deadline. In September 2019, member countries of WHO SEAR set 2023 as the target for the elimination of measles and rubella. The announcement came after the 5th meeting of the SEAR Verification Com

11 July, 2020

Original antigenic sin

Original antigenic sin Original antigenic sin, also known as the Hoskins effect, refers to the propensity of the body's immune system to preferentially utilize immunological memory based on a previous infection when a second slightly different version of that foreign entity (e.g. a virus or bacterium) is encountered. This leaves the immune system "trapped" by the first response it has made to each antigen, and unable to mount potentially more effective responses during sub

12 July, 2020

Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE)

Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), sometimes less precisely called immune enhancement or disease enhancement, is a phenomenon in which binding of a virus to non-neutralizing antibodies enhances its entry into host cells, and sometimes also its replication. This phenomenon—which leads to both increased infectivity and virulence—has been observed with mosquito-borne flaviviruses such as Dengue virus, Yellow fever virus and Zika virus,with

12 July, 2020

Is airborne transmission of COVID-19 a risk?

Is airborne transmission of COVID-19 a risk? Context * On Monday, July 6, 239 scientists from 32 countries put their signatures on an open letter that said COVID-19 is also transmitted via aerosols. Titled It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19, and addressed to the World Health Organization (WHO), they said there was enough evidence to show that viruses are released during exhalation, talking, and coughing as micro droplets small enough to remain aloft and pose a risk of

12 July, 2020

IIT-M team conducts research on cancer-curing properties of turmeric

  IIT-M team conducts research on cancer-curing properties of turmeric Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras have shown that the active compound from the common household spice turmeric — curcumin — can enhance cancer cell death. What is TRAIL TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is an agent with the ability to programme cell death (apoptosis) and has triggered many preclinical studies the world over. While the anti-tumour act

14 July, 2020

Zinc Gluconate

Zinc Gluconate Element Zinc is vital for maintaining normal bone homeostasis, and its levels are reported to get reduced in rheumatoid arthritis patients and arthritis-induced animals. It is also known that oral supplementation of zinc in the form of zinc gluconate have very low bioavailability in humans.  Institute of Nano Science & Technology (INST) has formulated nanoparticles with chitosan and loaded these nanoparticles with zinc gluconate for reducing the severity of rhe

16 July, 2020

Milestone of a million

Milestone of a million: On India’s COVID-19 numbers -   If it took 109 days to reach 1,00,000 cases but just 15 days to double, the days taken to add each additional one lakh cases have been shrinking; the last two additions of one lakh cases to reach one million took just three days each. The number of confirmed infections and deaths crossed grim milestones — one million and 25,000, respectively.   Increasing positivity rate in India-Indication of Community

18 July, 2020

COVID19- Mom to child transmission

Study finds evidence of vertical transmission of coronavirus across the placenta Modes of COVID-19 transmission Transmission through droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces seem to be the major routes of novel coronavirus spread. The World Health Organization recently acknowledged that “short-range aerosol transmission” of the virus “cannot be ruled out” in specific indoor locations which are crowded, inadequately ventilated and where exposure to the i

19 July, 2020

Why is a psoriasis drug being used to treat COVID-19 patients?

Why is a psoriasis drug being used to treat COVID-19 patients? Context Biocon announced that it had received the approval of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to market Itolizumab for treatment of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) in moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome patients due to COVID-19. Itolizumab is a monoclonal antibody which is used to treat acute psoriasis. What are monoclonal antibodies? Monoclonal antibodies are proteins cloned in

19 July, 2020

Arming India’s poor against the pandemic

Arming India’s poor against the pandemic Vitamin D deficiency can affect COVID-19 high-risk patients, particularly those who are diabetic, have heart conditions, pneumonia, obesity and those who smoke. It is also associated with infections in the respiratory tract and lung injury. Importance of Vitamin-D Besides, vitamin D is known to help in having the right amount of calcium in the bones, catalyse the process of protecting cell membranes from damage, preventing the in

19 July, 2020

Covid-19 Vaccine: ZyCoV-D

Covid-19 Vaccine: ZyCoV-D GS-PAPER-3 S&T Recently, India has started phase I/II clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine - ZyCoV-D, designed and developed by Zydus (a pharmaceutical company) with support from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). The adaptive phase I/II clinical trials will assess the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine. The other indigenously developed vaccine - Covaxin - produced

19 July, 2020

More than a crisis, a chance to rebuild health care

  More than a crisis, a chance to rebuild health care By, Dr. Bobby John is an advocate for global health and the Editor of the Journal of Development Policy & Practice Context -   The spread in COVID cases in urban agglomerations like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru points to both the speed and the scale of the epidemic moving within densely populated areas as well as success in the way sustained municipal efforts and community participation can together blun

21 July, 2020

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure It is a minimally invasive procedure to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly which may be an option for those who can’t have open-heart surgery. It is the replacement of the aortic valve of the heart through the blood vessels (as opposed to valve replacement by open heart surgery). Usually, valve replacement requires an open heart procedure with a “sternotomy”, in which the chest is surgica

23 July, 2020


Sero-surveillance Recently, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) conducted a sero-surveillance study for Covid-19 in New Delhi. NCDC is under administrative control of the Directorate General of Health Services in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Sero-surveillance: Detects Specific Antibodies: It seeks to assess the prevalence of disease in a population by detecting the presence of specific antibodies agai

27 July, 2020


'Manodarpan'  Recently, the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has launched the 'Manodarpan' initiative under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It is aimed to provide psychosocial support to students, family members and teachers for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19. Description: The platform includes a national toll free helpline for students of schools, universities and colleges, which w

27 July, 2020

Global Fund

Global Fund Recently, ‘key populations affected by HIV/AIDS (or KPs)’ have protested for being ignored by governments and multilateral agencies (including United Nations) in Covid-19 related emergency relief efforts. They have petitioned the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (or simply the Global Fund), demanding allocation to meet their basic survival needs of food, shelter, and emergency medica

27 July, 2020

Bubonic plague

Bubonic plague Bubonic plague is a rare but serious zoonotic disease. It is caused by bacterial infection and transmitted by fleas from rodents. It mainly results from the bite of an infected flea, and also from exposure to the body fluids from a dead plague-infected animal. There are no reports of human to human transmission of bubonic plague. It is one of the three plagues caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis. The other two being Septicaemic plague and Pneumonic plague. According to th

28 July, 2020

Is SARS-CoV-2 a latent virus which can recur?

Is SARS-CoV-2 a latent virus which can recur? Context: There are doubts over second infection of COVID-19. There have been repeated instances of ‘reinfection’ from COVID-19 since early January 2020. Reinfection means people who had tested negative for COVID-19 test positive again after a while. Latency: The observation of re-infection of COVID-19 brings to light the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 virus having latency. The COVID-19 virus may have “reactivat

26 July, 2020

The cost of haste: On drugs, vaccines and regulators

The cost of haste: On drugs, vaccines and regulators Breach of ‘Do not harm’ principle So far-reaching are the effects of COVID-19 that it has harried drug regulatory authorities, usually the most risk-averse within the bureaucracy. ‘Do no harm’ is the driving principle of drug regulation and this is reflected in the thicket of documents and permissions that stand before the average novel drug or vaccine, for a chance at making it to the market. Compress

29 July, 2020

COVID-19 and a country club India must leave

COVID-19 and a country club India must leave By, Vikram Patel is the Pershing Square Professor of Global Health at Harvard Medical School Context This article is about the performance of India, USA and Brazil in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. These three countries share the toxic levels of historic inequalities which affect every structure of society including, most importantly, the health-care system. Stark inequalities The value of investing in a just public health-ca

30 July, 2020

Banking on serology: On seroprevalence studies

Banking on serology: On seroprevalence studies Study reveals: A recent serology survey that scientists used to estimate the spread of COVID-19 in Mumbai has found that nearly 57% of those tested in slums had been exposed to the virus and had developed antibodies against it as compared to only 16% of those tested in residential societies. Results from Delhi’s seroprevalence study, earlier this month, found that nearly a quarter of the 21,000-odd samples tested had been exposed t

31 July, 2020


AJO-Neo Recently, researchers from the S.N. Bose National Centre For Basic Sciences (SNBNCBS), Kolkata have developed a device called “AJO-Neo '' to measure neonatal bilirubin level. SNBNCBS is an autonomous research Institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. Description AJO-Neo is a non-contact and non-invasive spectrometry-based technique for measurement of neonatal bilirubin level without li

31 July, 2020

PLpro: Covid-19

PLpro: Covid-19 According to a new study on Covid-19, pharmacological inhibition of PLpro blocks virus replication and also strengthens immune response in humans. Usually, when a virus attacks human cells, the infected body cells release messenger substances known as ‘type 1 interferons’ which attract the killer cells in human bodies. These killer cells kill the infected cells and save humans from getting sick. When the&nbs

31 July, 2020

Aspirin to Prevent Cataract

Aspirin to Prevent Cataract Recently, scientists from the Institute of Nano Science & Technology (INST) have developed nanorods from the Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) Aspirin to prevent cataracts in an economical and less complicated way. Aspirin is a popular medication used to reduce pain, fever, or inflammation and now it has been found to be an effective non–invasive small molecule-based nanotherapeutics against cataract.

04 August, 2020

Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Yellow fever is caused by a virus that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. These mosquitoes thrive in and near human habitations where they breed in even the cleanest water. It is endemic in 34 countries in the sub-Saharan African region, despite the existence of a vaccine for the disease. There are three transmission ‘cycles’ for the disease in Africa - Urban, zoonotic and intermediate. The urban cycle mediated by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes is responsible fo

04 August, 2020

Toxic brew

Toxic brew Context: Consumption of illicit liquor has led to the death of more than 100 people in Punjab. There have been many instances of large-scale loss of life due to consumption of illicit liquor in the recent past. Such major incidents have been reported recently in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Assam. Health impact: The illicit liquor vendors in a bid to keep the costs low almost invariably use toxic methanol instead of ethanol. Consumption of illicit alcohol p

04 August, 2020

Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN)

Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) The Health Ministry has announced the use of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN). eVIN is an innovative technological solution aimed at strengthening immunisation supply chain systems across the country. This is being implemented under the National Health Mission (NHM), to get real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in the country. This system has been used w

05 August, 2020

COVAX program

COVAX program COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator The ACT Accelerator is a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for eve

05 August, 2020

Covishield: 2nd – 3rd Phase trails

Covishield: 2nd – 3rd Phase trails Recently, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune to conduct Phase II/III clinical trials of Covishield in India. SII is the world’s largest maker of vaccines and it has a tie-up with AstraZeneca, the Swedish-British pharma giant, to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine for low- and middle-income countries.

05 August, 2020

COVID-19 deaths may be higher than reported

COVID-19 deaths may be higher than reported By, Hemant Deepak Shewade and Giridara Gopal Parameswaran are community physicians by training. Hemant works for an international NGO and is based in Bengaluru. Giridara works at the All India Institute of Medical Science, Delhi. This piece along with graphs can be accessed online at www.thehindu.com Context As on July 31, India had the third highest burden of COVID-19 globally (based on total reported cases). According to the Union Mini

10 August, 2020

‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing

‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing Introduction: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working on developing mega labs to ramp up testing for COVID-19 as well as improve the accuracy rate. The labs will be repurposing large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS). Advantages: The mega labs will sequence 1,500 to 3,000 viral genomes at a go to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Used optimally and with appropriate modificati

13 August, 2020

‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing

‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing Introduction: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working on developing mega labs to ramp up testing for COVID-19 as well as improve the accuracy rate. The labs will be repurposing large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS). Advantages: The mega labs will sequence 1,500 to 3,000 viral genomes at a go to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Used optimally and with appropriate modificati

13 August, 2020

Poor access to abortion drugs

Poor access to abortion drugs Context: Findings of the study carried out by the Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India (FRHSI) indicated a severe shortage of medical abortion (MA) drugs in five out of the six states surveyed. Medical Abortion Drugs Abortion pills are different from emergency contraceptive pills. Abortion pills or MA drugs are abortafacients which terminate a pregnancy by expelling an embryo or foetus. Abortion pills are approved for use only up

13 August, 2020

African Swine Fever (ASF)

African Swine Fever (ASF) African Swine Fever (ASF) is different from swine flu. The virus does not affect people and there is no impact on human health. Swine influenza or swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs, which is caused by type A influenza virus. ASF is a severe viral disease that affects wild and domestic pigs typically resulting in an acute haemorrhagic fever. ASF is caused by a large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family.

15 August, 2020

SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity prevents recurrent severe COVID-19 disease

SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity prevents recurrent severe COVID-19 disease Context Natural exposure or infection with the novel coronavirus may “prevent recurrent episodes of severe COVID-19”, a paper published in Cell says. This is because, once infected with SARS-CoV-2, the immune system elicits “robust, broad and highly functional memory T cell responses”. Study: The study found SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells even in family members who have been

16 August, 2020

National Digital Health Mission

National Digital Health Mission National Digital Health Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2020 while addressing the nation from the Red Fort to mark the occasion of India's 74th Independence Day. National Digital Health Mission will be a "completely technology-based" initiative. According to the Prime Minister, the initiative will revolutionise the health sector. Under the National Digital Health Mission, every Indian will get a Health ID

16 August, 2020

National Health Policy 2017

National Health Policy 2017 Aiming to provide healthcare in an “assured manner” to all, the NHP 2017 strives to address current and emerging challenges arising from the ever-changing socio-economic, technological and epidemiological scenarios. Features The policy advocates a progressively incremental assurance-based approach. It denotes an important change towards a comprehensive primary health care package which includes care for major NCDs (non-communicable disea

17 August, 2020

National Cancer Grid

National Cancer Grid National Cancer Grid (NCG) is a network of major cancer centers, research institutes, patient groups and charitable institutions across India with the mandate of establishing uniform standards of patient care for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, providing specialized training and education in oncology and facilitating collaborative basic, translational and clinical research in cancer. It was formed in August 2012. International Agency for Research

19 August, 2020

Synthetic Flavanoids

Synthetic Flavanoids Context Recently, scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune have found the first synthetic route for producing flavonoids molecules related to the treatment of tuberculosis and chikungunya. ARI is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. About Flavonoids: It is for the first time that scientists have been able to synthesize the flavonoid molecules such as rugosa flavonoids, podocare fl

23 August, 2020

‘Malnutrition - the silent pandemic‘

‘Malnutrition - the silent pandemic‘ Introduction: This article focuses upon how the pandemic has worsened the problem of Malnutrition. While malnutrition already remains as the predominant risk factor for child deaths and total disability- adjusted life years (DALY), the COVID-19 has pushed back our efforts on ending malnutrition, which plagues India's children. There is a real risk that, as nations strive to control the virus, the gains made in reducing hunger and

10 October, 2020

Saving lives under the long shadow of the pandemic

Saving lives under the long shadow of the pandemic Introduction: The editorial highlights the fact that, along with fighting the COVID-19 virus, there is a growing need to make mental health and suicide prevention a priority. Impacts of COVID-19: Mental health has been affected severely owing to the fear of being infected and anxiety about an uncertain present and future. Necessary precautions such as social distancing, limited interactions and mask usage have become the ne

10 October, 2020

Vanquishing viruses: On Nobel prize for medicine

Vanquishing viruses: On Nobel prize for medicine Context: At a time when the world is faced with multiple assaults from a frighteningly obscure virus, it cannot be mere coincidence that the Nobel Committee decided to anoint three scientists who peeled the layers off another virus that confounded generations of physicians the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice, is a stout endorsement of years

09 October, 2020

Weighing the costs: On COVID-19 vaccine

Weighing the costs: On COVID-19 vaccine Context: Union Health Minister, on multiple occasions has said that an India-made vaccine was likely to be available in “early 2021”. The government already has an expert committee on vaccine distribution. Expert committee on vaccine distribution: The government had formed the expert committee comprising representatives from all relevant ministries and institutions to oversee all aspects of its Covid-19 vaccine plan. It ha

01 October, 2020

Genetic scissors and rewriting the code of life

Genetic scissors and rewriting the code of life Context: The 2020 Nobel Prizes for Chemistry has been awarded to two women scientists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier “for the development of the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic method for genome editing”. About CRISPR/Cas9 CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. The CRISPR are a part of bacteria’s immunological systems that help them in recognising threatening viruses.

11 October, 2020

Health worker safety deserves a second look

Health worker safety deserves a second look World Patient Safety Day (September 17th): The World Health Organization observes World Patient Safety Day on September 17th every year. The day is celebrated to highlight the issue of harm in health-care settings. The theme for 2020 was ‘Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety’ with a call to action to ‘Speak up for health worker safety’ Harm in health-care settings: The world over, one in 10 pa

25 September, 2020

Addressing the mental health needs of homeless persons

Addressing the mental health needs of homeless persons Context: The article talks on the ground realities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic make a sound case for increased investments in the health and social sectors. Issues: Among the most affected during the COVID-19 pandemic are homeless persons and the ultra-poor, many of whom are employed in the informal sector.  Oppressed classes suffer the most as a consequence of multidimensional poverty. They are exposed to

24 September, 2020

The best way to vaccinate most Indians in the least time

The best way to vaccinate most Indians in the least time Introduction Recently, due to some unintended results, the Covid-19 vaccine trial has been paused. Such a step can increase people’s faith in the safety procedures involved in vaccine development. As Covid cases rise with increasing economic activity, the only way forward for India is to formulate a sensible acquisition and pricing policy for a coronavirus vaccine, when it becomes available. As the private sector is

17 September, 2020

Reducing India’s cancer burden

Reducing India’s cancer burden Introduction: The article discusses the necessary steps to be taken to help reduce India’s cancer burden. As per the data provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR), National Cancer Registry Programme Report of August 2020, there are an estimated 13.9 lakh cancer cases in India. India has witnessed a steady rise in cancer cases over the years. India’s cancer b

14 September, 2020

A tool for thought: On coronavirus pandemic in India

A tool for thought: On coronavirus pandemic in India Context A committee of experts — well-regarded mathematicians and infectious disease experts — appointed by the Department of Science and Technology to use mathematical modelling and forecast the course of the pandemic has brought good tidings. Covid19 forecasts by mathematical modelling: By their estimate, India passed its COVID-19 peak in September and the decline in the overall caseload being observed for ne

20 October, 2020

Many gains in fighting HIV

Many gains in fighting HIV By, Bilali Camara is UNAIDS Country Director for India Context There is a reduction in new HIV infections among children and in AIDS-related deaths in India In this challenging moment when we are confronted with one of the biggest health emergencies in our history, the COVID-19 pandemic, we find our strength in the gains we are making despite this disruption. Achievements in HIV reduction The newly released 2019 HIV estimates by the National AI

20 October, 2020

Mind the gaps in India’s health care digital push

Mind the gaps in India’s health care digital push Context The Independence Day address of the Prime Minister launching the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) during an unprecedented novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, caught everyone’s attention. Yet, despite all his eloquence it was not clear to many what to expect in substantial terms. ‘Going Digital’ has no doubt been a magic phrase that has often been repeated in multiple contexts in the country, and as

07 September, 2020

Lockdowns don’t work

Lockdowns don’t work Context On the advice of experts, the world confronted the SARS Cov-2 virus in an unprecedented manner — closures of schools and workplaces and lockdowns became commonplace. Details: WHO director Tedros Adhanom said as early as March 11 that history does not have a precedent for controlling a pandemic. Yet, lockdowns were recommended. Today, cases are 40 times, and deaths 24 times higher. This has occurred during the most intense period of

24 October, 2020

Is death in Brazil a blow for AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine?

Is death in Brazil a blow for AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine? Context There has been a death in the late-stage clinical trials of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by University of Oxford and Swedish-British drugmaker AstraZeneca. What happened and why is it important? A volunteer in Brazil participating in the trials for the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, AZD1222, died this week, according to the country’s health surveillance agency, ANVISA. The vo

24 October, 2020

National well-being and the counts that matter

National well-being and the counts that matter Context: The editorial talks about the importance of adopting new ways for India to know its cumulative human capital and potential. Concerns: Since India’s crime data recording system is not built to capture subtleties, what proportion of pregnancies in India start off without the consent of the woman is not known. The intergenerational impact of a regretful and anxiety-loaded pregnancy is inadequately quantified by curr

29 August, 2020

Can a digital ID aid India’s primary health ecosystem?

Can a digital ID aid India’s primary health ecosystem? Context: Recently, the Prime Minister launched the National Digital Health Mission and made an announcement on the creation of a digital health ID for every Indian. National health ID system: The national health ID will be a repository of all health-related information of a person. Each Health ID will be linked to a health data consent manager — such as National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) — which wi

28 August, 2020

During pandemic, we must keep older people engaged, not isolate them

During pandemic, we must keep older people engaged, not isolate them Context The most vulnerable persons during the COVID pandemic are the elderly. If infected, their odds of survival are the lowest. When shut away to save them from infection, they are likely to suffer from neglect from lack of care for other ailments, and loneliness. The pandemic has highlighted humanity’s dilemma of what to do with older people. Globally, the population aged 65 and over is growing faster tha

27 August, 2020

The many lessons from COVID-19

The many lessons from COVID-19 By, Soumya Swaminathan is Chief Scientist at WHO Introduction The most important lesson from COVID-19 is the significance of investing in public health and primary healthcare. Countries that invested in primary healthcare over the past decade or two are reaping the benefits now. Another lesson is the positive role of science and scientists. The global collaboration between scientists to take forward advances in knowledge so that science is cont

27 October, 2020

The plasma therapy debate

The plasma therapy debate Context Recently published findings on convalescent plasma therapy on Covid-19 patients have triggered a debate over its efficacy. After the country’s largest such trial, known by the acronym PLACID, found that convalescent plasma was ineffective in arresting Covid-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been considering dropping this option from the national guidelines. What is plasma therapy? Plasma is the liquid part of the

27 October, 2020

School closure, work from home, ban on public events — which works best to restrict Covid-19?

School closure, work from home, ban on public events — which works best to restrict Covid-19? Introduction: Restrictions put in place by various countries — school and office closure, ban on public events, travel restrictions etc — did help restrict the spread of Covid-19, but combined measures were more effective than any single restriction, a new study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases has found. How they worked it out The calculations are based

27 October, 2020

World Polio Day

World Polio Day Paper-2 PT-MAINS-Personality test (Government policies &Health) Polio FACTS Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly viral infectious disease that affects the nervous system.There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains: Wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) Wild Poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) Wild Poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) Symptomatically, all three strains are identical,

28 October, 2020 S&T

Mission Indradhanush

Mission Indradhanush Paper-2 PT-MAINS-Personality test (Government policies &Health) Mission Indradhanush was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India on December 25, 2014. Between 2009-2013 immunization coverage has increased from 61% to 65%, indicating only 1% increase in coverage every year. To accelerate the process of immunization by covering 5% and more children every year, Indradhanush mission has been adopted to achieve target of full cover

28 October, 2020 S&T

Scientists create 3D atomic map of novel coronavirus replication mechanism

Scientists create 3D atomic map of novel coronavirus replication mechanism Introduction In the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is an enzyme called the main protease, which drives its replication once it infects the human cell. 3D map For the first time, scientists have completed a 3D map that reveals the location of every atom in the molecule of this enzyme. As Covid-19 cases surge again in several countries, this 3D mapping will allow scientists to better understand how the coron

31 October, 2020 S&T

A second wave of Covid-19 and is lockdown the answer?

A second wave of Covid-19 and is lockdown the answer? Context Large parts of Europe are in a second lockdown as a new wave of infection sweeps through the continent. Cases in the US are smashing new records. But overall numbers in India are falling — for reasons not yet fully clear. Is there any precedent from previous pandemics that strengthen the argument for allowing naturally acquired herd immunity in Covid-19? When a new pathogen enters a territory where nob

10 November, 2020 S&T

T-cell immunity and COVID-19

T-cell immunity and COVID-19 Innate immunity Our immune system responds to virus infections with a first-line defence called ‘innate’ immunity, followed by the second-line called ‘adaptive’ immunity. Innate immunity is like first aid — an immediate response, not strong enough to prevent pathology if the virus is highly virulent or the ‘inoculum’(infecting virus load) is heavy. Innate immunity then passes the baton to adaptive immunity, whi

18 November, 2020 S&T

Is allowing Ayurvedic doctors to perform surgery legally and medically tenable?

Is allowing Ayurvedic doctors to perform surgery legally and medically tenable? Context The Central Council of Indian Medicine, a statutory body set up under the AYUSH Ministry to regulate Indian systems of medicine, issued a gazette notification allowing postgraduate (PG) Ayurvedic practitioners to receive formal training for a variety of general surgery, ENT, ophthalmology and dental procedures. The decision follows the amendment to the Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduat

29 November, 2020 S&T

National Family Health Survey- 5

National Family Health Survey- 5 GS-Paper-3 Application based topic and PT The National Family Health Survey is a survey carried out on a massive scale across the country to collect information on many parameters which would ultimately help the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) to frame policies and programs to help in the upliftment of the vulnerable groups in India. The first round of the National Family Health Survey was conducted in 1992-92. Subsequently, four other rou

17 December, 2020 S&T

The World AIDS Day

The World AIDS Day GS-Paper-3 Health (PT-MAINS-IV) HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. **Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a lentivirus, which is a sub-classification of the retrovirus. It causes the HIV infection which over time leads to AIDS (Acquired Im

01 December, 2020 S&T

Super infections

Super infections Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska institute have tried to answer why influenza infections lead to an increased risk of bacterial pneumonia. They have described findings leading to so-called “superinfections”. They cite the example of Spanish flu, which was an influenza pandemic that swept across the world in 1918–20. Unlike many other pandemics, the Spanish flu hit young healthy adults, due to the superinfections caused by bacteria, in particul

01 December, 2020 S&T

Zebrafish Gene-Heart regeneration 

Zebrafish Gene-Heart regeneration  Scientists at Pune-based Agharkar Research Institute have identified Zebrafish’s genes that can promote heart regeneration. They have sought to decode the heart regeneration processes, which can illuminate strategies to improve human cardiac regeneration. Zebrafish is a tiny freshwater fish found in the tropical and subtropical regions. It is native to South Asia’s Indo-Gangetic plains, where they are mostly found in the paddy fields

01 December, 2020 S&T

House panel moots law to keep a check on private hospitals

House panel moots law to keep a check on private hospitals Health is an important topic under UPSC GS Paper II (Governance) and UPSC GS Paper III (Developmental issues) of UPSC Mains Examination. Every year UPSC asks minimum 1 question both in Prelims and Mains. Its utilization is also in Essay for UPSC Mains Examination. What is Health? According to WHO, Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  

22 December, 2020 Developmental Issues


Mucormycosis Covid-19 has triggered Mucormycosis or black fungus in some patients. Mucormycosis is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes which exist in the environment. Symptoms include face numbness, one-side nose obstruction, swelling in the eye or cheeks, and black dry crusts in the nose. Early detection can prevent loss of eyesight, nose or jaw, and 50% mortality in cases where it affects the brain. It mainly affects people who have h

18 December, 2020 S&T

Healthcare Analysis in India

Analysis of Healthcare in India India’s health care is a dark echo chamber. It is 70% private and 30% public in a country where 80% people  do not  have any protection for health and the out of pocket expense is as high  as  62% (i.e Government does not bear much for public healthcare). With public spending at 1.13% of GDP and a huge shortage of healthcare  workers particularly nurses and midwives, policy moves and plans  appear  like a sound in

21 December, 2020 S&T

Analysis of Public Health Act

Analysis of Public Health Act Context: CoVID and Public Health Act is a highly important topic for all the 3 stages of UPSC Examination i.e. Prelims, Mains and Interview. It is also important for Essay writing. The Public Health Act was suggested by the report of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs. It was done as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. National Health Profile 2019 data showed that there were an estimated 0.55 government hospital beds for 1,000 people

23 December, 2020 S&T

Understanding the new Coronavirus variant

Understanding the new COVID-19 variant Context: GS-Paper III S&T, COVID-19 (PT-Mains-Interview) A new strain of Coronavirus has emerged now, which are caused by mutations, that seemed to be 70% more transmissible. Mutations were reported from different parts of the world, including Denmark, Australia, England and South Africa, but the rapid domination of the new strain — lineage B 1.1.7 — in the south of England set off a chain of events originating from the Unite

27 December, 2020 S&T

Vaccination and their distribution - COVID Analysis

Towards an effective vaccination distribution policy Context: GS-Paper III S&T COVID-19 Vaccine (PT-Mains) What is a vaccine? A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body's immune

28 December, 2020 S&T

Roll of COVID vaccine

Rollout of COVID vaccine Context: UPSC GS Paper III S&T Health COVID (Prelims cum Mains) The dry run to test preparedness for the nationwide roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine kicked off in four States — Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab. The two-day, end-to-end dry run was carried out in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh; Rajkot and Gandhinagar in Gujarat; Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr) in Punjab; and Sonitpur and Nalbari districts of Assam. In

29 December, 2020 S&T

Anaemia and Obesity - Health - UPSC

Anaemia and Obesity – UPSC Anemia is a decrease in the total amount of red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin in the blood, or a lowered ability of the blood to carry oxygen. When anemia comes on slowly, the symptoms are often vague and may include feeling tired, weakness, shortness of breath, and a poor ability to exercise. Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn't just a cosmetic concern. It is a medical problem that increases your risk

30 December, 2020 S&T

COVID Vaccine Surveillance Guidelines

COVID Vaccine Surveillance Guidelines - UPSC On the threshold of a new year, the COVID-19 pandemic no longer seems terrifying to many, as overall cases maintain a downward trajectory and a massive vaccination programme is set to roll out. Normal life has resumed in substantial measure: there is a scaling up of long distance travel, elections have been held and mass protests are being organised. At the same time, critical activities such as on-campus education remain mostly suspended

30 December, 2020 S&T

COVID Vaccine: UK approves Oxford vaccine

COVID Vaccine: UK approves Oxford vaccine The COVID-19 vaccine by Oxford Universty and AstraZeneca has been approved for emergency supply in the U.K. This is significant for India, as the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has tied up with AstraZeneca to deploy the vaccine in the country. Unlike the Pfizer vaccine that needs to be stored at -70 and -80 degree Celsius, Oxford can be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius. Mr. Poonawala said Oxford vaccine will be priced at a maximum of

31 December, 2020 S&T

Analysis of Bird Flu in India

Analysis of Bird Flu in India Assessment of Bird Flu spread in Kerala A three-member Central team reached Kerala on Thursday to assess the situation following the outbreak of avian influenza (H5N8) in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts. The Central team is primarily looking at the circumstances that led to the outbreak, its spread and bird culling operations being undertaken as per the Central government guidelines. The team is also evaluating the public health risk posed by H5N8. The

08 January, 2021 S&T

Issues related to Poverty and Hunger: Nutrition Committees of India

Nutrition Committees of India The three top committees responsible for policies regarding nutrition are: The National Nutrition Council (NNC), headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar and including 12 Union Ministers and five Chief Ministers on a rotational basis; The Executive Committee (EC) of the National Nutrition Mission headed by the Secretary of the Women and Child Development Ministry Ram Mohan Mishra; and The National Technical Board on Nutrition (NTBN), heade

08 January, 2021 S&T

Types of Vaccines

Type of Vaccines Context: UPSC GS Paper III - Vaccines, S&T, COVID-19 (Prelims Mains) Each type is designed to teach your immune system how to fight off certain kinds of germs — and the serious diseases they cause. What does scientists consider when they create a vaccine? How your immune system responds to the germ Who needs to be vaccinated against the germ The best technology or approach to create the vaccine Based on a number of these factors, scientists deci

03 January, 2021 S&T

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) ICMR is India’s apex scientific body for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research. It was established in 1911 as Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) making it one of oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world. ICMR functions under Dept of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. HQ - Delhi. Presided by Health Minister. Director General– Prof. Balram Bhargava. It pub

03 January, 2021 S&T

Bird Flu in India

Bird Flu in India Kerala was placed on high alert on Monday after an outbreak of bird flu was confirmed in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts. The presence of the H5N8 subtype of the Influenza A virus was reported in ducks in Thalavadi, Thakazhy, Pallipad and Karuvatta in Alappuzha district and Neendoor in Kottayam district. The Alappuzha district authorities have decided to cull birds within a 1 km radius of the infected areas. While it can prove lethal for birds, the H5N8 strain

05 January, 2021 S&T


Autism What is Autism? Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a broad term used to describe a group of neurodevelopmental disorders. These disorders are characterized by problems with communication and social interaction. People with ASD often demonstrate restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped interests or patterns of behavior. ASD is found in individuals around the world, regardless of race, culture, or economic background. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C

12 January, 2021 S&T

COVID and impact on Schooling

COVID and impact on Schooling The Union Education Ministry’s directive to the States to launch a mission to avoid large-scale dropouts in schools in the coming year, partly by relaxing the detention policy, should end the anxiety of millions of students about their academic prospects. Managing schooling during COVID-19 has been a challenge, with UNESCO estimating that at the end of 2020, about 320 million students were locked out of schools globally. South and West Asia are amo

12 January, 2021 S&T

Dr. V Shanta passed away

Dr. V Shanta passed away A pioneer in cancer care in the country, and the chairperson of the Adyar Cancer Institute, V. Shanta breathed her last in Chennai early on Tuesday morning. She was admitted to Apollo Hospitals after she complained of chest pain on Monday night. She was 93. #joinourtelegram# A crusader for cancer research and making cancer care affordable for all, Dr. Shanta and her mentor S. Krishnamurthi built the Cancer Institute from a cottage hospital into a 500

21 January, 2021 S&T

Guidelines for the use of Covaxin

Guidelines for the use of Covaxin and Vaccine Hesitancy Those with a history of allergies, fever and bleeding disorder, people on blood thinners and those with compromised immunity or on medication that affects the immune system have been told by Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, not to take the COVID-19 vaccine. A statement uploaded on the company website on Monday said the vaccine was also contraindicated for pregnant and lactating women, those using other COVID-19 vaccines and

19 January, 2021 S&T

Analysis of FSSAI guidelines on Transfats

Analysis of FSSAI guidelines on Transfats On December 29, 2020, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) reduced the permissible limit of trans fatty acids (TFA) in oils and fats to 3% for 2021 and 2% by 2022, against the earlier cap of 5%. The decision was effected by an amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations. The new rules apply to edible refined oils, vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, bakery shor

17 January, 2021 S&T

National Health Policy for Rare Diseases

Rare diseases in India According to the government, so far only about 450 diseases have been recorded in India from tertiary care hospitals that are globally considered as rare diseases. The most commonly reported diseases include Haemophilia, Thalassemia, Sickle-cell Anaemia and Primary Immuno Deficiency in children, auto-immune diseases, Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease, Hirschsprung disease, Gaucher’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemangiomas and certain forms of mu

08 March, 2021 S&T

Status of Healthcare in India

Status of Healthcare in India In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been vociferous demands to strengthen the country’s public health system. Many erudite articles have stressed the need to revamp the system quickly so that we are better prepared to handle such emergencies in the future. Once the present crisis is over, however, public health will go into oblivion, as usual. Governments are already behaving as if things are fine and enough has been done on the

01 February, 2021 S&T

FSSAI's Amended Rules on Capping Trans Fats in Food Products

FSSAI has amended rules to cap trans-fatty acids (TFAs) in food products to 2% by 2022 TFA's are mainly found in baked and fried foods, pre-packaged snacks & cooking oils They increase the shelf life of food by lowering their oxidation potential They are less costly than animal fat like butter They increase the bad cholesterol (LDL) and reduce the good cholesterol (HDL) They increase the risk of coronary diseases Earlier in December, 2020 FSSAI capped TFAs in oils and

07 February, 2021 S&T

Health Care Data

Health Care  Annual health care expenditure 2000-2015 Annual health care expenditure of the country is 4% of GDP Of which, 0.9 –1.07% is Govt Expenditure and 3.0-3.6% is Out of Pocket Expenditure Lancent Report 2018 2.4M Indians die of treatable conditions every year Hospital bed coverage ratio,Doctor Population ratio WHO recommended hospital bed coverage ratio 1:1000(Beds:Population) ,  Medical council of India(MCI) target 1:16

16 February, 2021 S&T

First steps in the journey to universal health care

First steps in the journey to universal health care Introduction About 20 years ago, Thailand rolled out universal health coverage for its population at a per capita GDP similar to today’s India. For India, the lesson of COVID-19 entails setting forth on a steady and incremental path to universal health coverage; not attempting a sudden and giant leap. This is important because enough evidence exists on weak fund-absorbing capacities particularly in the backward States &mdas

09 February, 2021 Indian Economy

Cutting trans fat

Cutting trans fat Introduction Come January 1, 2022, India will join a select group of countries limiting industrial trans fat to 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product. India would thus be achieving the WHO target a year in advance (WHOs target is by 2023). Trans fat content limit In mid-2016, the trans fat content limit was halved from 10% to 5%, and in December 2020, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) capped it to 3% by 2021. Now

10 February, 2021 S&T

Capping on Transfats

Trans fat is naturally present in red meat and dairy products. Focus is on restricting the industrially produced trans fat used solely to prolong the shelf life of products to 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product 2022 Repeated use at high temperature can increase the trans fat content. Denmark became the first country to limit industrially produced trans fat content to 2% in 2004.

10 February, 2021 S&T

Intensified Mission Indradhanush

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 3.0 and the IMI 3.0 portal. Focus of the IMI 3.0 will be the children and pregnant women who have missed their vaccine doses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beneficiaries from migration areas and hard to reach areas will be targeted. Mission Indradhanush was launched in 2014 to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to all citizens of the country. The present 8th campaign will targ

20 February, 2021 Governance

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

A child has recently been diagnosed with Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar, the first case for this year. AES, locally called chamki bukhar (fever causing seizure), usually surfaces during summer in the flood-prone districts of north Bihar. It is characterized by acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) along with new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year. The disease most commonly affect

20 February, 2021 S&T

World Unani Day

World Unani Day was celebrated on February 11, 2021 to spread awareness about health care delivery through Unani system of medicine through its preventive and curative philosophy. World Unani Day is celebrated every year to mark the birth anniversary of Hakim Ajmal Khan.   He was an eminent Indian Unani physician who was a great scholar, a social reformer, a noted freedom fighter, a Unani medical educationist and founder of scientific research in Unani System of Medicine.  

12 February, 2021 S&T

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Spinal muscular atrophy is a rare genetic disease. The person suffering from this disease cannot control the movement of their muscles. Caused By: It is caused by the loss of nerve cells that carry electrical signals from the brain to the muscles. The protein needed for this signaling is coded by a gene. Everyone has two copies of this gene- one from the mother and the other from the father. A child develops this disorder only if both the copies are faulty. Gene Therapy Treatment:&nb

13 February, 2021 S&T

Telemedicine- scaling up the Indian advantage

Telemedicine- scaling up the Indian advantage Introduction In the novel coronavirus pandemic, health-care providers have been reassigned from other specialties to COVID-19, simultaneously with lockdowns and fear of transmission have dampened demand for non-emergency care. World Health Organization (WHO) survey A survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 105 countries in July 2020 showed that essential services were disrupted in the majority of countries, wit

17 February, 2021 S&T

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is going to integrate Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) with NPCDCS. NPCDCS - National Programme for Prevention & Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke. Conditions - It is a distinct hepatic condition where there is accumulation of excess fat in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol, causing fatty liver. Causes - NAFLD is a part of the metabolic syndrome characterized by diabetes,

23 February, 2021 S&T

Data on COVID19 Impact on Health Services.

Data on COVID19 Impact on Health Services. The novel coronavirus pandemic, health-care providers have been reassigned from other specialties to COVID-19, restricting high quality care for other conditions. Lockdowns and fear of transmission have dampened demand for non-emergency care. A survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 105 countries in July 2020 showed that essential services were disrupted in the majority of countries, with immunisation, antenatal and childca

23 February, 2021 S&T

National AYUSH Mission

National AYUSH Mission Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India is implementing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM). Under ‘Medicinal Plants’ component of the NAM scheme supporting market driven cultivation of prioritized medicinal plants in identified cluster/zones with in selected districts of States and implemented in a mission mode. As per the scheme guidelines, the support is provided for: Cultivation of prioritized medicinal plants on farm

09 March, 2021 S&T

PM Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, 2008

PM Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, 2008 It is an irony that even after 70 years of Independence, only 40% of population can afford branded medicines. And India is in Top 4 countries to export generic medicine to ~ 200 countries. 1 out of 6 medicines consumed in the World is from India. And in India 6 out of 10 have no access to them. Hence India launched Jan Aushadhi Scheme in 2008 by Dept of Pharma, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. It is implemented by BPPI, Gurugram. To bring

08 March, 2021 S&T

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN)

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN) Importance of Health Health is vital for improved developmental outcomes. From an economic standpoint, better health improves productivity, and reduces losses due to premature death, prolonged disability and early retirement. Health and Nutrition also directly impact scholastic achievements and have a bearing on productivity and income.  Health Outcomes depend substantially on public spending on health.  One extra year of pop

10 March, 2021 S&T

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes Introduction about diabetes Diabetes is a major public health problem in India with an estimated 7 crore adults with diabetes and half as many with prediabetes. Unfortunately, over half remain undiagnosed till late complications set in. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is primarily preventable among those at risk through proper lifestyle changes. What is gestational diabetes What is less well known is that pregnancy is a diabetogen

11 March, 2021 S&T

Data on Diabetes

Data on Diabetes India has second highest number of diabetes patients aged 20-79 yrs as of 2019- WHO. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated the global prevalence of diabetes among adults  over 18 years of age as 8.5% in 2014. There are estimated 72.96 million cases of diabetes in adult population of India. The prevalence in urban areas ranges between 10.9% and 14.2% and prevalence in rural India was 3.0-7.8% among population aged 20 years and above with a muc

12 March, 2021 S&T


BULK DRUG PARK - HIMACHAL PRADESH  What are bulk drugs or APIs? A bulk drug is also called an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). It is the key ingredient of a drug or medicine, which lends it the desired therapeutic effect or produces the intended pharmacological activity. Example- Paracetamol- It is a bulk drug, which acts against pain. It is mixed with binding agents or solvents to prepare the finished pharmaceutical product, ie a paracetamol tablet, capsule or syrup, wh

10 November, 2020 S&T

National Vaccine Day-March 16th

National Vaccine Day-March 16th Introduction By virtue of extensive immunity due to oral vaccination, the last polio case was reported in India in January 2011. Subsequently, India was declared polio-free in 2014. The Government of India observes National Vaccination Day every year on March 16 to convey the importance of vaccination to its people. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of this day becomes even more pertinent. The firm conviction of Prime Min

16 March, 2021 S&T

Low Efficacy of Adenovirus Based Vaccines

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, produced from harmless adenovirus have low efficacy compared to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are produced from mRNAs. About Adenovirus: Adenoviruses are common viruses that cause a range of illnesses. They can cause cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhoea and conjunctivitis. Adenoviruses are non-enveloped, double-stranded DNA viruses.  Adenoviruses Transmission: Adenoviruses are usually s

16 March, 2021 S&T

AstraZeneca- Reports of blood clots

AstraZeneca- Reports of blood clots Data of global Covid-19 vaccination A little over 392 million doses of vaccine have been administered globally, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker, with India accounting for around 9% of them. Reports of blood clot In the last week, there have been a flurry of reports from Europe, of blood clots developing in a very small fraction of those vaccinated and leading to a cascade of European countries announcing a temporary halt to the

16 March, 2021 S&T

Stop TB Partnership Board

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare appointed as the Chairman of the Stop TB Partnership Board. The Minister will serve a 3-year term/ About Stop TB Partnership: Stop TB Partnership was established in the Year 2000. Its aim is to eliminate tuberculosis as a public health problem. Amsterdam Declaration: In 2000, Stop TB Partnership gave a call for collaborative action from ministerial delegations of 20 countries with the highest burden of TB. Secretariat: Geneva,

19 March, 2021 Governance

India’s COVID-19 vaccination plan

India’s COVID-19 vaccination plan Introduction More than a third of all vaccinations done in the world each day are in India. With over 40,000 sites, it is heartening to see how India is shaping the COVID-19 vaccination programme. So far, India has vaccinated only 3.2% of the adult population. Although the country covered 2.6 million doses per day on March 15, the seven-day rolling average hovers only around 0.11 per 100 people. Steps to scale up India has iden

20 March, 2021 Governance

Essential Medicines

Essential Medicines India has adopted this concept from WHO.  Essential medicines do not mean that they are only life saving drugs.  In fact, the word life saving drugs is not defined in any of the domestic legislations. These are the medicines that are required to be available with the health system all the time adequately. When WHO published the 1st Model List of Essential Drugs in 1977, it identified 208 individual medicines which together could provide safe, effective

21 March, 2021 S&T


Tuberculosis (TB) What is Tuberculosis? How is it caused? TB is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often  affect the lungs but not just lungs but also other parts. BCG Vaccine. 90:90:90 target for 2035 for TB. Moscow declaration to end TB. TB is a contagious infection that usually attacks your lungs. It can spread to other parts of your body, like your brain and spine. Bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes it. TB is the top infec

22 March, 2021 S&T

Diatom Test for Detecting Death via Drowning

Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) relied on a diatom tests for leads in the alleged murder case of Mansukh Hiran. About Diatom Test It helps in diagnosing the death caused by drowning. It tests diatoms in the body being tested. Diatoms are photosynthesizing algae found in aquatic environment including fresh and marine waters, soils, etc., (almost anywhere moist). If the person is alive when he enters the water, the diatoms will enter the lungs when the person inhales water whi

23 March, 2021 S&T

Helium Crisis in India

India imports the majority of helium for its domestic needs but now the U.S appears to cut off exports of helium from 2021. Hence, the Indian industry stands to lose out heavily. About Helium: Helium is a chemical element with the symbol He and atomic number 2. It is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, first in the noble gas group in the periodic table. Its boiling point is the lowest among all the elements. Helium is the second lightest and second most abundant el

23 March, 2021 S&T

Antigenic escape

Antigenic escape Antigenic escape (alternatively called immune escape or immune evasion) occurs when the immune system of a human being ("host") is unable to respond to an infectious agent, or in other words that the host's immune system is no longer able to recognize and eliminate a virus or pathogen. This process can occur in a number of different ways of both a genetic and an environmental nature. Such mechanisms include homologous recombination, and manipulation and

30 March, 2021 S&T

Tribal TB Initiative to achieve ‘TB Mukt Bharat’ by 2025

Union Health Minister launched the “Tribal TB Initiative” as a step towards achieving 'TB Mukt Bharat' by 2025. The Ministry also released a guidance note on Joint Action Plan for elimination of Tuberculosis (TB), a Special Edition of Tribal Ministry’s Publication ‘ALEKH’ on TB and a document on Tribal Tuberculosis (TB) Initiative at the event. About the Initiative: The Health Minister stated that India has over 104 million tribal population liv

29 March, 2021 Governance

National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021- Analysis

National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021- Analysis Introduction The recent notification of the National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021 is pegged on this principle of inclusion. Details of the policy It offers financial support for one-time treatment of up to ?20 lakh, Introduces a crowdfunding mechanism, Creates a registry of rare diseases, and Provides for early detection. The policy has categorised rare diseases in three groups: Group 1: Disorders amenable

05 April, 2021 S&T

M.S. Swaminathan felicitated for work towards TB eradication

M.S. Swaminathan felicitated for work towards TB eradication Eminent agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan was felicitated on Friday for his contribution towards eradication of tuberculosis. REACH, a Chennai-based non-profit organisation working towards eradicating TB for over two decades, organised a virtual event at which Professor Swaminathan, who was its founding chair, was felicitated. Since the organisation’s inception in 1998, he has instilled the need for a more holistic

10 April, 2021 S&T

Water borne Diseases

Water borne Diseases Waterborne diseases are conditions caused by pathogenic micro-organisms that are transmitted in water. These diseases can be spread while bathing, washing, drinking water, or by eating food exposed to contaminated water. A report by the United Nations says that more than three million people in the world die of water-related diseases due to contaminated water each year, including 1.2 million children. In India, over one lakh people die of water-borne diseases annu

08 April, 2021 S&T

Tuberculosis in India

Tuberculosis in India Key Points India accounts for more than a quarter of the global TB burden. India also has the largest burden of multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) among all countries, with almost 150,000 cases every year. State TB Index: On the basis of the score in State TB Index, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh were the top three best-performing states for tuberculosis control under the category of states with 50 lakh population. Tripura and Nagaland were best-per

11 April, 2021 S&T

Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP)

Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) The Integrated Health Information Platform  is the next generation highly refined version of the presently used  Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). We have started a new chapter in India’s public health trajectory. India is the first country in the world to adopt such an advanced disease surveillance system. The new version of IHIP will house the data entry and management for India’s disease surveillanc

04 April, 2021 S&T

COVID-19 response plan

COVID-19 response plan Introduction While leaders are debating whether India is experiencing a second wave or Delhi is experiencing a fourth wave, the virus is spreading rapidly across the country, helped by the more infectious variants that arrived from abroad or emerged at home as a ‘double mutant’. Changes, a year on There are several differences from the pandemic which we experienced in 2020, both in its spread and in our response. The virus affected relati

13 April, 2021 Governance

Use of Technology in Health Sector

Use of Technology in Health Sector Samsung Case Study Samsung Electronics is recycling its old Galaxy smartphones into healthcare equipment for under-served people in India, Morocco, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. Old phones will be remodelled as eyecare equipment to screen patients with eye diseases, the company said in a statement. When the South Korea handset maker introduced the recycling programme in 2017, it made a handheld camera to enable diagnosis of an internal organ. T

13 April, 2021 S&T

Mission Aahaar Kranti

Mission Aahaar Kranti The mission is aimed to spread the message of the need for a nutritionally balanced diet and to understand the importance of accessible to all local fruits and vegetables. Vijnana Bharati (Vibha) and Global Indian Scientists’ and Technocrats’ Forum (GIST) have come together to launch the mission with the motto of ????? ????-????? ????? (Uttam Aahaar Uttam Vichaar) or `Good Diet-Good Cognition’. The `Aahaar Kranti’ movement is designed to ad

13 April, 2021 S&T

WHO guidelines to control Transmission of Zoonotic Diseases

The World Health Organization(WHO), World Organization for Animal Health and United Nations Environment Programme jointly released guidelines to control “Zoonotic Diseases” for governments. Guidelines ask to reduce the risk of transmission of zoonotic pathogens to humans in food production and marketing chains. What are Zoonotic Diseases? Zoonosis is an infectious disease that jumps from a non-human animal to humans. Zoonotic pathogens may be bacterial, viral, or p

15 April, 2021 Governance

WHO's Global Diabetes Compact Initiative

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched a Global Diabetes Compact Initiative. About Global Diabetes Compact Initiative: Global Diabetes Compact aims to reduce the risk of diabetes. It will ensure that all people diagnosed with diabetes have access to equitable, comprehensive, affordable, quality treatment and care. This initiative launched at the Global Diabetes Summit. WHO and the government of Canada Co-hosted the summit with the support of the University of Toronto

20 April, 2021 Governance

Supplemental Oxygen Delivery System developed by DRDO

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched the SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) supplemental Oxygen Delivery System which will be useful for soldiers in extreme high-altitude areas. About DRDO’s Supplemental Oxygen Delivery System: The system delivers supplemental oxygen based on the SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) levels. Thus, it prevents the person from going into a state of Hypoxia. Hypoxia is a state in which the amount of oxygen reaching the tissu

22 April, 2021 S&T

Odisha’s first case of harlequin ichthyosis

Odisha’s first case of harlequin ichthyosis WHY? Mutations in the ABCA 12 gene are stated to cause harlequin ichthyosis. The ABCA12 protein plays a major role in transporting fats in cells which make up the outermost layer of skin. Severe mutations in the gene lead to the absence or partial production of the ABCA12 protein. This results in lack of lipid transport and as a result, the skin development is affected by varying degrees according to the severity of the mutation, a doc

29 April, 2021 S&T

Rare diseases and their occurrence in India

Rare diseases and their occurrence in India  The common denominator of rare diseases is the infrequency of their occurrence in the human population. Often debilitating lifelong disease or disorder condition with a prevalence of 1 or less, per 1000 population is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a rare disease. As per an estimate, there are 7,000 known rare diseases with an estimated 300 million patients in the world; 70 million are in India.  According to the O

07 May, 2021 S&T

DCGI approves anti-COVID drug- BY DRDO & Clinical Trials

DCGI approves anti-COVID drug- BY DRDO & Clinical Trials GS-Paper-3: S&T - Innovation – UPSC PRELIMS – Mains Application Context: An anti-COVID-19 therapeutic application of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) has been developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad. An anti-COVID-19 therapeutic application of the

09 May, 2021 S&T

World Breastfeeding Week

03 August, 2019 Health

Merger of NIMH with ICMR-NIOH

24 July, 2019 Health

Eradicating TB by 2025

16 July, 2019 Health

Fit India Movement.

29 August, 2019 Health

Digitisation of AYUSH

19 July, 2019 Health


09 October, 2019 Health

National Health Profile 2019

01 November, 2019 Health

Combating Tuberculosis (TB)

02 November, 2019 Health

Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY Cards

29 November, 2019 Health

National AYUSH Grid

06 December, 2019 Health


07 March, 2020 Health


17 March, 2020 Health

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