December 2019

Daily Current Affairs (08-12-19)

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

MEASLES AND RUBELLA INITIATIVE (M&RI)

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus: 

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Public Health, Health Care

News

  • According to new estimates released by the WHO and the CDC on behalf of the Measles and Rubella Initiative, children under the age of five accounted for most of the 1,40,000 people who died from measles in 2018.

Measles and Rubella

  • Measles is a highly-contagious virus and spreads rapidly in unvaccinated children, causing symptoms from rash to blindness, pneumonia to death.
  • Rubella virus is the primary cause of congenital rubella syndrome leading to abortions and children born with birth defects of heart, eye and brain.
  • Both measles and rubella can be prevented by a highly-effective Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine.

Measles-Rubella Campaign in India

  • India initiated one of the world’s largest Measles-Rubella Campaign to eliminate measles and control rubella in the country.
  • By November 2019, more than 324 million children and adolescent between 9 months to 15 years of age have been vaccinated with one dose of MR vaccine.

Statistics

  • As per data released by WHO, Measles cases more than doubled in 2018 compared to 2017.
  • There were 3,53,236 reported cases in 2018 compared to the provisional reporting of over 4,13,000 cases by mid-November in 2019.
  • Together, this marks a three-fold increase compared with this same time in 2018.

Why there is an increase in Measles cases?

  • Poor vaccination coverage and large pockets of unvaccinated children have resulted in devastating measles outbreaks in many parts of the world.
  • This includes countries that had high coverage rates or had previously eliminated the disease.
  • Conflict, security or a breakdown in services are making it hard to reach children in remote or hard-to-reach areas.
  • In some cases, parents are not vaccinating their children due to complacency, mistrust or misinformation about vaccines.
  • More than an estimated 19 million children worldwide missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine by their second birthday in 2018.
  • In 2018, only 86% of children globally received the first dose of measles vaccine, and fewer than 70% received the second recommended dose. This is lower than the 95% coverage needed to prevent outbreaks.

About M&RI

  • Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&RI) is led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
  • It aims to reach the measles and rubella elimination goals of the Global Vaccine Action Plan by supporting countries to
      • raise coverage of measles, rubella and other vaccines
      • fund, plan, implement and monitor quality supplementary campaigns
      • investigate outbreaks and provide technical and financial support for effective outbreak response, propose and participate in solutions to strengthen immunization delivery
      • support a global laboratory network for measles and rubella
      • The Initiative is focused on supporting the goal of reducing global measles mortality by 95 percent by 2015; and eliminating measles and rubella in at least five of the six World Health Organization Regions by 2020.

[Source: The Hindu, measlesrubellainitiative.org]

 

TYPBAR TCV VACCINE

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus: 

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Public Health, Health Care

News

  • A typhoid vaccine (Typbar TCV) has shown 81.6% efficacy in preventing typhoid fever at 12 months in a Phase-III clinical trial.
  • The trial was carried out in Nepal in over 10,000 children who received the vaccine.

Typbar TCV Vaccine

  • It is a typhoid vaccine developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
  • The vaccine was recommended by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (WHO-SAGE) in December 2017. WHO prequalified the vaccine in January 2018.
  • The Typbar TCV typhoid vaccine tested in Nepal is a conjugate vaccine.
  • Conjugate vaccine is one in which the antigen (which is a polysaccharide in this case) is chemically linked to a carrier protein.
  • A single dose of the vaccine was found to be effective in preventing typhoid in children aged nine months to 16 years.
  • The results of the trial were published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

[Source: The Hindu]

 

ENVIRONMENT

ASIAN ELEPHANT SPECIALIST GROUP (AsESG)

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus: 

Environment [Paper-II]: Policies and treaties for the protection of environment at the National and the International level, Biodiversity – its importance and concerns

News

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 10th Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) Meeting was held recently at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia.

What is AsESG?

It is a global network of voluntary specialists concerned with the study, monitoring, management, and conservation of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) that exist in 13 range states.

10th AsESG Meeting

  • This is the first time the AsESG meeting is being organised in Malaysia.
  • More than 130 elephant conservationists, partner organisations and experts have gathered at the meeting.
  • The Meeting discussed the threats and challenges faced by Asian elephants and suitable conservation plans.
  • Issues discussed at the meet included national action plans for elephant conservation by Asian elephant range states, best practices in managing human-elephant conflict, mechanisms to involve group members in monitoring the illegal killing of elephants, issues related to captive elephant welfare and sharing and learning from the African experience.

[Source: Down To Earth]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

KALIA SCHEME
  • Odisha government has reduced the financial assistance given to farmers under the Kalia scheme to Rs 4,000 per annum from Rs 10,000.
  • The decision to reduce the Kalia assistance was taken after the Odisha government merged the Kalia scheme with the Centres Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), launched in February 2019.
  • Keeping the parity of both the schemes, the small farmers/marginal farmers may be given with Rs 5,000 for 2019-20 and Rs 4,000 per year from 2020-21, so that they will get Rs 10,000 annuallye Rs 6,000 from PM-KISAN and Rs 4,000 from KALIA.
  • The actual cultivators (share croppers) who are landless, if any, will continue to get assistance from Kalia ie; Rs 10,000 annually, since they are not considered under PM-KISAN.
KARVY STOCK SCANDAL
  • On November 2019, SEBI passed an ex parte ad interim order against Karvy Stock Broking, a Hyderabad-based firm, prohibiting it from taking new clients in respect of its stock broking activities.
  • In view of the recent developments in the securities market, the National Stock Exchange issued an 11-point advisory to investors on how to keep stocks safe.
  • Karvy Stock Broking has more than a million retail broking customers and executes over two lakh transactions almost daily on behalf of its clients.
  • The broking firm has been in the news for the last few weeks as some of its clients complained of delayed payouts.
  • The broking firm had initially said the delay in payouts was on account of technical issues, but according to a preliminary probe by SEBI and the NSE, the late transfer was on account of alleged misuse of client securities.
  • Bombay Stock Exchange and the NSE have suspended the broking membership of Karvy.
  • The NSE is conducting a forensic audit to ascertain further details regarding alleged misuse of client securities.
NOVEL MOLECULE TO COMBAT MULTIDRUG-RESISTANT BACTERIA
  • Researchers at the IIT Roorkee identified a potent molecule that exhibits broadspectrum bactericidal activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria — Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • The molecule also shows antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and diarrhoea causing Clostridium difficile.
  • In mice infected with sepsis-causing bacteria A. baumannii, the molecule was found to significantly reduce the bacterial load in the spleen, lungs, kidney and liver at half the dose of a well known drug nitrofurantoin.
  • The molecule belongs to the nitrofuran class of antibiotics — nitrofurantoin and furazolidone — which are routinely used for treating urinary tract infections and intestinal ailments, respectively.
SANTHALI LANGUAGE
  • Santhali made its debut in Rajya Sabha as Sarojni Hembram of Biju Janata Dal from Odisha spoke in the tribal language to raise a matter during Zero Hour.
  • She also demanded Bharat Ratna for Pundit Raghunath Murmu, the Santhali scholar who introduced Ol Chiki script for the language in 1925.
  • The language is predominantly spoken by the North Mundari Group of the Austroasiatic-Munda family.
  • Santhali language was included in the Schedule 8 of the constitution through the 92nd Constitutional Amendment act, 2003.

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