Singapore has approved a covid breath test which detect to covid-19 and show the accurate results in less than a minute.
The test has been developed by a start-up Breathonix.
The test kit works in a manner similar to standard breathalyzer test which is used by police to check for erratic drunken drivers. To test, person first blows into a one-way valve mouthpiece. Then, compounds in person’s breath are compared through machine learning software. It compares against sort of breath signature which is a symptom of person who is Covid-positive.
Before this test kit was approved Singapore was screening the incoming travellers with antigen rapid tests. Now, breath test will be used to screen incoming travellers from Malaysia.
Breath test provided accurate tests within a minute. This, it will help in opening the travel sector which has slowed amid the covid-19 pandemic. It will help in opening up the international borders.
Breathonix test has undergone three clinical trials. Two in Singapore and one in Dubai. It resulted into the sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 95% on about 180 patients.
Maharashtra Government has prepared and submitted a tentative serial nomination for 14 forts of the state, to get World Heritage Site tag.
Maharashtra has listed 14 sites including Shivneri fort, Raigad Fort, Torna fort, Rajgad Fort, Lohagad, Mulher fort, Ankai Tankai forts, Salher Fort, Rangana Fort, Ankai Tankai Forts, Kasa Fort, Sindhudurg Fort, Alibag Fort, Suvarnadurg and Khanderi Fort. All the sites are historically important. They belong to either Peshwa rule or battle between Marathas & Mughals. Some forts also served as naval or army bases for Maratha fighters.
UNESCO accepted the tentative nomination list of forts forwarded by Archaeology Survey of India through ministry of culture. Now, state government have to submit a detailed final nomination list to UNESCO enlisting the outstanding value of the sites.
World Heritage Sites are landmark or area with legal protection given by an international convention. These sites are administered by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Such sites are designated by UNESCO for its cultural, historical or scientific significance. To get world heritage site tag, sites must have unique landmark which can be identified geographically and historically. As of June 2020, there exists 1,121 World Heritage Sites across 167 countries. China and Italy are the countries having most number (55 each) of heritage sites.
Nuclear Scientist and former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, SriKumar Banerjee passed away at 75 on May 23, 2021 due to heart attack after he recovered from COVID-19.
He was a veteran nuclear scientist who led nuclear establishment when India and USA signed their nuclear deal and legislated Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill.
The leading global expert in nuclear processes, joined Metallurgy department of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in 1968 after completing B. Tech in metallurgy from IIT, Kharagpur. In 1974, he was awarded his Ph. D for his work at BARC. He was the director of BARC from 2004 to 2010. He had wide knowledge of usage of specialized alloys in nuclear processes.
Srikumar had headed establishment of atomic energy in India, when political and expert fraternity was in doubt that India will lose its nuclear autonomy if it signed 123 Pact or the US – India Civil Nuclear Agreement, with US. But he was convinced that India would gain.
He was conferred “Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for science and technology” in 1989 and in 2005 he was conferred Padma Shri award.
United States has put visa restrictions on officials of Ethiopia and Eritrea, who are accused of increasing six-month-old war in Tigray region of Ethiopia.
US accused them as they had not taken meaningful steps to end hostilities in Tigray region. According to US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, curbs on economic and security assistance to Ethiopia was also imposed. However, it will continue providing humanitarian aid for health, food and education.
Conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea started in May 1998 and ended in June 2000. While final peace treaty was agreed twenty years after initial confrontations in 2018.
Eritrea and Ethiopia have spent huge dollars on war and have suffered many casualties as a direct consequence. But it resulted in only minor border changes.
As per the ruling of international commission in The Hague, Eritrea triggered the war against Ethiopia by breaking international law. After the war, Ethiopia held all the disputed territory and advanced to Eritrea.
This body was founded by United Nation. It established, disputed territory of Badme belongs to Eritrea. But, as of 2019, Ethiopia still occupies Badme and territory near it.
It is the northernmost regional state of Ethiopia. Region is homeland of Tigrayan, Irob and Kunama people. In the federal constitution, it is also called as “Region 1”. Largest city, Mekelle is the capital of Tigray Region.
According to National Hurricane Centre, Miami, subtropical storm Ana is drifting northeast across the Atlantic Ocean after causing rain to Bermuda. Thus, first named Atlantic storm will cause no damage to land and will dissipate soon.
Ana storm was located about 435 kilometres northeast of Bermuda. It had a maximum sustained wind of 75 kilometres per hour. Ana was the first named storm in Atlantic in 2021, even though hurricane season is not started yet. Hurricane season usually start on June 1.
Atlantic hurricane, also called as tropical storm, is a tropical cyclone forming in Atlantic Ocean. It forms usually in months of June and November. Hurricane is different from cyclone or typhoon based on their location, only. Hurricane storm occurs in Atlantic Ocean and north-eastern Pacific Ocean, typhoon in north-western Pacific Ocean while cyclone in South Pacific Ocean or Indian Ocean.
Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory located in North Atlantic Ocean. It has an area of 1,035 km spreading east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina Bermuda has 181 islands. Hamilton is its capital city. The Island is internally self-governing and it has its constitution and cabinet of ministers. Largest industries of Bermuda are offshore insurance, reinsurance, and tourism. In the 20th century, it had one of the world’s highest GDP per capita.
After an extensive five-year study by researchers from Delhi University, eight more species were added to the list of snakes in Delhi.
Common bronzeback tree snake, common cat snake, common trinket snake, common kukri, common sand boa, barred wolf snake, streaked kukri, and saw-scaled viper are the new additions in species of snakes.
Techniques such as pitfall traps, opportunistic encounters, road kills encounters and nocturnal road cruising were used to collect data. Secondary information on snake rescue were also taken from NGOs like Wildlife Trust of India and Fauna Foundation of India.
Rapid urbanization is the main cause of concerns for reptilian population, including snakes in cities. Green spaces are reducing with increasing urbanisation. Thus, future planning should include plans for preservation of green spaces and wildlife.
Delhi is an important site for conservation because it is a part of ancient Aravalli mountains. Though, it has now fragmented either in the form of urban forests or urban parks. Despite that, it experiences regular snake occurrences across houses, gardens and industrial areas. Thus, Delhi still has good potential and provides an opportunity to conserve native flora, fauna and biodiversity.
CCoV-HuPn-2018 coronavirus, with its origin in dogs, was detected among patients hospitalised with pneumonia in 2017-2018 in Malaysia. As per study, it may be the eighth unique coronavirus known cause disease in humans, once confirmed as pathogen. However, it does not poses pandemic risks currently.
Researchers had tested nasal swab samples of 301 pneumonia patients at a hospital in east Malaysian state of Sarawak. Eight of the samples including samples of children under 5 years old, were tested positive for canine coronavirus. Its genomic sequencing a new strain, named CCoV-HuPn-2018, was found which had similar characteristics like coronaviruses causing infections in cats and pigs. However, it resembles mostly to one that infected dogs.
Virus also comprised a genetic deletion, or mutation which was not found in any canine coronaviruses however, it was present in human strains like SARS-COV and SARS-COV-2.
This virus causes COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) and other respiratory illness. It is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus. It is contagious in humans. Its successor in SATS-CoV-1, which had caused 2002–2004 SARS outbreak. It has zoonotic origins and is genetically similar to bat coronaviruses.
It was an epidemic that involved severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1). This outbreak was first witnessed in China in November 2002.
Recently, researchers found a new point-of-care test to be highly sensitive for rapid diagnosis of Kyasanur forest disease (KFD) which is emerging as a new public health problem & challenge in India.
The point-of-care tests has been developed by ICMR-National Institute of Virology. It will be beneficial to diagnose KFD which is also called as monkey fever. This fever usually outbreaks in remote areas which lacks in well-equipped sample handling and laboratory testing facilities. Thus, point-of-care test will quickly manage the patient and control further spread of virus.
The disease is tick-borne viral haemorrhagic fever which is endemic to South-western part of India. It is caused by a virus from family Flaviviridae. Virus is transmitted to humans through bite of infected hard ticks, acting as a reservoir of KFD Virus.
It is a typical flavivirus having diameter of 40-60 nm. Genome of KFDV comprises of 10,774 nucleotides of single-stranded & positive-sense RNA which encodes a single polyprotein. Genome of KFDV is similar to that of Alkhurma Hemorrhagic Fever Virus, found in Saudi Arabia.
Monkeys are the main hosts for KFD virus. Humans contract infection after the bite of nymphs of tick.
Haryana will launch an anti-Covid “Sanjeevani Pariyojana” on March 24, 2021. It will provide a supervised and quick medical care at home for people, with mild to moderate symptoms of covid-19, residing in rural areas
“Sanjeevani Pariyojana” will be launched to extend medical care in rural areas where awareness regarding the second wave of COVID-19 and related treatment remains low. It is an important step of bringing medical care for the people who need it most and when they need it most. Under it, scope of medical advice will be expanded beyond qualified doctors as it will mobilize 200 final year & pre-final year medical students and interns by connecting them to consultants and experts.
This initiative comprises of an Integrated Command and Control Centre to manage critical resources such as ambulance tracking, oxygen supply, hospital beds availability besides, door-to-door awareness campaign. Thus, it will help the district administration in keeping a bird’s eye view of entire healthcare system.
Under the initiative, a Covid hotline will be set up to augment existing call centre capabilities that will support basic triaging and guidance for patients suspected or clinically diagnosed with COVID-19 symptoms.
World’s fastest land animal, Cheetah is expected to be reintroduced in India. Cheetah will be introduced at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh in November 2021.
Madhya Pradesh had started the process of creating an enclosure for around 10 cheetahs. It includes five females as well. They will be brought from South Africa.
Kuno is located in Chambal region. It is spread across an area of 750 sq km. Park has a conducive environment for cheetah. It is a protected area which is having considerable population of four-horned antelopes, nilgai, chinkara, spotted deer and wild boar. Thus, the park has a good prey base for cheetahs.
The fastest land animal is native to Africa and central Iran. It can attain running speed of 80 to 128 km/h. Cheetah is listed in “vulnerable category” of International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened species. This is because, its population has declined to 7100 (as of 2016) and are found primarily in African savannas.
Government of Democratic Republic of Congo has launched an evacuation plan for “eastern city of Goma” after volcano Mount Nyiragongo erupted.
Mount Nyiragongo volcano is located 10 km from Goma. After eruption, it has led to thousands of residents very frightened. So, they are now fleeing towards Rwanda in east.
This volcano was last erupted in 2002 and killed 250 people. It had left 1.2 lakh people homeless.
It is one of the world’s most active and dangerous volcanoes. It has an elevation of 3,470 m in Virunga Mountains which are associated with Albertine Rift. Volcano is located inside Virunga National Park, in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Main crater of volcano is about two kilometres wide and is comprises of lava lake. The crater presently has two distinct cooled lava benches within the crater walls – one at about 3,175 m (10,417 ft) and a lower one at about 2,975 m (9,760 ft). Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40 percent of historical volcanic eruptions in Africa.
This National park is located in Albertine Rift Valley in eastern part of Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was opened in 1925. This is the first protected areas in Africa. It has been listed in List of World Heritage in Danger since 1994.
World Turtle Day was celebrated on May 23, 2021. It is observed to raise awareness among people about turtle & tortoise and their habitats. Celebration of the day is sponsored by a non-profit organisation “American Tortoise Rescue (ATR)” since 2000. Theme for 2021 is- ‘Turtle Rocks!’.
World Turtle Day is celebrated every year on May 23 with the aim of bringing attention to turtles and tortoise besides increasing knowledge and respect for them. This day also encourages human action to help the turtles and tortoise survive and thrive. The day is considered among most effective of species awareness days which increases search for information on turtles online.
American Tortoise Rescue which was founded in 1990 is the founding sponsor of World Turtle Day. However, “WORLD TURTLE DAY” term was trademarked by Susan Tellem.
They are reptiles, characterized by a bony or cartilaginous shell or a carapace that developed from their ribs. Shell acts as a shield. Earliest known members of turtle dates back to Middle Jurassic. Thus, they are the oldest reptile groups even older than snakes or crocodiles. They are land-dwellers as well as amphibians. Largest sea turtle is “Leatherback turtle”.
They are reptile species from family Testudinidae. They are distinguished from turtles as they are exclusively land-dwelling. They also have a shell for protection from predation and other threats.
Environment ministers from seven industrialised nations or G7 grouping agreed to accelerate efforts against global warming during a two-day virtual meeting hosted by United Kingdom, holding presidency of G7 currently.
G7 countries released statement after International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report and stated governments needed to ramp up efforts towards reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in order to reach their goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. IEA in its recommended to immediately end investment in new fossil fuel supply projects and stop sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by 2035.
It includes U.S., Canada, Britain, Italy, France, Germany and Japan. China is not the member despite being world’s biggest source of carbon emissions.
IEA is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organisation which was established under the framework of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It was established in 1974 in the aftermath of 1973 oil crisis. It produces World Energy Outlook, annually.
Commonwealth health ministers, led by India, are seeking swift and equal access to Covid-19 vaccines for all across the world. On the behalf of 54 commonwealth member, they were concerned over gaps in access and delivery of vaccines. They also called for fair and transparent pricing of vaccine.
Vaccine is not equally distributed among the nations, especially poor nations. Currently, just 0.3 per cent of life-saving vaccine doses have been administered to people in 29 poor countries. On the other hand, high and upper-middle-income countries have administered about 84 percent of shots.
Commonwealth countries or ‘Commonwealth of Nations’ is a political association comprising of 54 member states. Almost all the members are former territories of British Empire. Commonwealth Secretariat is the chief institutions of organisation. Secretariat focuses intergovernmental aspects, and Commonwealth Foundation. Queen Elizabeth II is currently the head of commonwealth.
History of Commonwealth dates back to first half of the 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire and increased self-governance across its territories. Commonwealth was first created as “British Commonwealth of Nations” by Balfour Declaration in 1926. In the year 1931, it was formalised by United Kingdom through Statute of Westminster. Commonwealth of Nations in its present form was formally constituted in 1949 by London Declaration.
CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIR-CSIO) has transferred the UV Disinfection technology to 28 indigenous manufacturers. UV Disinfection technology was developed by CSIR-CSIO to combat SARS-CoV-2 virus.
UV Disinfection technology-V1.06 was developed by CSIR-CSIO, Chandigarh in a bid to prevent spread of coronavirus at public places across India.
This system can be retrofit into existing air ducts. It comprises of a slide mechanism, sensors and regulated UV light source. System can be fit to ducts with some modifications. This UV ducts can kill the virus in air along with air sampling. System comprises of viral load testing techniques which checks viral load in air.
UV-C Light source emits light with high energy photons. This energy has potential to kill virus & bacteria.
This system is calibrated to flow air at specified rates using specially designed filter. To give this device a versatile design, variable flow control unit has been installed. It works by sucking air at specified flow rates and trapping particles, virus or bacteria inside filter. Devise comprises of a gelatin tube in which foreign particles gets trapped.
This technology was developed as per requirements to deactivate SARS COV-2 virus contained in an aerosol. System comes with necessary user guidelines, ventilation measures, necessary safety and tested Bio-safety standards. UV-C has the capacity to deactivate over 99 percent of viruses, bacteria, fungus etc. It can be used as retrofit solution in Air Handling Units of buildings, malls, airports, transport vehicles and spin off applications. Use of UV-C can also help in ameliorating fungal infections which is spreading in country amid the second wave of the pandemic. This system is energy efficient and it improves airflow through coils. Thus, it enhances indoor air quality. Apart from that, it requires lesser maintenance and installation cost is also at lesser end.