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Science Monitor: 3 April, 2021

Science Monitor: 3 April, 2021

1. CSIR-NAL-HANSA-NG ROLLED OUT

Context:

Bengaluru-based National Aerospace Laboratories of CSIR recently unveiled the new generation of its two seater aircraft series hansa. The upgraded version called Hansa-NG was rolled out at the aircraft hangar of the NLA's Bengaluru campus. The state-of-the-art trainer aircraft will make the country more self-reliant in the field of civil aviation with its superior performance range and also endurance.

CSIR-NAL to launch HANSA-NG twin seater aircraft - YouTube

About the aircraft:

  • Hansa NG on new generation is the state-of-the-art training aircraft and is expected to strengthen Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Mission.

  • NAL has entered into contractual agreements with several flying clubs regarding the aircraft and already has letters of intent from several flying clubs.

  • This laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research is the only civil aerospace research and development institute in the country.

  • NAL has continuously worked to empower the country in aeronautical technology since its inception, as part of this, the two-seater Hansa was developed in 1993, keeping in view the need for a training aircraft. After getting its license in the year 2000, several models of Hansa have been developed.

  • Apart from flying clubs, these aircrafts are also being used by the Aerospace and Aeronautical Departments of Indian Institutes of Technology.

  • This new advanced model of Hansa is equipped with smart multi-functional displays, a glass cockpit and bubble canopy design with instrument flight rule IFR compliant avionics and uses a highly efficient digitally controlled engine.

  • The Hansa NG has been built within six months in collaboration with production partner Mesco Aerospace Limited. It is quite cost effective as compared to other aircrafts in its class and has a superior performance.

  • Hansa NG will now undergo flight testing. After the test in Bengaluru, the aircraft will be taken to the Indira Gandhi National Flight Academy in AMITY. The new generation of Hansa aircraft will enable a new impetus to aviation training.

2. NII & AIIMS STUDY ON CORONA

Context:

According to a joint study by the New Delhi-based National Institute of Immunology and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences previous exposure to common cold human corona viruses might have played a significant role in decreasing the severity of the covid-19 in the Indian population. For the study, the researchers examined the traits and stability of immune memory in unexposed donors and patients who recovered from mild covid-19.

About the study:

  • Covid-19 infection has once again started to spread across the country. The number of patients testing positive for covid-19 is increasing daily.

  • However, despite the increasing cases, the mortality rate of covid-19 in India has been very low as compared to countries like USA and the United Kingdom.

  • An interesting study conducted by the scientists of New Delhi based National Institute of Immunology and All India Institute of Medical Sciences has revealed that one of the reasons behind the low mortality rate of covid-19 in India could be the prior exposure to other corona viruses that cause common cold in humans.

  • The study based on T-cell immunology, studied blood and plasma samples of two groups to find out their response to the novel coronavirus.

  • To the surprise of the researchers, the samples collected before the outbreak of covid-19 displayed a high frequency of cross-reactive T-cells that are responsible for triggering immune response against an infection.

  • The study focused on the CD4-T cells, a subset of white blood cells that are required to generate antibody response against an infection.

  • According to the researchers, cross-reactive CD4-T cells identified in the study samples were found to target different domains of the novel coronavirus including nuclear proteins, structural proteins and in some cases even the spike protein.

  • The study indicates that the presence of cross-reactive T-cells must have contributed significantly to the low severity of covid-19 in India. According to the researchers, their study also has the potential to plan and strengthen mass vaccination drive in the country.

  • In India, mortality rate of covid-19 has been less than 1.5 percent even after reporting more than one crore cases, while in other countries, this rate has been in the range of 3 to 10 percent.

  • One reason for this is that in Indians, the common cold causing corona have already strengthened the T and B-cells that play an important role in the protective immune system. The study has been published in the medical research journal Frontiers in Immunology.

3. CSIO SCIENTISTS DEVELOP TRANSPARENT FACE MASK

Context:

Indian scientists and researchers have constantly been developing better solutions to deal with the novel coronavirus. Taking another step in this direction Central Scientific Instruments Organization of CSIR has now come up with a transparent face mask using a biocompatible polymer. The mask is breathable, reusable and also has an anti-fogging layer.

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About the mask:

  • Over the last one year, Indian scientific institutes and startups have developed many kinds of masks to help fight the virus. However, these masks also pose a problem in the identification of the user. They obscure the facial expressions of the wearer, which might also add to the security threat at various places. Therefore, people do need to remove their masks to confirm their identity and this might increase the chances of infection.

  • Recognizing such issues relating to the opaque masks, CSIR's Chandigarh based Central Scientific Instruments Organization has come up with an innovative solution.

  • Researchers at the CSIR lab have developed a transparent mask, this mask protects against corona virus without masking anyone's facial identity.

  • It is easy to manufacture transparent masks using plastic but such masks make breathing difficult and also lead to fogging. Moreover, a mask made out of plastic can be used only once thus ending up in landfills and harming the environment.

  • Taking into account all these aspects CSIR research fellow Sunita Mehta and her team modified a biocompatible polymer to develop a transparent material.

  • These transparent masks allow for easy breathing and also get rid of the problem of fogging, to top it all, these masks are reusable and can be used multiple times.

  • This research has also been supported by scientists from the Department of Science and Technologies, Institute of Nanoscience and Technology in Mohali, CSIR's Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysuru and the Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru.

4. SCIENCE EXPRESS

1. FOUNDERS OF MODERN SCIENCE. IN INDIA:

  • During an online function organized on the 31st of March, Professor Ashito Sharma, secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, released a book authored by eminent scientist Professor CNR Rao and his better half professor Indumati Rao titled ‘Founders of Modern Science in India’. The book has been published by the Indian Academy of Sciences.

  • Bharat Ratan professor CNR Rao is a pioneer in the field of solid state chemistry and has honorary doctorates from 60 universities from across the globe known for his vast publication records. Professor Rao has authored 1600 research publications and more than 50 books.

  • Professor Rao has held key positions in several educational and scientific institutions like ISRO, IIT, IISE and also served as the principal scientific advisor to the Government of India.

  • At present, he is the Linus Pauling Research Professor and honorary president at the Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru.

2. Centipedes have been borrowing proteins in their venom from bacteria and fungi:

Secrets of Centipede Venom (E) - YouTube

  • Researchers at the London based Natural History Museum have uncovered some interesting secrets of centipede venom while conducting a study.

  • The aim of the study led by Dr. Ronald Jenner and his team was to find out whether the centipedes got their venom from their direct ancestors or from somewhere else in the tree of life.

  • To the amazement of the researchers, the study found that centipedes have repeatedly stocked their venoms with proteins that evolve within bacteria and fungi, and these toxic components have been acquired through horizontal gene transfer.

  • Horizontal gene transfer is a process in which the genetic material moves between distantly related organisms. The process is different from vertical gene transfer which involves inheriting the genes from the parents or direct ancestors.

  • According to the researchers, the important study reveals the largest most diversely sourced contribution of horizontal gene transfer to the evolution of animal venom composition.

3. Scientists discover how supermassive counterparts of black holes originate:

Stellar Black Hole Is So Massive It Shouldn't Exist | Live Science

  • Scientists have detected a rare medium-sized black hole which could be a missing link between stellar class black holes and the supermassive black holes.

  • Stellar class black holes are typically 3 to 10 times the mass of our sun and the supermassive black holes are millions to billions times heavier than our sun.

  • Stellar class black holes are known to form after the collapse of a dying star but astronomers have yet to figure out the origin of supermassive black holes.

  • Scientists assume that the newly discovered ‘Goldilocks’ black hole which is about 55,000 solar masses might be the missing link between the two extremes of black holes.

  • Up to now only a handful of intermediate mass black holes have been discovered and none have been squarely in the middle of the 100 to 1 lakh solar mass range of intermediate black holes. The research has been published in the journal ‘Nature Astronomy’.

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