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Science Monitor: 24 April 2021

Science Monitor: 24 April 2021

1. Eight states highly vulnerable to climate change:

Context:

Recently, the Department of Science and Technology of the GoI released National Climate Vulnerability Assessment Report under its climate change programme.

About the Report:

  • The report titled Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India using a common framework identifies India’s most vulnerable states and districts according to current climate risk and Vulnerabilities.

  • This framework has been prepared by the IIT Guwahati, IIT Mandi and IISc Bengaluru. It is jointly supported by the Department of Science and Technology and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC.

  • The report identifies Jharkhand, Mizoram, Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal as highly sensitive states in terms of climate change where adaptation measures need to be prioritised.

  • Of these states, more than 60 percent of the districts of Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand are in the highly sensitive category. The Climate Vulnerability Assessment will be undertaking climate related action at the grassroots level in these areas and accurately design project related to adaption.

  • Climate Vulnerability Assessment using a common framework will prioritise the development and implementation of adaptation related investment and programmes by identifying vulnerable states, districts and Panchayat.

  • This initiative will work for climate protection across India as well as using this assessment to report on India’s Nationally Determine Contribution under the Paris Agreement. This assessment will help policy makers to initiate appropriate action related to climate change.

2. IIT KGP’s COVIRAP to detect COVID-19 in 45 minutes:

Context:

On the 21st of April, IIT Kharagpur launched its Innovative Diagnostic Testing Tool ‘COVIRAP’. This stepwise isothermal nucleic acid based testing technology will allow for quick screening of other pathogens as well besides the SARS-CoV-2.

Coronavirus | IIT Kharagpur launches COVIRAP diagnostic technology - The  Hindu

About the Tool:

  • Developed during the Covid pandemic, this device can detect many pathogens including the novel coronavirus in just 45 minutes. Recently, the Institute conducted a global launch of the technology.

  • The Rapid Diagnostic Group of Companies, India and Bramerton Holdings LLC of the US have licensed the equipment for commercialisation.

  • This is a portable device that can be connected to a free smartphone app. A sample taken from the patient nose or saliva is purified in the first stage by placing it on heat. After this, the sample is diluted in the solution and tested in the portable device by mixing with regents that are supplied in a pre mix form and kept in the apparatus at a balanced temperature for about 30 minutes.

  • There is no need to extract RNA separately in this process. The advantage of this tool is that samples can be taken and clinical testing done by unskilled personnel outside control laboratories. The COVIRAP is a major healthcare product that can help in the control of the current pandemic as well as helping further screening of other pathogens.

  • IIT Kharagpur has applied for patent for this isothermal nucleic acid based diagnostic screening technology in several countries including India and USA.

3. Hand-held device for early detection of dengue:

Context:

A team of researchers from IIT Delhi has developed a hand-held device for rapid detection of the dengue virus.

About the device:

  • Every year 5 to 10 crore people across the world people suffer from dengue infection which often proofs fatal. In India too, the transmission of dengue has been a matter of concern for long. Like with any other infection if the dengue virus is detected at the right time, it is possible to treat the disease. The detection of dengue is done through traditional biochemical or RT-PCT tests which need a lot of hardwork and time as well moreover, this test cannot be done everywhere.

  • A research team from the Physics department from the IIT Delhi has now developed a sensitive digital device. This small hand-held device can be used to detect dengue virus at an early stage on small amount of time. This device can report the clinical investigation of dengue infection within 1 hour.

  • Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) biosensor based on silver nanorods array developed using special Glancing Angle Deposition (GLAD) technology has been used in this rapid diagnosis device. The device was tested at ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR), New Delhi.

  • Two microlitres drops of thin blood serum were applied to the biosensor surface on which 786 nm laser beam was flashed. The collected data deposited on the Raman Spectra was transferred to the principal component analyzer (PCA) software which was able to immediately identified clearly positive negative and healthy samples.

  • The device can also detect the HIV1 virus. The best past is that due to it being a small and inexpensive device it can be easily transported to remote areas where screening of disease causing pathogen can be done easily.

 4. Science Express:COVID-19 vaccination: India needs 8 yrs 9 months to achieve herd immunity

1. Vaccines for all above 18 from May 1:

  • To deal with the second wave of corona infection, the Indian government has now expanded the vaccination age range. From the 1st of May, every citizen above the age of 18 years and above can get the corona vaccine. Earlier, only people above 45 years were administered the vaccine. But the second wave of coronavirus is also affecting the youth.

  • Peoples above 18 years of age can register themselves on Co-Win App, Aarogya Setu App or the Co-Win website. Apart from this, the option of registration at the nearest vaccination centre has also been kept open.

  • In the first wave of vaccination that started in January this year, frontline warriors and the elderly were given the priority. So far, more than 13.5 crore people have been given the corona vaccine in the largExperts from India & Japan discussed collaborations for innovations on Hydrogen based technologiesest vaccination campaign. The second dose has been administered to about 2 crore people.

2. Experts from India & Japan discussed collaborations for innovations on Hydrogen based technologies:

  • As part of the ongoing global efforts to reduce carbon emissions, a webinar of experts from India and Japan were organised recently. In the webinar, discussions were held to explore the possibilities of partnership in areas such as hydrogen based technology and related innovation, trends, problems and solutions.

  • The webinar was organised jointly by the Indian Embassy in Japan, the Department of Science and Technology of the GoI, the Institute for Global Environment Strategies (IGES) and the Energy Research Institute of India.

  • Hydrogen is a highly efficient fuel and the emission of harmful gases from it is almost zero, According to the experts, green hydrogen can be a good choice for use in industrial processing, Video: Nasa's Mars helicopter makes history with successful flight on Red  Planet - News | Khaleej Timesproduction of chemical, Iron and steel, food, semiconductor and refining plants.

  3. NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity successfully makes historic first flight:

  • NASA has created a history by flying a robot helicopter on Mars. This is the first time a helicopter has flown outside of Earth on another planet. NASA sent this helicopter to Mars with its Perseverance Rover launched on February 18th.

  • Its job is to inspect and provide information on areas where the Rover cannot reach. The rotorcraft named Ingenuity flew to a height of 10 feet. The first 30 seconds flight have paved a new path of discovery on other planet.

  • This 1.8 kg robot rotorcraft flies using its 4 carbon fibre blades. The blades can rotate at a rate of 2400 rounds per minute. This speed is about 8 times the speed of the blades of helicopters on Earth.