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Science Monitor: 4 July 2020

Science Monitor: 4 July 2020

Topics covered in this Gist

  • COVAXIN- India’s first indigenous vaccine prototype
  • Annual Tuberculosis Report 2020 released
  • Innovative research by IIT Guwahati on diabetic retinopathy
  • Accelerate Vigyan scheme
  • Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 (DDH2020)
  • Asteroid Day: 30 June

1. COVAXINcovaxin.jpg

Context: COVAXIN is India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine. The human clinic trial of this vaccine has been approved recently.

  • The vaccine was developed and manufactured at Bharat Biotech's BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) high containment facility.
  • The vaccine was developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV).
  • The vaccine received CDSCO approval for Phase I & II Human Clinical Trials and the trials will commence across India.

Four phases of clinical trials

  • Phase I: It studies test new drugs for the first time in a small group of people to evaluate a safe dosage range and identify side effects.
  • Phase II: It studies test treatments that have been found to be safe in phase I but now need a larger group of human subjects to monitor for any adverse effects.
  • Phase III:  Its studies are conducted on larger populations and in different regions and countries and are often the step right before a new treatment is approved.
  • Phase IV: Its studies take place after country approval and there is a need for further testing in a wide population over a longer timeframe.

Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)

  • Under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, CDSCO is the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) of India.
  • The Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and rules 1945 have entrusted various responsibilities to central & state regulators for the regulation of drugs & cosmetics.
  • CDSCO along with state regulators is jointly responsible for grant of licenses of certain specialized categories of critical Drugs such as blood and blood products, I. V. Fluids, Vaccine and Sera


  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world.


  • The National Institute of Virology, Pune is an Indian virology research institute, and one of the translational science cells part of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • It was previously known as the 'Virus Research Center' and was founded in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation. It has been designated as a WHO H5 reference laboratory for SE Asia region.


  • Limited or Bharat Biotech International Limited is a Pharmaceuticals company headquartered in Hyderabad, India engaged in manufacturing vaccines, bio-therapeutics and health care products.

2. Annual Tuberculosis Report 2020tuberculosis.png

Context: The annual Tb report has been released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

About Tuberculosis

  • It is a contagious infection that usually attacks your lungs. It can spread to other parts of your body, like your brain and spine. A type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes it.
  • It spreads from person to person through cough, sneeze or saliva of the infected person.


  • Cough with sputum
  • Cough With Blood
  • Chest Pain
  • Weakness and Weight loss
  • Fever and Night sweats


  • Among the states with more than the 50 lakh population, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh were the top 3 states for Tuberculosis control.
    • Among states with less than 50 lakh populations, Tripura and Nagaland were best performing states.
    • Among the union territories, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu performed the best.
  • Tobacco consumption is rising among Indian TB patients as 8% of TB cases can be attributed to tobacco usage.
  • Indian accounts for 9 percent of all HIV associated TB deaths in the world, the second-highest number globally.
  • 20 percent of all Tb cases in India also suffer from diabetes. In 2019, among the notified TB patients under the RNTCP, 64 percent were screened for diabetes.
  • Nearly 5 lakh 40 thousand TB cases are still missing across India.
  • Only 79144 deaths due to TB were reported in 2019, which is much lower than the WHO estimate of 4.4 lakh.

Initiatives to Eradicate Tuberculosis

Nikshay Ecosystem: It manages information by patients and monitors program activity and performance throughout the country.

Nikshay Poshan Yojana is aimed at providing financial support to TB patients for their nutrition.

TB Harega DEsh Jitega campaign: It was launched to showcase the highest level of commitment for the elimination of TB.

The Saksham Project of the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) provides psycho-social counseling to drug-resistant TB patients.

3. Innovative research on Diabetic Retinopathy