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Science Monitor: 11 July 2020

Science Monitor: 11 July 2020

Topics covered in this Gist are

1. WHO on 'coronavirus airborne' new guidelines

2. IIT Madras developed nano-coated filter

3. DRDO builds COVID hospital.

4. Three upcoming missions to Mars.

5. World Zoonoses day

1. WHO on ‘Coronavirus airborne' new guidelinescorona-airborneJPG.jpg

Context: A group of 239 Scientists belonging to 32 countries urged WHO to revise its guidelines regarding the transmission of the Covid-19 diseases.

Important Points:

  • Scientists claim that there are enough evidence to prove airborne transmission of the Covid-19 in the closed environment.
  • According to the WHO, COVID-19 spread primarily through small droplets, expelled from a patient’s nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing and these droplets do not travel far in the air, as they are relatively heavy. So they either sink to the ground or land on the nearby surfaces therefore discharged droplets and infected surfaces are the main culprits behind the spread of this infection.
  • But now scientists claim COVID-19 has a high potential of being air-borne and therefore WHO should also address this mode of disease transmission. According to this latest study:
    • The disease spread through air particularly in an indoor or enclosed environment that has poor ventilation.
    • Many microns droplets as large as 5 microns were able to travel as far as 10 meters.
    • Aerosols or particles less than 5 microns can also be the main culprits as they can float in the air for a longer period of time and can be carried away further through the increased airflow.
    • Scientist also highlighted that several super spreading events can also be attributed to airborne transmission of the disease.
  • In response to these claims, the WHO has stated that it is open to all kinds of evidence and will come with review based on the conclusive evidence.

2. IIT Madras developed nano-coated filter

Context: Indian Institute of Technology Madras Researchers have developed a nano-coated filter media for healthcare workers treating COVID-19 Patients. This filter has applications not only in healthcare but also has defense applications and other places where air filtration of submicron particles is required.

About the Device:IIT-Madras-Air-Purifier.jpg

  • This nano-coated filter media has been fabricated by a nylon-based polymer coating on cellulose paper and was developed through the electrospinning process.
  • The coating properties are optimized for efficient removal of sub-micron sized dust particles in the air.
  • The nano-coated filter media is in the process of being field-tested in practical applications. Upon validation through field trials, it will be recommended for bulk manufacturing through industry collaborations.
  • This pioneering work is funded by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) for defence applications and due to its high potential for the need of the hour, it is repositioned in health care applications.
  • The Practical Applications of this nano-coated filter media include:
    • Face masks with an enhanced particle filtration efficiency
    • Respirator devices
    • Air purification system in operation theatres of hospitals
    • Cabin air filters for the comfort and health of air passengers
    • Air filters for the armoured vehicle engines
    • Computer hard disk drive filters, and
    • Pneumatic equipment.

3. DRDO builds COVID hospital

Context: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has prepared country’s first Covid-19

About the Hospital

  • This is temporary hospital equipped with many states of the art facilities that have been developed indigenously to tackle the infection.
  • Indigenously developed 70 products by DRDO like sanitizers, masks, Vehicle sanitizing tunnels will be used here.
  • It has facilities to diagnose Covid-19 and adhere to all the guidelines of W.H.O. regarding the handling of the diseases.
  • The hospital is dedicated to Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel in the cantonment area of Delhi and is another step towards Self Reliant India.
  • It has 1000 beds and 250 I.C.U units and is created within a record 12 days. 400 medical staff from the armed forces has been deployed here.

4. Upcoming Mars Mission

  • Perseverance Rover mission: The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. It is planned to launch on 30 July.
    • The mission addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars.
    • Perseverance takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself.
  • UAE's Mars mission 'Al-Amal': It is UAE’s first-ever interplanetary effort. The probe's name is "Al-Amal" — Arabic for "hope".
    • The mission is scheduled to launch in the middle of the month.
    • The hope orbiter will reach Mars in early 2021 and then will use three science instruments to study the red planet's atmosphere, weather and climate from above.
  • Tianwen-1: It is China’s first homegrown Mars mission.
    • Tianwen-1 means Heavenly Questions. It is the nation's second attempt to send a mission to the Red Planet.
    • It will send the first orbiter/lander/rover combo to Mars.

5. World Zoonoses Day

  • World Zoonoses Day is held every year on July 6. The day commemorates July 6, 1885, when Louis Pasteur successfully administered the first vaccine against Rabies virus, a zoonotic disease.
  • A zoonosis is any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans.
  • Animals thus play an essential role in maintaining zoonotic infections in nature.
  • Zoonoses may be bacterial, viral, or parasitic, or may involve unconventional agents.
  • As well as being a public health problem, many of the major zoonotic diseases prevent the efficient production of food of animal origin and create obstacles to international trade in animal products.


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