Dengue

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  • Dengue is a vector-borne disease transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
  • The mosquito becomes infected when it feeds on the blood of a person infected with the virus. After about one week, the mosquito can then transmit the virus while biting a healthy person.
  • There are 4 serotypes of the virus that causes dengue. These are known as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, DEN-4.
  • Infection with one strain will provide life-time protection only against that particular strain. However, it is still possible to become infected by other strains and develop into severe dengue.
  • Dengue cannot be spread directly from person to person. However, a person infected and suffering from dengue fever can infect other mosquitoes.
  • Most cases occur in tropical areas of the world, including the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Southern China, Taiwan, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Mexico, Africa, Central and South America.
  • Dengue causes flu-like symptoms and lasts for 2-7 days. Dengue fever usually occurs after an incubation period of 4-10 days after the bite of the infected mosquito.
  • High Fever (40°C/ 104°F) is usually accompanied by at least two of the following symptoms: headaches, pain behind eyes, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, joint, bone or muscle pains and rash.
  • There is no vaccine or specific medication for dengue fever. Patients should seek medical advice, rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • As a precautionary approach, patients can adopt measures to reduce transmission by sleeping under a treated net especially during the period of illness with fever.
  • Aedes aegypti is a daytime feeder. The peak biting periods are early in the morning and in the evening before dusk.
  • Aedes aegypti has evolved into an intermittent biter and prefers to bite more than one person during the feeding period. This mechanism has made Aedes aegypti a very highly efficient epidemic vector mosquit

Neutrinos

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  • Neutrinos are electrically neutral, elementary weakly interacting subatomic particles with half-integer spin.
  • They belong to the lepton family.
  • Neutrinos were first proposed by Swiss scientist Wolfgang Pauli, are the second most widely occurring particle in the universe, only second to photons, the particle which makes up light.
  • Neutrinos are similar to the more familiar electron, with one crucial difference: neutrinos do not carry electric charge.
  • Because neutrinos are electrically neutral, they are not affected by the electromagnetic forces which act on electrons.
  • They are light. They have little mass or are nearly massless. They are no-charge particles that only interact with weak nuclear force.
  • In 2015, the Nobel prize in physics was awarded to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. Mcdonald for discovering neutrino oscillations demonstrating that neutrinos have mass.
  • Neutrinos are the least harmful of all elementary particles, as they almost never react with solid bodies.
  • The mass of a neutron is 1.67×10-27 kg while the mass of a neutrino is of the order of 1×10-37kg. Hence, a neutrino is about 17 billion times lighter than a neutron. The two are incomparable.

Nuclear triad capability of India

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  • India is sixth Nation in the world (after US, Russia, France, China and UK) to possess Nuclear Triad.
  • It means that India is capable of delivering nuclear weapons by aircraft, land based ballistic missiles and submarine launched missiles.
  • India Army has strong arsenal of land based ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile).
  • It includes Agni series, Prithvi series, Prahar Missile, Shaurya Missile, supersonic Brahmos and subsonic Nirbhay missiles. Indian Airforce (IAF) operates Jaguars aircrafts which are designed for deep penetration strike and can carry nuclear bomb.
  • Besides, IAF also has SU 30 MKI and Rafale aircrafts which can also be used to deliver nuclear weapons.
  • Indian Navy now has its own nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Shakti microprocessor

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  • It is India’s first indigenous microprocessor.
  • Develop by IIT Madras.
  • It has been developed under project partly funded by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), as part of two-decade-old efforts to develop indigenous microprocessors.
  • Significance:
    • It will reduce dependency on imported microchips especially in communication and defence sectors and thus eliminate risk of cyber-attacks.
    • It can be used in mobile computing, wireless and networking systems.
    • It may also provide power to mobile phones, smart meters and surveillance cameras.

 

Basics:

Microprocessors are brain of all computing and electronic devices and are used to operate larger high-speed systems and supercomputers.

 

Diphtheria

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  • Diphtheria is a severe communicable and bacterial infectious disease that causes inflammation of the mucous membranes by forming a false membrane in the throat which creates a problem while swallowing food and during breathing.
  • It can also damage nerves by a bacterial toxin present in the blood. Currently, this syndrome is rare in developed countries. This disease spreads easily from one person to another but can be prevented by the use of vaccines.
  • The signs of diphtheria appear in a short period of time within three to five days after the infection has occurred. Some people do not feel any symptoms, while others do feel slight symptoms of a common cold. The most common and visible symptom of diphtheria is gray, thick covering on the tonsils and throat.
  • The first step in treating diphtheria is an antitoxin injection. This is used to minimize the effect of toxin produced by the bacteria. The doctors also prescribe antibiotics, such as erythromycin and penicillin to clear the infection. During the treatment, patients are instructed to stay in the hospital in order to avoid the spread of infection to others.
  • Diphtheria can be prevented to an extent by the use of vaccines and antibiotics. The vaccines for diphtheria is called DTaP. It’s normally given in a single shot with vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis

 

Compressed Bio-gas

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  • Bio-gas is produced naturally through process of anaerobic decomposition from waste and bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, municipal solid waste, sugarcane press mud, sewage treatment plant (STP) waste, etc.  
  • It is called CBG after biogas is purified and compressed, which has pure methane content of over 95%.
  • CBG is exactly similar to commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential.
  • It has calorific value (~52,000 KJ/kg) and other properties are similar to CNG.
  • CBG can be used as alternative, renewable automotive fuel.  
  • It has potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years, given the abundance of biomass in the country.
  • Advantages of converting agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste into CBG on commercial scale are
    • It results in responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution.
    • It generates additional revenue source for farmers.
    • It boosts entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment.
    • It supports national commitments in achieving climate change goals
    • It also helps in reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil.
    • It also serves as buffer against crude oil and gas price fluctuations.

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Hepatitis E

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  • Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by infection with a virus known as hepatitis E virus (HEV).
  • Every year, there are an estimated 20 million HEV infections worldwide, leading to an estimated 3.3 million symptomatic cases of hepatitis E.
  • WHO estimates that hepatitis E caused approximately 44 000 deaths in 2015 (accounting for 3.3% of the mortality due to viral hepatitis).
  • The virus is transmitted via the faecal-oral route, principally via contaminated water.
  • Hepatitis E is found worldwide, but the prevalence is highest in East and South Asia.
  • Two different patterns are observed, where hepatitis E is found in: resource-poor areas with frequent water contamination; and areas with safe drinking water supplies.
  • A vaccine to prevent hepatitis E virus infection has been developed and is licensed in China, but is not yet available elsewhere.
  • Prevention is the most effective approach against the disease. At the population level, transmission of HEV and hepatitis E disease can be reduced by:
    1. maintaining quality standards for public water supplies;
    2. establishing proper disposal systems for human feces.
  • On an individual level, infection risk can be reduced by:
    1. maintaining hygienic practices such as hand-washing with safe water, particularly before handling food;
    2. avoiding consumption of water and/or ice of unknown purity; and
    3. adhering to WHO safe food practices.

Rabies

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  • Rabies is viral disease that causes inflammation of brain (acute encephalitis) in warm-blooded animals.
  • It is zoonotic disease i.e. transmitted from one species to another, commonly by bite or scratch from infected animal such as dogs to humans.
  • The rabies virus infects central nervous system (CNS) and ultimately causes disease in brain and death.
  • Domestic dogs are most common reservoir of rabies virus.
  • Dog-mediated rabies accounts for more than 95% of human deaths.
  • Its symptoms include neurological problems and a fear of light and water.
  • Vaccination of pets helps to prevent and control rabies.

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Stem cell

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Stem cell is undifferentiated cell of multicellular organism which is capable of giving rise to indefinitely more cells (through mitosis) of same type and from which certain other kinds of cell may be formed by the cellular differentiation. There are two types of stem cells widely used

  • Embryonic stem cells: 
    • They come from human embryos that are three to five days old.
    • They are harvested during process called in-vitro fertilization.
    • They are known as pluripotent stem cells.
    • These cells can give rise to virtually any other type of cell in the body.
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs): 
    • They can differentiate into all types of specialized cells in body.
    • They can potentially produce new cells for any organ or tissue.

Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) missile

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  • Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) missile has been developed by indigenously by DRDO.
  • It is two-stage missile and both stages are powered by solid propellants.
  • It is intended to replace the existing Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) in PAD/Advanced Air Defence (AAD) combination.
  • It is designed for engaging targets in exo-atmosphere region at altitude 50 km of earth’s atmosphere.
  • It is guided by high-accuracy Inertial Navigation System (INS) supported by Redundant Micro Navigation System for estimating point of interception.
  • The missile is also fitted with Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker, developed by DRDO, to distinguish between incoming warheads and decoys.