Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Remdesivir cleared for ‘emergency use’
- A2a & A3i type of coronavirus
- Tropical Cyclones
- Global Economic Prospects
- Electronic Incentive schemes
- Group of 7
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Remdesivir cleared for ‘emergency use’
Context : Union Health Ministry has cleared Antiviral drug Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19 patients “under emergency use,”. This decision is based on available evidence.
- Remdesivir is an antiviral class of medications, a synthetic molecule that targets synthesis of RNA. The molecule looks same like DNA nucleoside. It is believed that the virus that causes COVID-19 is an RNA virus.
- It was manufactured in 2014 to treat for Ebola, by US-based biotechnology firm Gilead Sciences. It has since been used to treat for MERS and SERS, both caused by members of the coronavirus family. This was, however, not with much success.
How Remdesivir kills coronavirus?
- Remdesivir is designed to obstruct the stage of replication, when the virus creates copies of itself, followed endlessly by the copies creating copies of themselves.
How does replication take place?
- Once the virus enters the human cell, it releases its genetic material, which is then copied using the body’s existing mechanism. At every stage of infection, various human proteins, virus proteins, and their interactions come into play.
- At the replication stage, the key viral protein at play is an enzyme called RdRp (an enzyme is a kind of protein that speeds up chemical reactions within a cell).
- It is RdRp that makes the copies, by processing components of the RNA of the virus.
- In scientific literature, such an enzyme is called a polymerase (the p is RdRp stands for polymerase) or a replicase. In any case, this is the enzyme that is targeted by remdesivir.
And how exactly does remdesivir target this enzyme?
- In order to replicate, the copy machine processes raw material from the virus RNA, broken down by another enzyme with that specific function. When a patient is given remdesivir — the inhibitor — it mimics some of this material, and gets incorporated in the replication site. With remdesivir replacing the material it needs, the virus fails to replicate further.
- “These coronavirus polymerases are sloppy and they get fooled, so the inhibitor gets incorporated many times and the virus can no longer replicate,”
2 . A2a and A3i type of coronavirus
Context : Scientists at multiple CSIR laboratories have identified a type of coronavirus that may be the second most prevalent in India, and may comprise 3.5% of the genomes globally.
Details of the Study
- According to CSIR the most dominant coronavirus clade in India is the A2a according to the genomes analysed 62% were of A2a
- The Second type found was the newly identified type, that the scientists have christened A3i, it comprised 41% of those analysed.
- A2a type has emerged dominant the world over because of a mutation in its genes that allows that coronavirus’ spike to more efficiently infiltrate the lungs. So far, there is no evidence that A3i is more virulent — that is, it’s linked to more deaths.
Importance of Classification
- The coronavirus type, or clade, is a cluster of SARS-CoV-2 viruses that share evolutionary similarities.
- Such classifications are useful in establishing whether certain strains are particularly virulent, spread more easily, how they are likely to evolve over time and whether some could be less vulnerable to certain kinds of vaccines.
- There are 11 SARS-CoV-2 types identified globally, with at least six of them identified in India.
- Type O was the first ancestral family of the virus identified from China
3 . Tropical Cyclones
About Tropical Cyclones
- Tropical cyclones are violent storms that originate over oceans in tropical areas and move over to the coastal areas bringing about large scale destruction due to violent winds (squalls), very heavy rainfall (torrential rainfall) and storm surge.
- They are irregular wind movements involving closed circulation of air around a low pressure center. This closed air circulation (whirling motion) is a result of rapid upward movement of hot air which is subjected to Coriolis force. The low pressure at the center is responsible for the wind speeds.
Condition favourable for tropical cyclone formation
- Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C
- Presence of the Coriolis force enough to create a cyclonic vortex
- Small variations in the vertical wind speed
- A pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation
- Upper divergence above the sea level system
4 . Global Economic Prospects (GEP) June 2020 report
Context : According to World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects (GEP) June 2020 report the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have “severe” short and long-term effects on economic growth.
About the Report
- The Global Economic Prospects (GEP) is the World Bank’s semi-annual flagship publication on the state of the world economy.
Details of the Report
- EMDEs (Emerging Market and Developing Economies) are especially vulnerable.They face health crises, restrictions and external shocks like falling trade, tourism and commodity prices, as well as capital outflows.These countries are expected to have a 3-8% output loss in the short term, based on studies of previous pandemics, as per the Bank’s analysis.
- EMDEs are also expected to witness the spillover effects of the U.S., the Euro Area and China, which represent almost half of global output, being unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels of output before the end of 2021. If these three big economies simultaneously lose 1% in output, EMDEs (excluding China) are expected to lose 1.3% in their output with the lag of a year
- In the longer term, there is a risk not just of a drop in the level of output but a lowering of potential output growth.
- Current estimates show that 60 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2020. These estimates are likely to rise further, with the reopening of advanced economies the primary determinant.
Policy choices made that will help limit the damage and build a stronger recovery
- Greater debt transparency to invite new investment
- Faster advances in digital connectivity
- Major expansion of cash safety nets for the poor
5. Electronics incentive schemes launched
Context : Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched three incentive schemes with a total outlay of about ₹48,000 crore to boost large-scale manufacturing of electronics in the country.
About the Schemes
- Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing,
- Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS)
- Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme.
Production Linked Incentive (PLI)
- Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing offers a production linked incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing and specified electronic components, including Assembly, Testing, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) units. The Scheme would tremendously boost the electronics manufacturing landscape and establish India at the global level in electronics sector.
- The scheme shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under target segments, to eligible companies, for a period of five (5) years subsequent to the base year as defined.
Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS)
- The Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) will help offset the disability for domestic manufacturing of electronic components and semiconductors in order to strengthen the electronics manufacturing ecosystem in the country.
- The scheme will provide financial incentive of 25% on capital expenditure for the identified list of electronic goods that comprise downstream value chain of electronic products, i.e., electronic components, semiconductor/ display fabrication units, ATMP units, specialized sub-assemblies and capital goods for manufacture of aforesaid goods, all of which involve high value added manufacturing.
- The Scheme will be applicable to investments in new units and expansion of capacity/ modernization and diversification of existing units. Application under the Scheme can be made by any entity registered in India.
- The capital expenditure will be total of expenditure in plant, machinery, equipment, associated utilities and technology, including for Research & Development (R&D).
Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme.
- To offset the disabilities faced by industries for quality infrastructure and to develop a robust electronics manufacturing ecosystem in the country to make India an Electronics Manufacturing Hub; Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme has been notified with the objective to address the disabilities, by providing support for creation of world class infrastructure along with common facilities and amenities, including Ready Built Factory (RBF) sheds / Plug and Play facilities for attracting major global electronics manufacturers along with their supply chain to set up units in the country.
- This Scheme will fortify the linkage between domestic and international market by strengthening supply chain responsiveness, consolidation of suppliers, decreased time-to-market, lower logistics costs, etc.
- The EMC 2.0 Scheme provides financial assistance for setting up of both EMC projects and Common Facility Centres (CFCs) across the country. The Scheme is open for receipt of applications for a period of 3 years from the date of notification. Further period of 5 years is available for disbursement of funds to the approved projects.
- With the three new schemes, the government aims to manufacture electronics worth ₹8 lakh crore.
- India is the second-largest mobile manufacturer of the world and wants to garner more from the sector.
- It will generate employment for about 10 lakh people in the next five year.
- It is a step towards self-reliant India.
6 . Group of 7 (G 7)
Context : U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the next G-7 summit to be hosted by the U.S.
About G 7
- The G-7 or ‘Group of Seven’ are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- It is an intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 1975 by the top economies of the time as an informal forum to discuss pressing world issues. Canada joined the group in 1976, and the European Union began attending in 1977.
- Initially formed as an effort by the US and its allies to discuss economic issues, the G-7 forum has deliberated about several challenges over the decades, such as the oil crashes of the 1970s, the economic changeover of ex-Soviet bloc nations, and many pressing issues such as financial crises, terrorism, arms control, and drug trafficking.
- The G-7 was known as the ‘G-8’ for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997. The Group returned to being called G-7 after Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
7 . Facts for Prelims
Delhi Corona app
- Delhi corona mobile app will track and display the availability of beds and ventilators for COVID-19 patients at both private and government hospitals in the city.
- The app would also be utilised for the redressal of complaints related to refusal by hospitals to admit patients
- If one is denied a bed in a hospital, after accessing information on the availability of beds in that hospital, they can call on 1031 then and there. The complaint will be notified to the Special Secretary, Health, and it will be resolved and the bed will be made available.
- Depsang Plains are located at the Line of Actual Control that separates the Indian and Chinese controlled regions.
- The Chinese Army occupied most of the plains in 1962. India controls the western portion of the plains as part of Ladakh, whereas the eastern portion is part of the Aksai Chin region, which is controlled by China and claimed by India
- The Changthangi or Pashmina goat, is a special breed of goat indigenous to the high altitude regions of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. They are raised for ultra-fine cashmere wool, known as Pashmina once woven.
- The Textiles are handspun and were first woven in Kashmir. The Changthangi goat grows a thick, warn undercoat which is the source of Kashmir Pashmina wool – the world’s finest cashmere measuring between 12-15 microns in fiber thickness.
- These goats are generally domesticated and reared by nomadic communities called the Changpa in the Changthang region of Greater Ladakh. The Changthangi goats have revitalized the economy of Changthang, Leh and Ladakh region.