Daily Current Affairs : 14th and 15th June

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Nepal Map Amendment
  2. Indian Ocean Commission
  3. ICMR Study
  4. India – China LAC
  5. Corona Vaccine
  6. Stepping Stone Mammal
  7. Health Silk Road
  8. How India Test for COVID
  9. Facts for Prelims

1 . Nepal Map Amendment

Context : The Lower House of Nepal’s Parliament on Saturday unanimously passed the historic Second Constitution Amendment Bill guaranteeing legal status for the updated political map of Nepal which includes India’s territories in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district.


  • The bone of contention is the Kalapani-Limpiadhura-Lipulekh trijunction between Nepal-India and China (Tibet).
  • Located on the banks of the river Kali at an altitude of 3600m, the Kalapani territory lies at the eastern border of Uttarakhand in India and Nepal’s Sudurpashchim Pradesh in the West.
  • India claims the area is part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, while Nepal believes it to be part of its Dharchula district. Matters came to a boil earlier this year, when India opened an 80-km road linking Uttarakhand with Lipulekh, across the disputed piece of land.

Historical Background of the issue

  • The issue in itself goes back to the early 19th century, when the British ruled India and Nepal was a conglomeration of small kingdoms under the reign of King Prithvi Narayan Shah.
  • The single image most strongly associated with the history of modern Nepal is surely that of Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha, girded for battle, a look of determination in his eyes and his right hand pointed skywards.
  • Shah is believed to be the most ambitious ruler among the Gorkhas, under whose rule in the late 18th century, Nepal was unified, its domains stretching out as far as Sikkim in the East and the Garhwal and Kumaon region of Uttarakhand in the West.

East India Company

  • By the second decade of the 18th century, the English East India Company (EIC) too had acquired a formidable presence in the subcontinent, and had strengthened its main bases in Madras, Calcutta and Bombay.
  • By the early 19th century, as the EIC began expanding its territories northwards in Awadh, it came into close proximity with Palpa, an independent town within the Nepalese heartlands. Soon after, a border dispute arose between the two powers.
  • The Nepalese were also proving to be a hindrance in allowing the British to realise their trade ambitions with Tibet.
  • On November 1, 1814, the British declared war on Nepal. The war went on for the next two years, involving a series of campaigns.
  • In 1815, the British general, Sir David Ochterlony, managed to evict the Nepalese from Garhwal and Kumaon. A year later, the war came to an end with the signing of the Sugauli treaty.

Sugauli Treaty

  • The treaty delimited the boundaries of Nepal, as it stands today.
  • Treaty “required Nepal to give up all territories west and east of its present-day borders, to surrender the entire Tarai and to accept a permanent British representative (or ‘resident’) in Kathmandu”.
  • The fifth article of the treaty stated: “The Rajah of Nepal renounces for himself, his heirs, and successors all claim to or connection with the countries lying to the west of the river Kali and engages never to have any concern with those countries or inhabitants thereof.
  • Consequently, the river Kali marked the western border of Nepal.
  • However, there is no clear consensus on what is the precise location of the river Kali, giving rise to the dispute over whether the land consisting Kalapani-Limpiadhura-Lipulekh is part of present day India or Nepal.
  • While some scholars suggest that the lack of consensus is due to the shift in the course of the river over time, there are others who say that the British cartographers in the consequent years kept shifting the line demarcating the river eastwards for strategic reasons.

Nepal’s Argument

  • According to Nepal “since no map attached with the Sugauli Treaty counter signed by both the agreeing parties has come to light, the only way to ascertain the correct location of Kali is to examine the existing maps of the period.”
  • According to them, up until the year 1857, all maps produced by British cartographers suggest that the origins of the Kali river lies in the Limpiadhura pass.
  • “But in the period between 1857 and 1881, a subtle but deliberate attempt to misname the river Kali got under way
  • Nepal Geographers maintain that the cartographic move on the part of the British was ‘unauthorised’, ‘unilateral’, and ‘without any agreement with the government of Nepal’.
  • Hence Nepal’s case is that the river originates from a stream at Limpiyadhura, north-west of Lipu Lekh. Thus Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura, and Lipu Lekh, fall to the east of the river and are part of Nepal’s Far West province in the district of Dharchula.
  • The dispute over the location of the river, and consequently that of the territoriality of Kalapani, was first raised by the Nepalese government only in 1998.
  • Even when Indian military units occupied the Kalapani area during the Sino-Indian war of 1962, Nepal did not raise an objection. Nepal virtually ignored the Kalapani issue from 1961 to 1997
  • Accordingly, the Nepalese government contended that the western border of the country be shifted 5.5 km westward to coincide with the borders as decided in the treaty of Sugauli.

India’s Arguments

  • Officials in India claim that revenue records dating back to the 1830s show that Kalapani area has traditionally been administered as part of the Pithoragarh district.
  • British India conducted the first regular surveys of the upper reaches of the river Kali, in the 1870s.” Accordingly, a vintage map of the 1879 shows Kalapani as part of India.
  • The Indian government has held that the 1879 map is what should be considered in deciding the borders between the two countries rather than the maps before the period which are held up by Nepal.
  • These differences amount in reality to differences in the maps that each country possesses, which is further exacerbated by the shifting course of the Mahakali river in the area that was earlier accepted as the boundary
  • In the course of the last several decades, the border issue has come up on several occasions, and despite repeated negotiations, the two countries have failed to reach a consensus.
  • Hence New Delhi’s position is that the Kali originates in springs well below the pass, and that while the Treaty does not demarcate the area north of these springs, administrative and revenue records going back to the nineteenth century show that Kalapani was on the Indian side, and counted as part of Pithoragarh district, now in Uttarakhand.

Impact of passing the Amendment bill in Nepal Parliament

  • Indo-Nepal border negotiations will be all the more complicated as secretaries have no right to negotiate on the provisions of our Constitution
  • The territorial dispute of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh cannot be resolved at talks led by Foreign Secretaries or senior envoys as the disputed territories are now part of Nepal’s constitution and public imagination.

2 . Indian Ocean Commission

Context : After joining the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) as Observer in March, India is looking to post Navy Liaison Officers at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar and also at the European maritime surveillance initiative in the Strait of Hormuz for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

About the News

  • India was accepted as an observer in the Indian Ocean Commission getting a seat at the table of the organization that handles maritime governance in the western Indian Ocean.

About Indian Ocean Commission

  • The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is an intergovernmental organization which brings together five member states : the Union of the Comoros, France in respect of La Réunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles. 
  • Created by the Declaration of Port Louis in 1982, the IOC was institutionalized in Seychelles in 1984 by the General Agreement for Cooperation, better known as the “Victoria Agreement “.
  • These five islands share geographic proximity, historical and demographic relationships, natural resources and common development issues.
  • Secretariat is at Mauritius
  • Observer states: China, Malta, European Union and International Organisation of La  Francophonie (OIF), India, Japan and United Nations

Mission of Indian Ocean Commission

  • The mission of the Indian Ocean Commission is to strengthen the links between the islands of Indian ocean and to support its member states in the path towards sustainable development. 
  • The Indian Ocean Commission thus intervenes in areas where regional action has high added value.
  • As an intergovernmental cooperation organization, the Indian Ocean Commission acts in favor of peace and stability, maritime security, food security, preservation of the environment, fisheries, adaptation to climate change, the interests of island developing States, public health or even cultural expression.
  • Its action is thus in line with the international frameworks to which its member states are signatories, such as the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030 or the Global Climate Agreement , among others. To do this, the Indian Ocean Commission benefits from the support of a dozen international and regional partners.

Areas of intervention

  • Public health, freedom of movement, tourism development, education, civil society, advancement of women and child protection
  • Maritime security, economy, space and regional infrastructure
  • Political stability, terrorism and transnational crime and sustainable energy
  • Sustainable environment and climate change
  • Food security and fisheries, universities, research and culture

Significance for India

  • India’s admission into the commission, an important regional organisation, is of strategic importance for the country as it expands its outreach to the Western Indian Ocean.
  • Entry into the commission helps India to engage with the island nations of the region through a collective platform to address common challenges. It also in the future would allow India to engage proactively with other nations of East Africa. 
  • The admission into the commission bolsters the operationalisation of India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific. The concept as proposed by India extends from the east coast of Africa to the west coast of the Americas.
  • Admission of India as an observer to IOC is of great strategic significance since it will allow collective engagement with the island nations of western Indian Ocean (WIO) and further boost ties with an already strong friend, France.
  • The western Indian Ocean is a strategic hub for India with its links to the Persian Gulf which supplies its energy needs and the waters are also important for our trade with Africa, Europe and West Asia. The Mozambique Channel is also located here and is regaining its significance as an important route for the movement of commercial ships. As India enhances its engagements with its African partners and Africa becomes important for the Indo-Pacific, the Channel is expected to be a key pathway for two-way trade and larger maritime security.
  • India’s engagement with the Commission is also in keeping with its SAGAR or Security and Growth for All in the Region policy. The policy calls for cooperation between the nations for economic prosperity and to build robust security architecture. 

About European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) in Abu Dhabi

  • EMASOH headquarters is composed of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and French officers and based at the French naval base in Abu Dhabi.
  • The aim is “to monitor maritime activity and guarantee freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.”
  • Recently the initiative was declared operational by the French Ministry of Armed Forces.

About Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)

  • Indian Navy has launched its Information Fusion Centre (IFC) that will share information on vessels of interest with other friendly nations.
  • Main aim of the IFC- IOR is to strengthen maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
  • IFC will function as a platform where multiple friendly nations can freely exchange non-sensitive information from maritime domain.
  • IFC is based at the Indian Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurugram in the National Capital Region. IMAC is the single point centre on Indian Navy, linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500km coastline.
  • IMAC is the nodal centre of the National Command Control Communications and Intelligence Network (NC3I Network), and is a joint initiative of Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Bharat Electronics Ltd to improve coastal surveillance
  • IFC- IOR is a collaborative efforts between maritime nations in the IOR. France became the first country to deploy a Liaison Officer at the IFC-IOR followed by the U.S. and several other countries including Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom have announced their intention to post LOs
  •  IFC-IOR is coordinating with similar centres across the globe. These include Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Centre (VRMTC), Maritime Security Centre- Horn of Africa(MSCHOA), Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery (ReCAAP), Information Fusion Centre-Singapore (IFC-SG), and International Maritime Bureau – Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC).

3 . ICMR study plots mid-November peak

Context : The peak stage of COVID-19 in India has been delayed by the eight-week lockdown along with strengthened public health measures, and it may now arrive around mid-November when a paucity of isolation and ICU beds and ventilators can arise.

Details of the Study / Importance of Lockdown

  • The study, conducted by researchers from an Operations Research Group constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said the lockdown shifted the peak by an estimated 34 days to 76 days and helped bring down the number of infections by between 69% and 97%, allowing time to shore up resources and health infrastructure.
  • In a scenario of intensified public health measures with 60% effectiveness after the lockdown, the demand for treatment facilities can be met until the first week of November. Thereafter, isolation beds could be inadequate for 5.4 months, ICU beds for 4.6 months and ventilators for 3.9 months, projections by the researchers showed.
  • However, this shortfall is estimated to be 83% less than what it could have been without the lockdown and public health measures. With sustained measures to increase the infrastructure and the varying pace of the epidemic in different regions, the impact of the unmet need can be reduced. If the coverage of healthcare measures can be increased to 80%, the epidemic can be mitigated.
  • According to the model-based analysis for the pandemic in India, with the additional capacity built for testing, treating and isolating patients during the lockdown, the number of cases at the peak could come down by 70% and the cumulative cases may drop by nearly 27%.
  • As for mortality, approximately 60% deaths were prevented and one-third of this mortality prevention is attributed to the reduction in the unmet need for critical care as a result of the intervention, the analysis showed.

4 . Line of Actual Control

Context : The ongoing military standoffs with China at multiple points along the India-China border has turned the spotlight to the single most important element that has helped keep the peace across the Himalayas: the Line of Actual Control (LAC

Why issues only in LAC and not with LOC

  • With Pakistan, India has an international boundary, which has been agreed upon, and the LoC, which has been delineated on a map by both sides.
  • In contrast, the alignment of the LAC has never been agreed upon, and it is has neither been delineated nor demarcated. There is no official map in the public domain that depicts the LAC.
  • It can best be thought of as an idea, reflecting the territories that are, at present, under the control of each side, pending a resolution of the boundary dispute.
  • In a strange irony, if the LAC is far less clear than the LoC, it has remained much more peaceful, with not a shot fired since 1975 at Tulung La.

Difference in LAC

  • For the most part, in the western sector, it broadly corresponds with the border as China sees it.
  • There are differences in several points here, including at the very start of the LAC, which India reportedly pegs northwest of the Karakoram Pass, but China further south.
  • In the eastern sector, it broadly corresponds with the border as India sees it, along the McMahon Line that separates Arunachal Pradesh from Tibet.
  • In the middle sector and Sikkim, the LAC is broadly aligned with the borders as India and China see it, with minor differences here.
  • The problem is India and China do not agree on the alignment of the LAC everywhere. Differences in perception, particularly in 13 spots in the western, middle and eastern sectors of the border, often lead to what are called “face offs”, when patrols encounter each other in these grey zones that lie in between the different alignments.
  • Some of these areas are Chumar, Demchok and the north bank of the Pangong lake in the western sector, Barahoti in the middle sector, and Sumdorong Chu in the east.

Past Agreements

  • In a November 7, 1959 letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai suggested the armed forces of both sides withdraw 20 km, as he put it, “from the so-called McMahon Line in the east, and from the line up to which each side exercises actual control in the west”. Yet where exactly each side believed it exercised control was a matter of debate, complicated by the fact that China’s alignments kept changing.
  • The “LAC” it referred to in 1960 and 1962 wasn’t the same as 1959.
  • When India and China signed the landmark Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement (BPTA) in 1993, the first legal agreement that recognised the LAC, they avoided this problem by referring to the LAC at the time, and not the LAC of 1959, 1960 or 1962, all of which had different meanings.
  • Both sides agreed to protocols in 2005 and 2013 that describe the rules of engagement to handle such situations, but as the current stand-off at Pangong Tso reminds us, they haven’t always been followed.
  • At Pangong Tso, India’s LAC runs at Finger 8, and China’s at Finger 4. The “fingers” from 1 to 8 refer to mountain spurs that run from west to east on the lake’s northern bank.
  • Currently, Chinese troops have erected tents in the Finger 4 area and are preventing India from reaching its LAC at Finger 8, leading to a stand-off.

5 . Corona Vaccine

Context : The COVID-19 pandemic has naturally seen renewed efforts at a rapid vaccine development, and multiple candidates are at various levels of processing and in the trial stages.

About Vaccine

  • A vaccine could be a weakened biological or synthetic agent administered to humans that will protect them from contracting infectious diseases by supplying specific antibodies to neutralise the disease-causing pathogen, while not making a person actually sick from it.
  • Vaccines have always sounded the bugle of relief from morbidity and mortality for societies. They have played an important role in the reduction of communicable diseases from the second half of the 20th century.
  • In the last two decades with new infectious diseases emerging, particularly post the H1N1 influenza, global vaccine development activity has been rather frenetic.

What is the process of vaccine development?

  • Vaccine technology has significantly evolved in the last decade, including the development of several RNA (ribonucleic acid) and DNA vaccine candidates, licensed vectored vaccines, recombinant protein vaccines and cell-culture-based vaccines,
  • However, despite the many advances, including using artificial intelligence to determine potential vaccine candidates, the core principles of ensuring safety and efficacy of the vaccine for use in humans remain unchanged.
  • While technology might have quickened some of the processes, the trials for the vaccine need to stick by these principles that are time consuming for a reason.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the general stages of the development cycle of a vaccine are: exploratory stage, pre-clinical stage, clinical development, regulatory review and approval, manufacturing and quality control.
  • If vaccine candidates do make it to the third stage, clinical development is a three-phase process. It says: During Phase I, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine. In Phase II, the clinical study is expanded and vaccine is given to people who have characteristics (such as age and physical health) similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended. In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.”
  • If a vaccine is approved by a licensing agency, then it can move into the manufacturing stage, but constant monitoring of the process and quality control measures must be put in place.
  • Vaccine production should comply with the current Good Manufacturing Practice standards to ensure constant quality and safety of vaccine.


  • Virus that has just emerged in humans, and the response will be more complex because there are no existing vaccines or production processes for coronavirus vaccines.
  • As no coronavirus vaccines are on the market and no large-scale manufacturing capacity for these vaccines exists as yet, there is a need to build these processes and capacities. Doing this for the first time can be tedious and time consuming.”
  • Some of the other concerns for the development of an effective vaccine are the prospect of the virus mutating, and a waning of the antibody response. It is known that infection with human coronaviruses does not always produce long-lived antibody responses, and re-infection, likely to be mild [symptoms] in a fraction of individuals, is possible after an extended period of time

6.  Scientists find ancient mammal ‘stepping stone’

Context : Chilean and Argentine researchers have unearthed teeth in Patagonia belonging to a mammal that lived 74 million years ago, the oldest such remains yet discovered in the South American country, the Chilean Antarctic Institute reported.

About the News

  • Scientists uncovered the tiny teeth, which belonged to a species called Magallanodon baikashkenke, on a dig near Torres del Paine National Park, a remote area of Patagonia famous for its glacier-capped Andean spires and frigid ocean waters.
  • The small mammal would have lived in southern Patagonia during the late Cretaceous era, alongside dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles and birds
  • It is the southernmost record of Gondwanatheria, a group of long-extinct early mammals that co-existed with dinosaurs.
  • This mammal is described as an evolutionary stepping stone between “egg-laying mammals, like the platypus … and marsupial mammals.”
  • Gondwanatheria remains from the Cretaceous era are extremely rare, particularly in this part of southern South America.

7 . Health Silk Road

Context : According to its “Health Silk Road” initiative, China has sent 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries, including military medical teams to Pakistan, Laos and Myanmar, while India has intensified its offers in the SAARC region (minus Pakistan) and the IOR, deploying aid by Air India flights as well as by the Indian Naval Ship ‘Kesari’ and sending teams as well.

About Health Silk Road

  • Health Silk Road was first used the term during a visit to Geneva in January 2017, where he signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Health Organization (WHO) committing to the construction of a “Health Silk Road”
  • Health Silk Road aims to improve public health in countries along China’s Belt and Road.
  • The proposal utilizes the Belt and Road network to strengthen cooperation in the health sector.
  • Health Silk Road will strengthen and renew ancient links between cultures and people, with health at its core
  •  The Health Silk Road “is not a multilateral institution per s. It’s more a hub-and-spoke organism with China at the center, with multiple bilateral arms extending outwards.”

Motives behind Health Silk Road

  • China’s immediate and global objective is to control the narrative about its role in the coronavirus pandemic and portray itself as a global health leader. What began as “mask diplomacy”, with China rushing medical supplies to countries all over the world, has evolved into “wolf warrior diplomacy” – the use of social media and communication channels to vehemently defend Beijing and the Xi Jinping government’s image. This has involved the consistent repetition of the official line that China was “transparent, open, and comprehensive” in dealing with the pandemic from the outset.
  • The focus on health allows China an opportunity to reorganise global public health mechanisms in a way that fits Beijing’s worldview. The World Health Organization (WHO) enthusiastically endorsed the HSR as early as 2017. But the current pandemic has allowed China the first opportunity to work directly with countries handling a medical emergency at a global scale and demonstrate that it can carry the burden by itself. In essence, this takes China closer to offering an alternative to the WHO
  • China hopes that HSR will allow it to find newer markets. BRI partner countries will be the new incubators for China’s healthcare systems and technology. The country’s National Health Commission has had an exhaustive plan on the HSR ready since 2017. This includes offers of infrastructure development, capacity building, and identification, prevention, and control of diseases. Chinese contact-tracing apps bundled with e-medicine apps, tools for quarantine, and statistics for authorities could become ubiquitous in BRI member states.
  • Beijing can also share advances in gene-based research in biomedical technology or synthetic biology and collaborate on telemedicine. These will need real-time communication, which opens opportunities for Chinese companies offering 5G services.

8 . How India Test for COVID

Context : The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently approved ELISA test kits for Covid-19 developed by two companies. These were the first ELISA test kits approved other than those that use the ICMR’s own technology, and add to the basket of choices for testing for Covid-19. A look at these choices:


  • Developed in 1974, ELISA stands for enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay. It detects whether a person’s immune system has produced antibodies against a particular infection — such as HIV.
  • The test is called “enzyme-linked” because it uses enzymes to detect presence of antibodies in a blood sample.
  • An ELISA test is of two types depending on the antibodies tested for — immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM). “IgG detects antibodies developed in later stage of infection, and IgM detects antibodies produced in early stages of infection,” said Dr Sujata Baveja, microbiologist with Sion Hospital. Currently only IgG testing kits have been approved in India.
  • In India, the ELISA test for Covid-19 is only approved for serosurveys— which estimate the proportion of the population exposed to infection— and for surveys in high-risk areas and segments like containment zones, immunocompromised individuals, and frontline and health workers.
  • “Depending upon the level of seroprevalence of infection, matching public health interventions can be implemented for prevention and control of the disease,” the ICMR says.
  • In May, ICMR designed a Covid Kavach ELISA IgG test through the National Institute of Virology in Pune.
  • Earlier this month, ICMR approved ELISA kits for Covid-19 testing designed by Transasia Bio Medicals (based in Mumbai) and Euroimmun US Inc
  • While ELISA is expected to relatively inexpensive and is fast, its use is limited to making population-based estimates that can inform policy decisions.


  • For individual diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19, the test used worldwide is RT-PCR (reverse-polymerase chain reaction). Earlier it was also used for Ebola and Zika diagnosis.
  • In India, RT-PCR remains the final confirmatory test for Covid-19. The test involves taking swabs from the nasal and oral tracts, extracting the viral RNA in a printer-like machine and amplifying it to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
  • Apart from nasal or oral swab, another option for RT-PCR is the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) method, which a bronchoscope is passed to obtain fluid from lungs or sputum. Sputum or BAL has a higher viral load, so there is a higher chance of virus detection than nasal or oral swab.

Rapid antibody test

  • This test also looks for antibodies in the blood, takes hardly 20-30 minutes, and is the cheapest. But a rapid test involves a high risk of false results — it may detect antibodies against of some other infection and show that the sample is positive for Covid-19.
  • Hence this test is only used for population surveys. If a person tests positive through a rapid test, he has to undergo a confirmatory RT-PCR test before treatment. ELISA is more accurate than a rapid test.
  • Rapid antibody test involves taking a blood sample from the finger and putting it in a testing template. It cost Rs 600. Plasma or serum can also be used to test instead of blood.


  • This is a privately designed test that works on the same principle as RT-PCR, but with a smaller kit and with faster results.
  • TrueNat, designed by MolBio Diagnostics Pvt Ltd, Goa, is commonly used for tuberculosis and HIV testing.
  • Recently, the ICMR approved TrueNat for screening and confirmation for Covid-19. If a sample test negative, it has to be treated as negative; if it tests positive, a second test called RdRp gene confirmatory assay has to be performed.
  • The TrueNat machine is small and portable, mostly running on batteries, and provides result within 60 minutes. It involves taking nasal or oral swabs. Across India there are over 800 machines to test for TB; hence the government will not have to invest further in machines.

When to use which

  • To understand which test to use, the purpose has to be defined. A person may test positive in these tests at different point of time during an infection. After the person is exposed, the viral load may be high in the respiratory tract within a few days, and an RT-PCR or TrueNat test may return positive. But if the person has not developed antibodies, both a rapid test and ELISA will return negative. In a few days, say over a week later, antibodies start getting produced, at which point RT-PCR may show negative but ELISA and Rapid will show positive.
  • To diagnose and treat, doctors rely on RT-PCR, which implies active infection. Once confirmed the person has to be isolated, and treated if symptoms emerge.
  • A positive result from ELISA or rapid antibody test may not mean the person needs isolation or is infectious; it may simply mean the person was exposed to the virus and has developed antibodies. These two tests, being cheaper than RT-PCR, are employed in large-scale population surveys. According to Dr Archana Patil, Additional Director in the Directorate of Health Services, Maharashtra, rapid or ELISA tests are tools that only show how widespread the infection is.

9 . Facts for Prelims

Malabar gliding frog spotted at Pullad

  • Malabar gliding frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus), a rare amphibian that can glide in the air up to 10-12 m, was spotted at Pullad in Kerala.
  • A green frog with a slender body, webbed feet, unusual body positions, very well camouflaged and gliding in the air.
  • The frog is endemic to the rain forests of the Western Ghats.
  • The term “gliding” frog refers to its ability to break its fall by stretching the webbing between its toes when making leaps down from the treetops. It can make gliding jumps of 9–12 m, a maximum of about 115 times its lengthThe frog has got a body length of 10 cm, making it one of the largest mossy frogs. The fingers and toes are like sticks to attach to and walk through tree branches.
  • IUCN Status : Least Concern

Recovery Trial

  •  RECOVERY trial, a large randomised controlled trial in the U.K. to test five drugs, including hydroxychloroquine in hospitalised patients with COVID-19.

Great Oxygenation Event

  • Great Oxygenation Event occurred when cyanobacteria living in the oceans started producing oxygen through photosynthesis. As they changed the atmosphere to an oxidizing atmosphere, almost all life on earth went extinct.

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