Prelims Primer

  1. Kerala has become the first State to set up a price monitoring and research unit (PMRU) to track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO). The move comes more than five years after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) proposed such a system for the States and the Union Territories.
  2. Under in vitro conditions, nilavembu kudineer (a Siddha medicine) was found to provide protection against chikungunya virus while it was effective as a treatment during acute phase of dengue infection. Dengue subtype-2, which is the most prevalent subtype in India, was used for testing the formulation. There was significant antiviral activity of the formulation at 3% of human dose onwards. Currently, there is no treatment for dengue and chikungunya. The Tamil Nadu government had distributed nilavembu kudineer concoction to treat people infected with dengue during the outbreak in late 2017.
  3. Jenu Kurubas and Kadu Karubas are forest-dwelling communities of Karnataka.
  4. Andhra Pradesh has the second longest coastline of 974 kms after Gujarat (1215 kms). Tamil Nadu has the third longest coastline (907 kms).
  5. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) recently cleared the way for Macedonia to become the alliance’s 30th member; Last month’s accord with Greece to change the name of the former Yugoslav republic to ‘Republic of North Macedonia’ ended one of the world’s longest diplomatic disputes, paving the way for Skopje to join NATO and the European Union.
  6. The black softshell turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) figures in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List as “extinct in the wild”. But a few temple ponds in Assam and Bangladesh are bringing these turtles back from the brink;  Haduk Beel (wetland) is located in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam. Pobitora, often referred to as ‘Mini Kaziranga’, is about 50 km east of Guwahati. India hosts 28 species of turtles, of which 20 are found in Assam.
  7. The Government of India ordered setting up National Statistical Commission on 1 June 2005 on the recommendation of Rangarajan commission. The National Statistical Commission (NSC) of India is an autonomous body which formed in July 2005. A key role of the NSC is to verify whether data being put in the public domain are reliable and adequate.
  8. Visually impaired and blind voters will be provided with Braille voter slips in the coming Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission has said. Electronic voting machines already have the Braille feature.
  9. Endosulfan, an organochlorine (OC) insecticide, is a widely used agricultural pesticide, despite its life threatening toxic effects. People living in 15 gram panchayats in Kasargode (in Kerala) were exposed to endosulfan between 1975 and 2000. Its residues spread far and wide via wind and rain, affecting Kasargode and even neighbouring regions in Karnataka, killing thousands. It has poisoned more than 6,000 people and thousands of children were born with congenital disabilities, hydrocephalus, diseases of the nervous system, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and severe physical and mental disabilities.
  10. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has issued licence to Apollo Hospitals in Chennai to operate the proton therapy facility for treating cancer patients. The proton therapy facility, Proteus 235, is the first of its kind in India and South-East Asia. The license is issued by AERB for patient treatment with proton beam of 226 MeV from radiation safety view point. Though AERB has given licence to about 475 medical institutions to use radio therapy equipment, they are either gamma radiation-based tele-cobalt units or are X-ray-based linear accelerators. The proton beam therapy uses a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue, most often in the treatment of cancer. The proton beam is specifically beneficial in treating paediatric cancers and deep-seated tumours more effectively than the conventional Gamma/X-ray radiation therapy. With the launch of Apollo Proton Cancer Centre (APCC), India has become the 16th country in the world to offer proton therapy for cancer. The centre offers proton therapy with pencil-beam technology that provides a high degree of precision. Around 60 to 70% cancer patients need radiation. Through proton beam therapy, which is a form of radiation, zero dose beyond the tumour is achievable. Many western European and American countries say that proton should be the standard of care for any child, who needs radiation. It has become important in brain tumours, sarcomas, solid cancers and paediatric cancers. Ultra precise dose painting to the most complex tumour shape can be achieved with the proton beam technology. Proton therapy can be utilised for young adults and teenagers to reduce the risk of second cancer.

Categories: POINT IAS

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