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Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs August 3rd Week 2017
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Science & Technology Current Affairs August 3rd Week 2017

 1. India`s First Online Course on Infusion Therapy Launched.

Infusion Nurses Society (INS) -- a global authority in infusion therapy -- on Sunday launched India`s first online course on Infusion Therapy for nurses, under which it aims to train over 3,000 nurses in the vital medical procedure.

Announcing the initiative, which will boost nurses even in rural parts of India, INS said that utilising the reach and ease of the digital platform, the course will enable members to access the various infusion therapy modules and presentations through its website. 

Infusion therapy means the administration of a drug intravenously, but the term also may refer to situations where drugs are provided through other non-oral routes, such as intramuscular injections and epidural routes.

Nine of ten patients admitted in hospitals receive infusion therapy during the course of their stay for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. Improper infusion practices may lead to complications, causing an increase in mortality, morbidity, duration of hospital stay and healthcare costs.

"The thinking behind such initiatives is to engage healthcare professionals to intensify the best safety and quality practices in infusion management across the country," said President of INS India Binu Sharma during the launch.
 
2. Scientists develop world`s first plant-based Zika vaccine.
Scientists develop world`s first plant-based Zika vaccine 
Scientists from US have developed the world’s first plant-based Zika vaccine that may be more effective, safer and cheaper than other vaccines against the mosquito-borne Zika virus. 

The vaccine was developed using proteins derived from Tobacco plant. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics available to combat Zika.

The plant-based Zika vaccine works against DIII, a part of a Zika viral protein that plays a key role for the virus to infect people. All flaviviruses have the envelope protein on the outside part of the virus. It has three domains. The domain III has a unique stretch of DNA for the Zika virus.

Researchers exploited domain III to generate a robust and protective immune response that is unique for Zika. First they had grown the envelope protein in bacteria then prepared the DIII protein domain in tobacco plants. The multiple immunisation experiments of the vaccine performed on mice shows 100% protection against multiple Zika virus strains in mice.
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Significance: The plant protein-based vaccine uses smallest and most unique part of the Zika virus that can still elicit a potent and robust immune response. It produces a potent protective immune response against Zika Virus and also not produce antibodies that may be cross reactive for West Nile fever, Dengue, Yellow fever or others.

About Zika virus
Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue, West Nile fever, Yellowfever. The virus has been named after Zika forest in Uganda where it was first isolated in 1947.

The virus is capable of causing serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally smaller heads. Besides a possible link between the virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system) is also suspected. It is also found that, sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible.

The worldwide Zika threat first emerged in 2015, infecting millions in South America. The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the disease as epidemic and global health emergency but later revoked it after the outbreak was brought under control.
 
3. EI Nino of 2014-16 aided in massive carbon dioxide release : Study.
EI Nino of 2014-16 aided in massive carbon dioxide release : Study
According to recent study conducted by scientists, the monster El Nino of 2014-16 caused over 3 billion tonnes of carbon to get released into the atmosphere, pushing carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration to record levels.

The study was based on analysis of data collected by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite, which measures level of CO2 in the atmosphere. These are the first measurements for satellite tracking CO2 levels.

El Nino

 

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El Nino is a complex periodic climate event that causes waters to warm up in east-central Pacific Ocean. The warming of ocean causes huge changes in wind directions which bring less rain to south-east Asia and Indian subcontinent, while increasing rain in other parts of the world.

Key Highlights of study
The El Nino led to excessive carbon dioxide releases in three ways. They are (i) Hot weather and drought caused extensive wildfires in south-east Asia, (ii) Drought in the Amazon rainforest stunted plant growth, reducing the amount of carbon they absorb while growing (iii) Warmer weather and near normal rainfall in Africa caused forests to exhale more CO2.

The rate of growth of CO2 in the atmosphere had hit an all-time high of 2.94 parts per million per year in 2015 and slightly below that at 2.89 ppm per year in 2016. 

In other words, CO2 was being added to the atmosphere at a much higher rate than ever before even though carbon emissions were flat.

In 2014 and 2015, CO2 emissions from burning of fossil fuels had flattened out to about 36.2 billion tonnes. Projections for 2016 too indicated that emissions were still flat.

The industrialised countries do not appear to be on course to meet the targets that they pledged at the Paris Climate Accord of 2015. Emissions from European Union countries have actually increased in 2015, the rate at which emissions from US and Japan are declining does not comply with what they had pledged at Paris.
 
4. Scientists develop injectable tissue bandage to repair hearts.
 
Scientists develop injectable tissue bandage to repair hearts
 
Scientists from the University of Toronto, Canada have developed an injectable tissue bandage dubbed as AngioChip, smaller than a postage stamp that can repair damaged hearts. 

The AngioChip is a tiny patch of heart tissue with its own blood vessels and heart cells beating with a regular rhythm. It is made out of the biocompatible, biodegradable polymer.
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Repairing heart tissue destroyed by a heart attack or medical condition with regenerative cells usually requires invasive open-heart surgery which usually poses more risks than potential benefits. The newly developed technique lets researchers to inject a repair patch (AngioChip) using a small needle, without the need to open up the chest cavity. Researchers by injecting the patch into rat hearts have shown that it can improve cardiac function after a heart attack.

 5. Scientists develops artificial womb to save premature babies.

Scientists develops artificial womb to save premature babies 
Scientists have developed an artificial womb that can be used in future to save the lives of extremely premature human babies. It was successfully used to incubate healthy baby lambs for a week. 

The research showed that preterm lambs were successfully maintained in a healthy, infection-free condition with significant growth, for a period of one week using ex-vivo uterine environment (EVE) therapy.
 
Key Facts 

 

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The artificial womb is a high-tech amniotic fluid bath combined with an artificial placenta. To mimic a womb, researchers had created a temperature-controlled bag filled with electrolyte solution as a substitute for amniotic fluid that lambs swallow and take into their lungs. They had attached the umbilical cord of preterm lamb to the device that exchanges carbon dioxide in blood with oxygen. In early-stage animal testing, the lamb appeared to grow normally inside the system. 

Significance 
The artificial wombs can facilitate development of premature babies in a uterus-like environment. Further development, EVE therapy can prevent the severe morbidity suffered by extremely premature infants. It can potentially offer a medical technology that does not currently exist.
 
6. Two new species of Earthworm discovered in Kerala.
Two new species of Earthworm discovered in Kerala
Scientists have discovered two new species of earthworm belonging to the primitive family Moniligastridae in Western Ghats ranges of Kerala.

The new earthworms distinguished by a set of characters have been named as Drawida polydiverticulata and Drawida thomasi.

In total, there are about 200 species of earthworm known in genus Drawida. To date, there are 73 earthworm species belonging to genus Drawida living in Indian subcontinent. The greatest concentration (43 species) is found in Western Ghats.
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Drawida polydiverticulata: It has multiple lobes called diverticulums. It is an organ located in the front of its body which is unique amongst the members of the genus. It was found to be widespread in the protected shola grasslands of the Munnar region, including Eravikulam National Park, Pampadun Shola National Park and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Drawida thomasi: It was discovered at the Kozhippara Waterfalls near Kakkadampoyil, at the border between Malappuram and Kozhikode. The species has been named as a tribute to Professor A.P. Thomas who initiated the taxonomical studies on earthworms in Kerala.
 
7. NASA successfully launches Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M.
 
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NSAS) has successfully launched Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) into orbit. It was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.

TDRS-M is third and final satellite in a series of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), next generation communications satellites.

 

TDRS-M


TDRS-M as part of NASA’s Space Network will provide navigation and high-data-rate communications to the International Space Station (ISS), Hubble Space Telescope, rockets and a host of other spacecraft. It will also expand the capabilities and extend the lifespan of the NASA’s Space Network which will allow researchers to continue receiving and transmitting mission data well into the next decade.

 

Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS)

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The TDRSS is a fleet of geosynchronous communications satellites that form part of NASA’s Space Network. It was introduced in the 1980s to support the Space Shuttle. 

It is still in service, providing scientific data, relay for communications, telemetry and commands between operators on the ground and spacecraft in Earth orbit. 

TDRS-M’s predecessors, TDRS-K and TDRS-L were also launched onboard of Atlas V rockets in January 2013 and January 2014, respectively. The TDRS fleet is a critical connection for delivering science and human spaceflight data to researchers on Earth.

 

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