Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020 | 17th July 2020

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2020.

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” –Bill Gates


ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.


BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

Today's Must Read Articles : Today's Must Read Articles :

COVID 19 Vaccine -ZyCoV-D


Department of Biotechnology supported COVID 19 Vaccine –ZyCoV-D, designed and developed by Zydus,begins Adaptive Phase I/II clinical trials

      WHY IN NEWS:

The study will assess the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases


Vaccine Discovery Programme supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India under the National Biopharma Mission, implemented by BIRAC moves into clinical trials

  • This is the first indigenously developed vaccine for COVID-19 to be administered in humans in India.
  • The adaptive Phase I/II dose escalation, multi-centric study will assess the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine.
  • The human dosing of the vaccine marks a key milestone since the launching of the accelerated vaccine development programme for COVID-19 in February 2020.


  • The vaccine was found to elicit a strong immune response in animal species like mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits.
  • The antibodies produced by the vaccine were able to neutralize the wild type virus.
  • In rabbits, up to three times the intended human dose was found to be safe, well tolerated and immunogenic.
  • ZyCoV-D has successfully established the DNA vaccine platform .

This uses non-replicating and non-integrating plasmid carrying the gene of interest making it very safe.

  • Further platform provides ease of manufacturing the vaccine with minimal biosafety requirements (BSL-1).
  • The platform is also known to show much improved vaccine stability and lower cold chain requirements making it easy for transportation to remotest regions of the country.


  • The aim of the mission is to enable and nurture an ecosystem for preparing India’s technological and product development capabilities in biopharmaceutical to a level that will be globally competitive over the next decade.
  • The program will specifically focus on the development of new vaccines, bio-therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices to address the rising burden of diseases in the country.
  • Cabinet has a total cost US$ 250 million and 50% co-funded by the World Bank  and is being implemented at Biotechnology Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
  • This program is dedicated to deliver affordable products to the nation.

Vaccines, medical devices and diagnostics and biotherapeutics are few of its most important domains.

  • Besides, strengthening the clinical trial capacity and building technology transfer capabilities in the country.


  • Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise.
  • This set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), GOI as an Interface Agency to strengthen and empower the emerging Biotech enterprise.

BIRAC undertakes strategic research and innovation, addressing nationally relevant product development needs.


  • Zydus Cadila is an innovative, global pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of healthcare therapies, including small molecule drugs, biologic therapeutics, and vaccines.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The Department of Biotechnology Government of India has partnered with Zydus to address rapid development of an indigenous vaccine for COVID-19 under the National Biopharma Mission.
  • This partnership with Zydus is to serve the country’s need for a vaccine to fight the dreaded pandemic which has put a billion people at risk.
  • This is an important milestone for AtmaNirbhar Bharat as Zydus begins human clinical trials for the indigenously developed vaccine.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

Telemetry to tackle snake bite


World Snake Day 2020: Unique pilot project uses telemetry to tackle snake bite problem

      WHY IN NEWS:

Effective solution for snake bites !



The technology is used to inform rural people about the movements of snakes so that they may steer clear of them

A new pilot project in rural Karnataka uses radio telemetry to track the movements of Russell's Vipers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A new pilot project in rural Karnataka uses radio telemetry to track the movements of Russell's Vipers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons A new pilot project in rural Karnataka uses radio telemetry to track the movements of Russell’s Vipers.

Radio telemetry, along with solar lanterns and gum boots, is being used in a unique pilot project by two non-profits in rural Karnataka to tackle India’s huge snake bite problem.

  • Radio telemetry of venomous snakes helps us better understand their movements, ecology and behaviour.
  • Twenty-four Russell’s vipers, one of the four species of snakes responsible for most snake bites in India, are being tracked by the project team.
  • Locals inform the team when they see a Russell’s viper.
  • The team immediately fits a transmitter and releases the snake in the same location.
  • Through this, they collect data about the movement of the snakes.
  • Information such as the time of day, temperature and habitat during which snakes are most active, will be collated over a three-year period to build a local profile of the Russell’s viper.

A total of 225 solar lanterns and 200 pairs of gum boots have also been provided to the residents, as part of the project.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • This gives people an edge as they are aware of snake movements.
  • The team is also planning to create a guide known as Snake safe for locals.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

OFish App


How technology is helping Indian, Sri Lankan fishermen amid climate change patterns

      WHY IN NEWS:

Think of it like a Google Map for fishing.



Numer 8, an analytics company in India, is helping fishermen practice sustainable and safe fishing

  • The technology helps fishermen on the sea as well as on the coast.
  • It is currently working with fishermen in Maharashtra and Kerala in India.

Numer8 analysed changes in the cyclical pattern of potential fishing zones in 2018. Photo: Ganesh Nakhawa


  • Climate change has brought monumental shifts in weather patterns, fishing zones and migration of fish population to different areas.
  • The phenomenon has impacted the source of livelihood for many in coastal India.
  • The firm analysed changes in the cyclical pattern of potential fishing zones in 2018.
  • It found that nearshore fishing zones had drifted away further into the deeper seas.
  • It also analysed the coastal vulnerability index for Kerala and Odisha post-2018 .
  • Following this, it developed an app, ‘OFish’, which provides fishermen with
  • Weather updates
  • Identify fishing zones
  • Government guidelines on fishing


  • Sea level
  • Sea surface temperature
  • Sea surface salinity
  • Wind patterns
  • Seasonality and seasonal patterns
  • Rainfall
  • Natural disasters
  • Waves and currents
  • Tidal action
  • Mud flows and turbidity
  • Shoreline changes

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • About 170 million people in India are at the forefront of climate change and experience sea-level rise, tropical cyclones and storms, according to a United Nations report.
  • The latest cases being of the Cyclone Amphan in Bay of Bengal and Cyclone Nisraga in the Arabian Sea
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

India registers a steep decline in MMR


India registers a steep decline in maternal mortality ratio

      WHY IN NEWS:

Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18, released by the Office of the Registrar General’s Sample Registration System (SRS).

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : 2 : 3 : Malnutrition : MMR


maternal mortality

Deaths drop from 130 to 113 in 2016-18

The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in India has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016.

One of the key indicators of maternal mortality is the MMR, defined as the number of maternal deaths per 1,00,000 live births.


Assam (215), Bihar (149), Madhya Pradesh (173), Chhattisgarh (159), Odisha (150), Rajasthan (164), Uttar Pradesh (197) and Uttarakhand (99). The southern States registered a lower MMR — Andhra Pradesh (65), Telangana (63), Karnataka (92), Kerala (43) and Tamil Nadu (60).

Maternal mortality in a region is a measure of reproductive health of women in the area.

The target 3.1 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by the United Nations aims to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 1,00,000 live births.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

As per the World Health Organization, maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020


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