Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Daily Current Affairs for UPSC 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 PRELIMS2020.

Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.– George Herbert


ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.


BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

What does quarantine mean?


What does quarantine mean and when did it begin

      WHY IN NEWS:

This article is from DOWNTOEARTH ! We wanted you to understand the origination of WHO .

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases


For PRELIMS understand this little short story of quarantine and WHO .

For MAINS remember the important convention and their resolution . These are important !


In the 14th century, ships arriving at Venice were made to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing. This practice, called quarantine, was derived from the Italian words “quaranta giorni” meaning 40 days.

What does quarantine mean and when did it begin



  • The word “quarantine” has Italian roots.
  • In the 14th century, ships arriving at Venice were made to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing.
  • This practice, called quarantine, was derived from the Italian words “quaranta giorni” meaning “fourty days” .


  • International health cooperation began with the first International Sanitary Conference, which took place in Paris on July 23, 1851.


The primary purpose of the 1851 conference was to develop protocols to protect the world’s people from the regular waves of cholera pandemics that had been impacting the world since the early 1830s.


International Sanitary Conventions evolved to include an increasing number of the so-called ‘quarantine diseases’.

These included cholera, plague, yellow fever, smallpox and louse-borne typhus fever.

In the next 50 years a succession of sanitary conferences took place but it was only in 1903 when an accord was signed at the 11th conference at Paris.

This was the first truly effective measure to be signed.


  • Out of it came in 1907 the Office International d’HygiènePublique (International Office of Public Health), the forerunner of the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • WHO assumed responsibility for international quarantine regulations in 1948.
  • Until this time, quarantine practice and procedure varied considerably from one country to another and there was a lot of confusion.

It was not until the Fourth World Health Assembly in 1951 that a final agreement was reached among the signatories.

WHO Regulations No. 2 signed off on May 25, 1951:

Covered all forms of international transport – ships, aircraft, trains and road vehicles.

They dealt with the sanitary conditions to be maintained and measures to be taken against diseases at seaports and airports open to international traffic, including measures on arrival and departure, sanitary documents and sanitary charges.

The 1951 International Sanitary Regulations were revised and adopted by the WHO under the new title of the International Health Regulations in 1969.
  • The number of diseases covered by the regulations reduced from six to four (cholera, plague, yellow fever and smallpox)
  • In 1981, even smallpox was removed from the list after its global eradication.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • However, the late twentieth century and early twenty-fist century brought it back when WHO issued a fully revised set of International Health Regulations in 2005.
  • The 2005 regulations ushered in a new global public health surveillance regime that required member states to notify the WHO in the event of a public health emergency of international concern.
  • These regulations came into force on June 15, 2007 and are used by countries to prevent and control public health threats while avoiding unnecessary interference with international travel and trade.

Tropical Butterfly Conservatory: Tiruchirappallai


A unique institution for a beloved insect

      WHY IN NEWS:

The Tropical Butterfly Conservatory in Tiruchirappallai is a boon to the people of India

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Biodiversity:Flora and Fauna


For PRELIMS location,features and significance is very important . It is one of its kind !

For MAINS look out for methods of preservation . Draw a clear picture of role of butterflies in our food chain .


The sprawling Tropical Butterfly Conservatory consists of the Nakshatravanam (star/zodiac sign forest) and a Butterfly park, a large butterfly glass house, a variety of nectar plants, host plants and trees, roosting plants, mud puddle, an artificial pond; all of which attracts a large population of butterflies.

A butterfly sucking nectar from a flower. Photo: Wikimedia Commons




  • The Conservatory is located in the Upper Anaicut Reserve Forest, sandwiched between the Cauvery and Kollidam rivers in Tiruchirappalli.
  • It is about 7 kilometres from Melur and is spread over 27 acres. This is considered to be Asia’s largest butterfly park.


  • As butterflies form an important part of nature’s food web, it is very essential to protect the species for ecological balance.
  • Tropical Butterfly Conservatory Tiruchirappalli (TBCT) has been developed in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappali to create awareness among the public about the importance of the butterfly and its ecology.
  • It was inaugurated during November 2015 at Tiruchirappalli with the objective of propagating the importance of butterflies and conserving the biodiversity of the district through environmental education.


  • While there are about 1,300 bird species and 370 mammal species in the Indian subcontinent, the diversity of Indian butterflies is assessed to be about 1,501.
  • The major threats to butterfly diversity are destruction, degradation and fragmentation of their habitats, grazing, fires and application of pesticides and weedicides in agricultural and urban ecosystems.


  • The park has an outdoor as well as indoor conservatory, a ‘Nakshatra Vanam’ and a ‘Rasi Vanam’ in addition to a breeding lab for non-scheduled species, an open air theatre, an amphitheatre, an interpretation centre, plant nursery, shade houses, ponds, water fountains, models, an eco-shop and a children’s infotainment park.
  • Eggs of non-scheduled butterfly species are collected and bred in captivity in the in-house incubation laboratory by keeping them in ventilated plastic containers with the leaves of host plants as feed.
The conservatory is home to over 100 species of butterflies, both resident and migrant variety of species; some of which are, the Bamboo treebrown, Kanara swift, Red spot, Tricoloured pied flat, Chestnut bob, etc.
  • The Tropical Butterfly Conservatory, consists of two conservatories, an outer conservatory and an indoor conservatory area that facilitates a favouring environment and a natural habitat for the butterflies to breed and complete its lifecycle.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Out of the 1,501 butterfly species identified so far in India, 109 species have been observed in this park.

As butterflies are known for their intrinsic, aesthetic, educational, scientific, ecological, health and economic values, they are considered to be the most universally loved and inspirational of all creatures.

A one-day certificate course has also been conducted fortnightly from 2017 onwards on basic lepidopterology (Study of butterflies).

The visitors are advised to move inside the park either in the mid-morning or in the mid-afternoon to enjoy watching the butterflies at close quarters. They are instructed to wear dull-coloured clothes in order to avoid any disturbance to the insects.


CSIR-IMTECH takes up sample testing


CSIR-IMTECH takes up sample testing for Covid-19

      WHY IN NEWS:

To boost its testing capacity, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH) has stepped up to take up Covid-19 sample testing.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:3:Government Institutions:Innovation


For PRELIMS note down the aim and features of this institution.


Covid-19 has posed several challenges to the healthcare sector. The limited number of test kits for Covid-19 is one such challenge. As of now, India has been primarily testing patients with a travel history. However, the rate of testing should improve in terms of testing per million population.



The institute is engaged in research in many areas of modern biological sciences and microbe-related biotechnology, with special emphasis on research that is interdisciplinary and of a collaborative nature, such as:

  • immunity and infectious diseases, 
  • protein design and engineering, 
  • fermentation science,
  • microbial physiology and genetics, 
  • yeast biology, 
  • bioinformatics,
  • microbial systematics,
  • exploitation of microbial diversity for bioactives and enzymes for biotransformations.


  • The institution has augmented its capabilities to carry out clinical testing for COVID-19 and has the necessary expertise in molecular microbiology.
  • The lab has the requisite infrastructure including Biosafety Level (BSL)-3 facility as the labs are advised to take all appropriate biosafety and bio-security precautions before testing.
  • A newly constructed BSL-2+ virology lab equipped with Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) equipment has also been established.
Apart from testing of clinical samples, CSIR-IMTECH is also supporting healthcare professionals by providing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to prevent them from contracting any infection while serving patients.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The institute is also extending help to the local administration and Red Cross Unit of Chandigarh by providing the logistical and infrastructure support.

“The initiative of ICMR to involve all government-accredited labs is a welcome step and will be a game changer in testing of Covid-19 samples. This would increase the testing rate among suspected patients.


Grounding of planes affects IMD’s weather data supply


Grounding of planes affects IMD’s weather data supply

      WHY IN NEWS:

Data relayed from aircraft on temperature and wind speed are used in dynamical models

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases


The grounding of the country’s civilian aircraft has strangled a key source of weather data that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) uses for its forecasts.


From the skies: The inputs sent by aircraft are important as they determine the initial conditions.


Officials, however, clarified that India’s annual monsoon forecast system was on track, with the first forecast scheduled to be issued in mid-April.

  • Aircraft relay data about temperature and wind speed in the upper atmosphere to meteorological agencies the world over and this is used in the dynamical models, the ones which are run on super computers and relied on to give weather forecasts three days, or even two weeks in advance.
  • “Inputs from aircraft are important for the dynamical models as they determine the initial conditions for these models.


This year, the IMD will likely rely on its traditional statistical forecast system — the workhorse, developed on the basis of historical data.

India had begun to move away from this system and started to rely on its dynamical models as it better captures developing changes in the atmosphere.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

However, India’s dynamical models are still not as adept as meteorologists want them to be, for warning of a drought or extreme changes in monsoon rainfall.

That, and limited data from aircraft as well as a general decline in land-based information because of a shortage of manpower to send observations.

“We need multiple observations from weather stations from all parts of the country,” .

“However, for the monsoon forecast, which is a long-term forecast, this isn’t significantly affected.”


Coronavirus: TCS uses AI for drug discovery


Coronavirus: TCS uses AI for drug discovery

      WHY IN NEWS:

The researchers have identified 31 candidate molecules to target the main protease which helps the virus replicate

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases: AI


Scientists from TCS Innovation Labs in Hyderabad are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to identify new molecules which might have the potential to target specific parts of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

Line of attack: Prime drug targets are viral proteases which help the virus replicate and the spike protein.


Using new methods, they have identified 31 candidate small molecules, which may serve as inhibitors of the chymotrypsin-like protease, one of the key drug targets in the fight against COVID-19.


  • The genome of the novel coronavirus codes for several proteins that have crucial roles in entry of the virus into the host cell, its replication, assembly and host-pathogen interactions.
  • Some of these proteins that help the virus perform its functions are common targets for drug developers.
  • Among these drug targets are the spike protein, which helps the virus attach itself to the host cell and enter it, and viral proteases which help it replicate.


  • “The viral RNA synthesises two long polyproteins when it infects human cells via a human cell surface protein.
  • The role of the protease protein is to cut the polyproteins to individual proteins, so that new viruses can be assembled.
  • The chymotrypsin-like protease or the main protease primarily does the function of cleaving the polyprotein into proteins and the papain-like protease also aids in this process.
  • First, using a database of approximately 1.6 million drug-like small molecules from the ChEMBL database, the researchers trained the generative deep neural network model.
  • As a second step, the network was re-trained with protease inhibitor molecules.
  • This was done with a view to narrow the focus of the neural network on to a smaller subset of the chemical space.
The system was trained with all available protease inhibitors and asked the pre-trained model to produce more new molecules that possess the characteristics of protease inhibitors,”.
  • “Finally,  these newly produced molecules can bind to the target protein — chymotrypsin-like protease of the virus.”
  • Starting from a space of nearly 50,000 molecules, the team has made a short list of 31 candidates.
  • Two of the designed molecules had a high degree of similarity to Aurantiamide, a naturally occurring antiviral-compound.
  • “The aim was to create new molecules which possess the characteristics of protease inhibitors.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


“TCS has signed an MoU for collaboration with CSIR. The clinical trials will take time.

The first step is the chemical synthesis and biological testing in vitro, followed by pre-clinical testing on laboratory animals,” .

Drug discovery is a complex process, needing several layers of validation before the drug may come in use.

In this work, the researchers have brought down the time taken for the initial step of designing suitable candidate molecules for testing from years to just a week, reinforcing the power of AI in handling huge datasets.



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