GS M Paper III
Science and Technology
Achievements of Indian in the field of Science and Technology
- DBT-NII Receives Trademark for India’s First Indigenous Tumour Antigen SPAG9
- India’s first indigenous tumor antigen SPAG9 was discovered by Dr. Anil Suri in 1998 who is heading the Cancer Research Program at NII.
- In a recent development, the SPAG9 antigen has received the trademark ASPAGNIITM.
- Currently, ASPAGNIITMis being used in dendritic cell (DC) based immunotherapy in cervical, ovarian cancer and will also be used in breast cancer.
- The ASPAGNIITMis a true example of translational cancer research and the Atmanirbhar Bharat spirit.
How this works?
- Immunotherapy is a new approach that exploits the body’s inner capability to put up a fight against cancer. With this approach, either the immune system is given a boost, or the T cells are “trained’’ to identify recalcitrant cancer cells and kill them.
- In this personalized intervention, those patients expressing SPAG9 protein can be treated with a DC-based vaccine approach.
- In a DC-based vaccine, the patient’s cells called monocytes from their blood are collected and modified into what are called dendritic cells.
- These dendritic cells are primed with ASPAGNIITMand are injected back to the patient to help the ‘fighter’ cells or T-cells, in the body to kill the cancer cells.
- New Delhi-based National Institute of Immunology (NII), an Autonomous Institute of Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
- Cancer kills 8.51 lakh people in India every year (International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2020, Globocan).
- As per World Health Organization (WHO), one in 10 Indians will develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in 15 will die of cancer.
GS M Paper II
Polity and Governance
- SAGE (Seniorcare Ageing Growth Engine) initiative and SAGE portal to support India’s elderly launched
- SAGE will be a “one-stop access” of elderly care products and services by credible start-ups.
- The SAGE project is shaped by the recommendations of the empowered expert committee (EEC) report on start-ups for the elderly.
- The SAGE project aims to identify, evaluate, verify, aggregate, and deliver products, solutions, and services directly to the stakeholders.
- The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will act as a facilitator, enabling the elderly to access the products through these identified start-ups.
- Caste categories for NREGS pay:
- The Union Finance Ministry has asked the States to split wage payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme into separate categories for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and others from this financial year.
- This is being done to assess and highlight the benefits flowing from budgetary outlay towards Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- The existing system for wages under the scheme is for only one type that is there is no category wise provision of wage payment
- The MGNREGA stands for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005.
- This is a labor law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘Right to Work’.
- The act was first proposed in 1991 by P.V. Narasimha Rao.
- To enhance the livelihood security of the rural poor by generating wage employment opportunities.
- To create a rural asset base that would enhance productive ways of employment, augment and sustain a rural household income.
- MGNREGA is unique in not only ensuring at least 100 days of employment to the willing unskilled workers, but also in ensuring an enforceable commitment on the implementing machinery i.e., the State Governments, and providing a bargaining power to the laborers.
- NASA announces two new missions to Venus
- NASA announced two missions to Venus, Earth’s closest planetary neighbor, as part of its ‘Discovery Program’ that aims to explore and study the solar system.
- The VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) mission will map the surface of the planet, study its geology, and hunt for volcanic activity.
- The DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) with its atmospheric probe, called Plus, will study the dense atmosphere of Venus to understand the trigger and evolution of the runaway greenhouse effect active on the planet.
- The missions are funded for $500 million each and are expected to launch somewhere around 2028-2030.
- Venus is often called Earth’s twin because of similar mass, size, gravity, surface composition, and complex atmospheric processes.
- As Venus is being obscured by an extremely dense layer of atmosphere and clouds, we know much less about it compared to the other planetary neighbor, Mars.
Aims of VERITAS & DAVINCI+
- The VERITAS mission will study the planet’s geology with radar, map its entire surface topography in 3D, and will try to understand why it developed differently from Earth.
- It will also study infrared emissions from the surface to map various kinds of rocks.
- DAVINCI+ will measure the atmospheric composition of Venus and its formation and evolution.
- The mission will also try to determine if the planet held an ocean of liquid water in the past.
- The mission will return the first high-resolution images of unique surface features known as “tesserae” on Venus, which are akin to the continents on Earth and suggest the existence of plate tectonics.
- Eighth Global Nitrogen Conference:
- The 8th International Nitrogen Initiative Conference (INI2020) was scheduled to convene in Berlin, Germany, from 3-7 May 2020. But, due to the pandemic, it was canceled last year and was held recently- virtually.
- The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the main focus of the eighth triennial conference of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) being held virtually from May 31-June 3, 2021.
International Nitrogen Initiative Conference:
- Set up in 2003 under the sponsorship of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP).
- It is a triennial event that brings together scientists from around the world dealing with reactive nitrogen compounds in agriculture, industry, traffic, soil, water, and air.