UPSC Prelims News of 1 December 2022
Intranasal Vaccine iNCOVAC
Context: The intranasal covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech, called iNCOVAC, has been approved.
More on the News:
- iNCOVACC is a recombinant replication deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion stabilised SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
- The vaccine has been approved under Restricted Use in Emergency Situation for ages 18 and above, in India, for heterologous booster dose.
- Intranasal vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils and inhaled instead of jabbing into the muscles (intramuscular) or the tissue.
Working of Intranasal Vaccines:
- The intranasal vaccine will trigger different set of immune cells that are located around mucosal tissues instead of traditional antibodies from blood (IgG).
- These antibodies, known as IgA, will attack the pathogen around the air pathway. The T cells in the vicinity will remember the pathogen the next time around.
Benefits of Intranasal Vaccines:
- Easy to administer in mass vaccination drives.
- It will cut the cost associated with the use of needles and syringes.
- There will be no need of trained personnel for administering the vaccine.
Context: A 48,500 years old pandovirus has been revived by scientists from melted ice, and named ‘zombie virus’.
More on the News:
- Glaciers and permafrost across the world are melting as a result of the global temperature rise, freeing up bacteria and viruses that have been stuck inside the ice for years.
- The ‘zombie viruses’ had been laying dormant in ice for many years but have come to life after the ice melted.
- The samples were collected from permafrost in the Siberia region of Russia, burried under lake Yukechi Alas.
- Threats posed by the zombie virus:
- All zombie viruses can potentially cause infection in humans as more people start settling in Arctic region.
- These virus can also threaten animals and food crops.
Role of Climate Change:
- Permafrost is thawing irreversibly as a result of climate change, releasing organic matter frozen for millions of years.
- The organic matter also releases methane and carbon dioxide, causing a greenhouse effect.
Great Barrier Reef
Context: UNESCO’s study has revealed the Great Barrier Reef is facing severe challenges due to climate catastrophe and it fits the requirements for inclusion on the World Heritage in danger list.
Great Barrier Reef Facing Bleaching Events:
- Scientists found that since 1950, the area of surviving coral has decreased by half due to overfishing, climate change, and pollution.
- About 70% to 90% of every surviving coral worldwide will perish by the next twenty years.
- An aerial survey revealed about 750 reefs have bleached. When stressed coral becomes impoverished and bleaches.
- The Great Barrier Reef is undergoing its sixth major bleaching episode because of heat stress created by climate change.
- It was the first time on record the reef had suffered bleaching during a La Nina weather cycle, when cooler ocean temperatures would normally be expected.
- Warming seas and agricultural pollution had put the reef at risk and that its resilience had been “substantially compromised”.
Great Barrier Reef:
- It is on the north-eastern coast of Australia and has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1981.
- It is the world’s biggest coral reef system.
- It spans about 133,000 square miles and accommodates 1,500 types of fish and 400 hard corals.
- It provides $4.8 billion to Australia’s economy.
Great Indian Bustard
Context: The Supreme Court has sought the government’s response about evolving a ‘Project Great Indian Bustard’ conservation programme like the ‘Project Tiger’.
The Great Indian Bustard (GIB):
- About: It is the State bird of Rajasthan and one of theheaviest flying birds endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
- Habitat: It is considered the flagship grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology.
- Distribution: Its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- Threats: Habitat loss and degradation, hunting, collision/electrocution with power transmission lines etc.
- Protection status:
- IUCN: Critically endangered
- CITES: Appendix I
- Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I
- Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
- Initiatives for the conservation of GIB:
- Project Great Indian Bustard by the Rajasthan government.
- National Bustard Recovery Plans by conservation agencies.
- It is kept under the species recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
- The MoEFCC has also constituted a Task Force for suggesting Eco- friendly measures to mitigate impacts of power transmission lines on wildlife including the Great Indian Bustard.