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UPSC Prelims News 28 October 2022


UPSC Prelims News of 28 October 2022

Dirty Bomb

Context: Russian defence minister has informed his counterparts in India and China that Ukraine intends on using a ‘dirty bomb’.

More on the News:

  • Ukraine has rejected the claims and counter-accused Russia of preparing its own ‘dirty bomb’ and planning to explode it in a false operation.

About the Bomb:

  • A dirty bomb is an explosive device that contains radioactive, biological or chemical materials, that disperses material after explosion. It mostly refers to radioactive explosives.
  • Working: These bombs use dynamite or other explosives to scatter radioactive dust, smoke, or other material in order to cause radioactive contamination.
  • Components: These bombs are cheap and can be made very fast. The radioactive materials in these bombs can be obtained from hospitals, nuclear power stations, or even research laboratories.
  • Effects: The radioactive fallout from the bomb can cause serious health problems, such as cancer.
    • The bomb is used to create mass panic as a weapon of terror.
    • The environmental hazard because of dirty bombs can potentially result in the need for large-scale cleanups that can be financially costly.
  • Mortality: Compared to conventional atomic, chemical or biological bombs, dirty bombs cause less human mortality.

UPSC Prelims News of 27 October 2022


CAR-T Cell Therapy

Context: India’s first indigenously developed Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cell T therapy has shown promising results and could be the safest therapy in this category so far.

What is the Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cell T therapy?

Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cell T therapy
Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cell T therapy
  • CAR-T cells are a patient’s own immune cells that are genetically engineered in the laboratory to fight cancer.
  • As part of the treatment, a specific type of white blood cells called T cells are changed in the lab so they can find and destroy cancer cells.
  • It is also sometimes referred to as a type of cell-based gene therapy because it involves altering genes inside T cells to help them attack cancerous cells.

How the Therapy Works?

  • It uses lentiviral technology. In gene therapy, this is a method of inserting, modifying, or deleting genes in organisms using lentivirus, a family of viruses responsible for diseases such as AIDS.
  • T cells taken from the patient’s blood are modified by adding a gene for a receptor (called a chimeric antigen receptor or CAR), which helps the T cells attach to a specific cancer cell antigen. The CAR T cells are then given back to the patient.

What Types of Cancer can it Treat?

The CAR-T cell therapy is mostly effective against leukemia and lymphoma.

  • Leukemia is cancer of blood-forming tissues, including bone marrow.
  • Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting network.


Avian Influenza

Context: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided to depute a high-level team to Kerala to take stock of Avian Influenza outbreak in the state.

What is Avian Influenza?

  • About: Avian influenza (AI) or Bird Flu is a highly contagious viral disease that affects both domestic and wild birds.
  • Pathogen: it is caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses.
  • Transmission: Avian influenza viruses can be transmitted directly from wild birds to domestic poultry or indirectly e.g. through contaminated material.
    • The virus spreads directly from bird to bird via airborne transmission or indirectly, through faecal contamination of material, feathers or feed
  • Infection in humans: Bird flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with bird flu viruses have occurred.
    • The most common route of virus transmission is direct contact with infected birds, either dead or alive, or contact with contaminated surfaces or air near the infected poultry.
  • Symptoms: It may cause mild to severe illness or sudden death in birds. Domestic poultry like chickens are particularly vulnerable.

Types of Influenza Virus

  • There are four types of influenza viruses: influenza A, B, C, and D
  • Influenza A and B are the two types of influenza that cause epidemic seasonal infections nearly every year.
  • Influenza C mainly occurs in humans but has been known to also occur in dogs and pigs.
  • Influenza D is found mainly in cattle. It’s not known to infect or cause illness in humans yet.

Avian influenza Type A viruses

  • Type A viruses are classified based on two proteins on their surfaces – Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA). There are about 18 HA subtypes and 11 NA subtypes.
  • Several combinations of these two proteins are possible e.g., H5N1, H7N2, H9N6, H17N10, H18N11 etc.
  • All known subtypes of influenza A viruses can infect birds, except subtypes H17N10 and H18N11, which have only been found in bats.


Indigenous Overhauser Magnetometer

Context: Indian scientists have developed the first indigenous Overhauser (OVH) Magnetometer.

More on the News:

  • Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) has developed the magnetometer as part of its technology development program.
  • The sensor will be installed at Alibag Magnetic Observatory (MO) and can reduce India’s dependence on commercial OVH magnetometers for performing geomagnetic field measurements.
  • Significance:
    • Reduce import: OVH magnetometer will reduce India’s dependence on privately-manufactured imported OVH magnetometers.
    • MRI instrument: Understanding the Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) would potentially help to develop a sensitive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) instrument in future.
    • Outer space programme: The sensor can be adapted for the outer space environment to support the existing Indian space research program.

Overhauser (OVH) Magnetometer

  • They are extensively used by all magnetic observatories around the world. They can be used in studying geomagnetic storms, sudden impulses etc.
  • They are known for their higher accuracy, higher sensitivity, and efficient power consumption.
  • Applications: Overhauser magnetometers find applications in all magnetic observatories worldwide as well as in international space programs.

UPSC Prelims News of 29 October 2022


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