Researchers develop ‘mild-virus’ that mimics COVID-19; Here is how it can aid in vaccine discovery

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1.Oxford vaccine against Corona to work like this, expected to come by the end of the year:-

The Kovid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and UK-based Estragens has been safe and effective in the initial trial. According to the Serum Institute of India, she is going to do a third phase trial in India by the end of August. In this, this vaccine will be tested on 4 to 5 thousand people. This vaccine has been named ‘KovidShield’ in India. There will be trials on health workers as well as older people. The Serum Institute of India has tied up with Oxford on the vaccine, after which it will be able to produce the vaccine in India.

How does this vaccine work

This Oxford University vaccine is based on a weak version of the common cold virus or adenovirus (CHADOXL), which causes infections in chimpanzees. It is derived from adenoviruses from chimpanzees. Also, its genetic engineering is done, so that its replication is not made in the human body. When given to a genetically engineered CHADOXL individual with the spike protein of the corona virus, it forms the spike protein. The body’s immune system recognizes this and begins to form endibodies to defeat external elements.

Early results encouraging

According to the primary results of the first and second stages, a four-fold increase in antibodies against the SARS-COV-2 virus spike was recorded in 95 percent of participants one month after injection when given a single dose of the Oxford vaccine. Along with this, T-cells, a type of white blood cells, remember and attack the corona virus.

When will the vaccine come

The second and third phase of trials are being conducted on 10,000 people in the UK, only then it will be evaluated for the license of the vaccine. Large-scale trials are also being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, while 30,000 people are ready to study in the US. Experts believe that the vaccine will arrive by the end of this year after achieving the desired results. Astrogence has stated that it is committed to supplying 2 billion vaccines to governments and other agencies. The Pune-based Serum Institute of India in India has entered into an agreement to supply one billion doses in middle and low income countries, including India.

2. Assam: Explosion at well number 5 of Oil India in Baghjan, three foreign experts injured:-
At least three foreign experts got injured after a massive explosion occurred near Oil India Limited (OIL) gas well number five in Baghjan area in Assam’s Tinsukia district on Wednesday.“The incident occurred when operations to douse the fire at Baghjan oil field was going on. The operation has been halted now,” news agency ANI quoted Tridip Hazarika, the spokesperson of Oil India Limited, as saying. “Three foreign experts who were at the site are injured. They have been rushed to the hospital,” Hazarika added. The incident came after two months since the gas well blowout – an uncontrolled release of gas and oil condensate – in Assam which took place on May 27, claiming lives of two firefighters also. The damaged gas well of Oil India Limited is spewing gas for last 56 days.Over 9,000 people have been shifted to relief camps since the blowout at the well, which caught fire on June 9. After the blowout took place and fire broke out at the oil well, foreign experts were called to douse the fire and plug the blowout. The task given to them was scheduled to be completed by July 7, however, the floods caused by incessant rains in Assam inundated the area near the well and damaged bridges and roads leading to the site of Oil India wells, halting the work for several days.OIL had said that various assessment and impact studies of the blowout as well as the blaze in villages and nearby forest areas by multiple agencies such as ERM India, TERI, CSIR-NEIST and IIT-Guwahati.

“The total number of families surveyed till July 18 in both Tinsukia and Doomdooma circles is 1,751,” the Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) had said

3. Gillette launches ‘Safalta Apni Mutthi Mein’ in Uttar Pradesh to create path of success for youth:-
Gillette, India’s leading men’s grooming brand, has launched Safalta Apni Mutthi Mein initiative across Lucknow, Kanpur and other major cities in Uttar Pradesh. With the online medium gaining traction, the programme will be conducted on the online platform of Dainik Jagran and will aim to reach 25000 students.With an intent to make a difference in the lives of these young students all set to enter the corporate world, the programme will highlight the importance of grooming for a successful career and create more job opportunities for them. Through this programme experts from the industry will encourage young India to prepare for the journey to success. Thereafter, they will have to undertake an aptitude test, for which they will receive scores and an online certificate. Top 10 students from this lot will be further be short-listed for a scholarship worth up to INR 5 lakhs along with internship opportunities in reputed companies.peaking about the initiative, Sunil Chhetri, said, “No matter what it is that you do, along the way you realize the importance of being well-groomed and carrying yourself smartly. This is a wonderful initiative by Gillette which identifies and addresses the grooming needs of young individuals and is preparing them in the right direction of progress”. “I’m happy to be associated with the programme and with Gillette Guard. It’s great that ‘Safalta Apni Mutthi Mein’ has now been customized and made available online which will help in reaching out to a wider audience.”‘Safalta Apni Mutthi Mein’ is a unique platform by Gillette that provides grooming guidance and training to college students to enable them with self-assurance and prepare them for their future endeavours. Through this initiative, Gillette also creates unique job opportunities for youth across the country.
4. Researchers develop ‘mild-virus’ that mimics COVID-19; Here is how it can aid in vaccine discovery:-
Scientists have developed a “hybrid virus”, which has traits of novel coronavirus but it is far less contagious in comparison and lacks the ability to cause severe illness. Given the highly contagious nature of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID 19, it can only be studied under high-level biosafety conditions. This has sseverely impacted the efforts to find vaccines since many scientists don’t have access to the required facilities. To overcome this impediment, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine modified a mild virus by swapping one of its genes for one from SARS-CoV-2. This hybrid virus that can be handled under ordinary laboratory safety conditions According to the study, published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, the resulting hybrid virus infects cells, and is recognised by antibodies in humans just like SARS-CoV-2, but can be handled under ordinary laboratory safety conditions.”I’ve never had this many requests for a scientific material in such a short period of time. We’ve distributed the virus to researchers in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and, of course, all over the US,” said study co-senior author Sean Whelan from the Washington University School of Medicine.”In order to create a model of SARS-CoV-2 that would be safer to handle, the scientists said they started with VSV, which they added is “fairly innocuous and easy to manipulate genetically.”How it will help researchers across the globeIt can aid scientists in assessing a range of antibody-based preventives and treatments for COVID-19It can also help identify antibodies with the potential to be developed into antiviral drugsThey can also observe whether an experimental vaccine elicits neutralizing antibodies if a COVID-19 survivor carries enough neutralizing antibodies to donate plasma to patients”One of the problems in evaluating neutralizing antibodies is that a lot of these tests require a BSL-3 facility, and most clinical labs and companies don’t have BSL-3 facilities,” said Michael Diamond, who is also a professor of pathology and immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine.”With this surrogate virus, you can take serum, plasma or antibodies and do high-throughput analyses at BSL-2 levels, which every lab has, without a risk of getting infected. And we know that it correlates almost perfectly with the data we get from bona fide infectious SARS-CoV-2,”Diamond said.
5. NCERT drops J&K Separatist Politics from Class 12 syllabus, adds portion on abrogation of Article 370:-
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has removed content regarding separatist movement from its Class 12 political science textbook. The education body has dropped a paragraph on separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir and added a brief mention of the abrogation of article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of J-K. The council revised the chapter in textbook “Politics in India Since Independence” for the academic session 2020-21.While the topic “Separatism and Beyond” that referred to separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir has been removed, the scrapping of Article 370 has been included under the topic “Regional Aspirations”.On August 5 last year, the Centre had scrapped the special status of Jammu & Kashmir and reconstituted the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. “One strand of separatists who want a separate Kashmiri nation, independent of India and Pakistan. Then there are groups that want Kashmir to merge with Pakistan. Besides these, there is a third strand, which wants greater autonomy for the people of the state within the Indian union,” the deleted portion read.The chapter then refers to the President’s Rule imposed in June 2018 after the BJP withdrew its support to the Mehbooba Mufti government and towards the end mentions the withdrawal of Article 370. The revised portion, where the chapter talks about Jammu and Kashmir, says, “Jammu and Kashmir had a special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. However, in spite of it, the region witnessed violence, cross-border terrorism and political instability with internal and external ramifications”.”The Article resulted in the loss of many lives, including that of innocent civilians, security personnel and militants. Besides, there was also a large scale displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir valley,” it read.”On August 5, 2019, Parliament had approved a resolution abrogating special status to J and K under Article 370 of the Constitution. The state was also bifurcated into two Union territories — Ladakh with no Legislative Assembly and Jammu and Kashmir with one,” the revised portion read.
6. Gold prices cross an all time high of Rs 50,000, silver shines above 60,000:-
The gold prices crossed the mark of Rs 50,000 for the first time ever on Wednesday. On Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), the prices as for August gold futures recorded a surge of 1 per cent taking the absolute price to Rs 50,010 per 10 gram. It was for the second consecutive session that gold prices recorder a 1 per cent rise within a single session.It’s not just the gold, but silver too, that is recording an exponential price growth due to increased investment in precious metals during the pandemic. The September Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) silver futures rose to Rs 61,130 per kg, recording a surge of 6.6 per cent.As for the precious metal trade in the international market, the spot gold prices reached its nine year highest, at $1865.81 per ounce, an increase of 1.3 per cent as compare to the previous trading session. The spot silver prices too, reached its seven year high in the international market at $22.83 per ounce, an increase of a whopping 7.3 per cent as compared to the previous trading session. “Gold has moved higher as demand was boosted by worries over a spike in COVID-19 cases and expectations of more stimulus measures. EU leaders agreed on a 750-billion-euro stimulus plan for regional economies hard-hit by the pandemic. The US is also working on a $1 trillion relief bill,” Jigar Trivedi, Research Analyst- Commodities Fundamental, Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers, was quoted as saying by Livemint. Standard & Poor’s Depositary Receipt (SPDR) Gold Trust, the biggest gold ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) of the world, said that its holdings surged by 0.7 per cent to 1,219.75 tonnes on Tuesday.Precious metals, especially the Gold is used as a ‘safe investment’ during the times of crisis looming uncertainties. Investors worldwide, are thus investing in the precious metals in the wake of rising Coronavirus cases and economic ramifications of the same.
7. Elon Musk owned SpaceX successfully launches South Korea’s first-ever military satellite:-
US Aerospace company SpaceX on Monday successfully launched South Korea’s first military communications satellite. The rocket carrying the communications satellite lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:30 pm (local time), July 20. A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellite ANASIS-II blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a statement. The satellite, built by Airbus Space and Defence, is intended to enhance the South’s ability to defend itself against the nuclear-armed North, which invaded in 1950. It supplements the Koreasat-5/ANASIS-I satellite, a combined civilian and military communications satellite launched in 2006. DAPA said the launch made South Korea the 10th country in the world to own a military-only communications satellite, which will provide “permanent and secured military communications”. The satellite is expected to reach its orbit of 36,000 kilometres in two weeks and South Korea’s military will take over the system in October after testing, it added.`Seoul is looking to ramp up its military capabilities as it pushes to end an arrangement under which, if war breaks out, American commanders will have authority over their combined forces.The satellite was “expected to improve the South Korean military’s independent operational capabilities”, an official at its defence ministry told Yonhap news agency.Seoul and Washington are security allies and the US stations 28,500 troops in the country. But their relationship has been strained in recent years, triggered by differences in their approaches to Pyongyang, and over cost-sharing responsibilities.
8. Centre extends work from home norms for IT, BPO companies till December 31 amid COVID-19 crisis:
With the number of coronavirus cases on an unabated spike across the country, the government has decided to extend connectivity norms for work from home for IT and BPO companies till December 31. The time period for work from home was expiring on July 31.”DoT has further extended the relaxations in the terms and conditions for other service providers up to 31st December 2020 to facilitate work from home in view of the ongoing concern due to COVID-19,” the Department of Telecommunications said in a late night tweet.Currently, around 85 per cent of the IT workforce is working from home and only those performing critical functions are going to offices.In March, the DoT relaxed certain norms for OSPs till April 30 to facilitate work from home (WFH) amid the coronavirus pandemic which was further extended till July 31. Wipro chairman Rishad Premji welcomed the move tweeting, “Thank you to the government for their tremendous support on the new ways of working from day 1. This has helped tremendously in further elevating our standing and responsiveness globally.” With the pandemic making work from home as a new normal, companies in India and across the world are planning to move to a blended working model where a percentage of employees will permanently work from home.
9. IPL 2020 set to be played in UAE; formal announcement soon:-
The United Arab Emirates will host the 13th edition of Indian Premier League, IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed to news agency ANI. Patel said that a formal announcement on the matter would be made when the body meets next. “We have applied for the government’s permission. We will discuss the further course of action in IPL General Council, Patel told the news agency. The decision to conduct the tournament in UAE comes a day after ICC’s move to postpone the T20 Mens cricket world cup.While BCCI has not released the schedule for the tournament. In all likelihood, the BCCI in consultation with the broadcaster may finalise either the September 26 to November 7 or the September 26 to November 14 window.With India’s caseload also exceeding the 10 lakh mark, including more than 26,000 deaths, the Indian cricket body hopes to get a green signal from the government of India to move the IPL outside India.”The IPL GC will meet within a week or 10 days and all decisions (including final schedule) will be taken there. As of now, the plan is to have a full-fledged IPL comprising 60 games and most likely in the UAE,” Patel told PTI.Asked about the main challenges in conducting the event in current scenario, Patel added: “Just the operational side of it. Whether you do it here or outside, it doesn’t matter (with no crowds).” The franchisees had already been working on their plans for the IPL even before the ICC announcement.With the majority of the Indian players not having access to grounds amid the pandemic, teams will need at least three to four weeks to get them match ready.Foreign players will fly directly to the UAE from their respective countries.”Our players will need at least three to four weeks of training, if not more. We will finalise all our plans once the BCCI announces the dates. It looks like the IPL will be in the UAE and we are ready for that,” a team owner told PTI.
  1. IPL 2020: BCCI to call IPL GC meet in 7-10 days, will seek govt’s permission to hold tournament:-    The suspense over the 13th edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) will likely end in seven to ten days as the body’s governing council will meet soon to discuss the scheduling of the tournament, confirmed IPL GC’s chairman Brijesh Patel.While speaking to news agency ANI, Patel said that the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) will also seek permission for the government to go ahead with 13th season of the IPL, adding that it will also look at the operational aspect.”We will continue to look at the coronavirus situation till September then we will decide whether we host the tournament in India or UAE. We have to take the permission of the government as it is mandatory,” Patel was quoted as saying by ANI.The 13th season of the IPL was slated to commence from March 29 in 2020 but was postponed after the central government imposed a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. However, with the cancellation of the ICC T20 World Cup in wake of the coronavirus crisis, the BCCI is now looking at the September and October window to hold the IPL. According to media reports, the IPL 2020 will be held in United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 26 to November 7. The BCCI, however, is yet to make an official confirmation on this yet as to where they are looking to host the tournament outside India. As of now, nothing has been decided. We are watching the situation very closely and keeping track as far as hosting of the IPL is concerned. We are exploring all options and some countries have offered to hold the IPL, UAE also. But we are going to wait and watch and will speak to the government.