It is a part of the Government of India outreach to the Indian Ocean countries amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Indian Naval Ship Kesari departed for Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, to provide Food Items, COVID related Medicines including HCQ Tablets and Special Ayurvedic Medicines with Medical Assistance Teams.
- This deployment as ‘Mission Sagar’, is in line with India’s role as the first responder in the region and builds on the excellent relations existing between these countries to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant difficulties.
- The deployment is in consonance with the Prime Ministers vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her neighbouring countries and further strengthens the existing bond.
- The operation is being progressed in close coordination with the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.
National Technology Day
India recently observed the 29th National Technology Day on 11th March, 2020.
What is ‘National Technology Day’?
- It was first observed on 11 May, 1999.
- It aims to commemorate the scientific and technological achievements of Indian scientists and engineers.
- The day was named by the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- Every year, the Technology Development Board of India (a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology) celebrates the day by awarding individuals with National Award for their contribution to science and technology in India.
- The focus this year is ‘Rebooting the economy through Science and Technology.’
- It is the day India successfully tested nuclear bombs in Pokhran on May 11, 1998.
- India successfully test-fired its Shakti-1 nuclear missile in operation called Pokhran-II, also codenamed as Operation Shakti.
- The nuclear missile was tested at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan. This was the second test which was conducted after Pokhran-I codenamed Operation Smiling Buddha, in May 1974.
- On the same day, India performed a successful test firing of the Trishul Missile (surface to air short range missile) and had test flown the first indigenous aircraft – ‘Hansa – 3’.
More than a hundred women and indigenous Toda artisans from the Nilgiris are producing thousands of stylish, embroidered masks for local residents, police and sanitary workers.
About Toda Tribe –
- Toda Tribe is a pastoral tribe of the Nilgiri Hills of southern India.
- The Toda language is Dravidian but is the most unusual and different among the languages belonging to the Dravidian family.
- They live in settlements of from three to seven small thatched houses.
- They traditionally trade dairy products, as well as cane and bamboo articles, with the other Nilgiri peoples.
- The traditional Toda dress is a distinctive shawl which is called putukuli. In the Toda language it is called pohor. It enjoys a ‘Geographical Indication Tag’.
- The embroidery is done by Toda women and has distinctive red and black (and occasionally blue) thread work in geometric designs on unbleached white cotton fabric.
The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, has developed an immunological assay – enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) – to detect antibodies that the body develops in response to infection by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.
What is ELISA?
- The test will detect antibodies in blood samples. ELISA is routinely used for detecting HIV infection.
- While ELISA tests for coronavirus are already available in other countries, procuring them in large numbers may be a challenge, particularly during a pandemic. In contrast, availability will be a non-issue when a locally developed test is manufactured in India.
- The ELISA test will be used to screen 30,000 samples from 75 hotspot districts to understand the extent of spread of the virus in the community.
- Since the ELISA test is based on detection of antibodies, it can only help in knowing if the person has been previously infected by coronavirus.
- Since it detects antibodies, even people who have remained symptom free (asymptomatic) during the entire course of the infection will test positive.
- While the RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test, which detects the RNA of the coronavirus, enables detection of current infection, it will not be useful if the testing is carried out days after the infection clears as the virus will no longer be present.
- However, antibodies developed in response to the coronavirus infection will be present in the blood for a longer duration and hence the ELISA test can help detect past infection.
About National Institute of Virology –
- The National Institute of Virology is one of the major Institutes of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). It was established at Pune (Maharashtra) in 1952 as Virus Research Centre (VRC) under the auspices of the ICMR and the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), USA.
- It was an outcome of the global programme of the RF for investigating the Arthropod Borne viruses.
- The RF withdrew its support in 1967 and since then the Institute is entirely funded by the ICMR.
- The Institute was designated as one of the collaborating laboratories of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1967 and it started functioning as the regional centre of the WHO for South-East Asia for arbovirus studies from 1969.
- In view of its expanded scope and activities, the VRC was re-designated as the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in 1978.