Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    R21/Matrix M

    • The new vaccine candidate, called R21/Matrix M, is a modified version of RTS, S.
      • RTS, S is another candidate against malaria that has been in development for more than 30 years ago.
      • It is the first, and the only, vaccine to reduce malaria in children. But it is not highly efficacious.
    • R21/Matrix M has been developed by scientists at the University of Oxford.
    • This vaccine is designed to stop the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite from entering the liver and preventing the subsequent deadly blood stages.
    • Trial Status: It showed up to 77% efficacy in phase 2b clinical trials in the year-long trial of 450 children in Burkina Faso.
    • Researchers working together with Serum Institute of India (SII ) &  US vaccine maker Novavax.

    Ayush-64

    • It is a polyherbal formulation, developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), the apex body for research in Ayurveda under the Ministry of Ayush. 
    • It was originally developed in 1980 for the management of Malaria.
    • This drug has now been repurposed for Covid 19 as its ingredients showed notable antiviral, immune-modulator and antipyretic properties. 
      • It is found useful in the treatment of asymptomatic, mild and moderate COVID-19 infection as an adjunct to standard care.

    Moorhen Yoga Mat

    • Six young girls from the fishing community in Assam have developed a unique biodegradable yoga mat, called Moorhen Yoga Mat. 
      • The intervention was triggered through an initiative by North East Centre For
      • Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR), an autonomous body under the Department of Science & Technology (DST)to involve the entire women community associated with a collective called ‘Simang’ meaning dream, led by the 6 girls.
    • The ‘Moorhen Yoga mat’ named after Kam Sorai (Purple moorhen, a resident bird of Deepor Beel Wildlife sanctuary), comes in a cotton canvas cloth bag where no zip or metal closures are used. 
      • The bag has an adjustable strap and closures effectively designed to be in sync with biodegradability.
    • It has been developed from water hyacinth.
    • It could contribute significantly towards the environmental conservation and sustainability of Deepor Beel and also ensure local livelihood.

                             Image Courtesy: PIB

    Deepor Beel

    • Deepor Beel (Beel means wetland or large aquatic body in Assamese) is located about 10 km Southwest of Guwahati.
    • It is considered one of the largest and important riverine wetlands in the Brahmaputra Valley of lower Assam, India.
    • It is an open lake basin connected with a set of inflow and outflow channels.

    Significance:

    • It has both biological and environmental importance besides being the only major storm-water storage basin for Guwahati.
    • It is considered one of the staging sites for migratory birds in India and some of the large congregations of aquatic birds in Assam during winter.

    Conservation 

    • It was designated a Ramsar site in 2002 for sustaining a range of aquatic life forms besides 219 species of birds.
      • A Ramsar Site is a wetland designated to be of international importance under the Convention on Wetlands, held at the Iranian city of Ramsar in February 1971.
    • Due to the richness of avian fauna it enjoyed, it has been selected as one of the Important Bird Area (IBA) sites by Birdlife International.

    Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-III)

    • The Department of Food and Public Distribution has started its implementation for May and June 2021.
    • It is part of Atmanirbhar Bharat with an aim to supply free food grains to migrants and the poor.
    • Under the scheme, 5 kgs of wheat or rice and 1 kg of pulses per month will be given free of cost to the poor, over and above their regular monthly entitlements.
    • The Government will bear the entire cost in PMGKAY-III, without any sharing by States/UTs.
    • It covers about 80 crore beneficiaries under both categories of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, namely Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH).

    Asiatic Lions

    • Scientific Name: Panthera leo persica
    • Habitat: Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat is the only abode.
    • Features
      • Slightly smaller than African lions.
      • Males have only moderate mane growth at the top of the head so that their ears are always visible.
      • Most striking morphological character is a longitudinal fold of skin running along the belly.
    • Threats
      • Poaching & habitat fragmentation.
      • Man-animal Conflict.
      • Genetic inbreeding.
    • Conservation Efforts
      • Asiatic Lion Conservation Project of MoEFCC.
      • Re-introducing the species to other places.
    • Protection Status
      • IUCN Red List: Endangered.
      • Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule I.
      • CITES: Appendix I. 
    • Recently, 8 Asiatic lions tested positive for Covid-19, perhaps the first known case of the human infecting the felines in India.

    (WWFI)

    Crimson Solar Project

    • It is a major solar energy project in the California desert of the US.
    • It will cost around USD 550 million and will be sited on 2,000 acres of federal land west of Blythe, California.
    • It will be capable of powering nearly 90,000 homes.
    • The move is in line with the development of renewable energy projects on the public lands of the country
      • Projects such as solar energy in California will help in making the US a global leader in the clean energy economy.
    • It features 350 MW of solar photovoltaic facility and 350 MW of energy storage system.