Facts in News


    Facts in News



    • A special water harvesting structure is called surangam
    • It is a horizontal well mostly excavated in hard laterite rock formations
    • The excavation continues until a good amount of water is struck. 
    • Water seeps out of the hard rock and flows out of the tunnel. 
      • This water is usually collected in an open pit constructed outside the surangam
    • Surangams are similar to qantas which once existed in Mesopotamia and Babylon around 700 Before Common Era. 
      • By 714 BCE, this technology had spread to Egypt, Persia and India
    • It resembles karez both in structure and spread. 
    • This system has been very effectively used for domestic and agriculture purposes in dry areas of northern Malabar.
    • It is usually found in northern Kerala and southern Karnataka.

    Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus( MERS?CoV)


    • Recently ,Saudi Arabia has reported 2,578 cases of MERS-CoV and 888 deaths from 2012 till July this year

    About MERS-CoV

    • It was discovered in 2012. The first case was detected in Saudi Arabia. 
    • It is a zoonotic virus, which means it is transmitted between animals and people.
    • Origin 
      • The origins of the virus are not fully understood but according to the analysis of different virus genomes, it is believed that it may have originated in bats and later transmitted to camels at some point in the distant past.
      • MERS-CoV has been identified in dromedaries in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
    • Transmission 
      • Humans are infected through direct or indirect contact with infected dromedary camels.
      • Human-to-human transmission is possible, but only a few such transmissions have been found among family members living in the same household.
    •  Mortality rate:
      • MERS-CoV has a high mortality rate; nearly 35 per cent of those infected with it have died. 
    • Vaccine and Treatment 
      • No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available, however, several MERS-CoV specific vaccines and treatments are in development.
      •  Treatment is supportive and based on the patient’s clinical condition.

    ZyCov-D vaccine

    • Recently, the Drug Controller General has granted emergency approval to the Zycov-D making it the first vaccine in India that can be administered to adults as well as those 12 and above. 
    • This is the fifth vaccine, after Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik V and Moderna to be approved for use in India.


    • It is a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Ahmedabad based Zydus Cadila group.
    • ZyCoV-D is a plasmid DNA vaccine that produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 and elicits an immune response mediated by the cellular (T lymphocytes immunity) and humoral (antibody-mediated immunity) arms of the human immune system.
    • It’s also the only DNA-based vaccine in the world.
    • It is an intradermal vaccine, applied using a ‘needle-free injector’. 
      • Zydus claims the needle-free system can lead to a?significant reduction in side effects.


                                            Image Courtesy:TH

    Effectiveness of vaccine

    • Interim results from Phase-III Clinical Trials, in July, in over 28,000 volunteers, showed a primary efficacy of 66.6 % for symptomatic RT-PCR positive cases
      • This has been the largest vaccine trial so far in India for COVID-19. 
    • This vaccine had already exhibited robust immunogenicity and tolerability and safety profile in the adaptive Phase I/II clinical trials carried out earlier. 
      • Both the Phase I/II and Phase III clinical trials have been monitored by an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB).

    Arogya Dhara 2.0

    • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has inaugurated Arogya Dhara 2.0 to increase the reach of Ayushman Bharat – Jan Arogya Yojana and create more awareness about the scheme.


    • On the occasion, the minister launched three initiatives namely:
      • Adhikar Patra: It will be issued to the beneficiaries when they will be hospitalised for treatment under the PM-JAY scheme. This patra will make beneficiaries aware of their rights in a way that they can claim free and cashless health care services.
      • Ayushman Mitra:  It is an initiative launched to encourage citizens to participate in motivating eligible beneficiaries to get verified under the PM-JAY scheme. It also seeks to help beneficiaries to get the Ayushman Cards issued.
      • Abhinandan Patra: It is a ‘thank you note’ and will be issued to the beneficiaries when beneficiaries will be discharged after their treatment under PM-JAY.

    Ayushman Bharat – Jan Arogya Yojana

    • It is a flagship scheme of the Government of India.
    • It was launched in September 2018 as recommended by the National Health Policy 2017, to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
    • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme having a central sector component under Ayushman Bharat Mission
    • It is the world’s largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the government providing a cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

    Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana


    • Recently, the Odisha government has launched the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart card scheme.
    • Aim: The scheme will provide cashless healthcare coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh for nearly 96 lakh families in the state. The expense limit for women beneficiaries under BSKY is Rs 10 lakh.
      • Smart cardholders will get cashless health coverage in more than 200 empanelled hospitals in the state.