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  • It is India’s first COVID vaccine candidate approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
  • Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine created from a strain of the infectious SARS COV-2 virus.
  • It is the first vaccine that has got approval of the drug controller for phase 1 and II human clinical trials.
  • A vaccine usually goes through three phases of human trials. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approvals for phase I and II trials so far. According to details from CTRI, BBIL in its application estimated phase I and II trials to take a year and three months, including at least a month for phase I alone
  • India’s indigenous coronavirus vaccine being developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has entered the first phase of human trials. While the Phase-1 human clinical trials for Covaxin has already begun at the Nizams Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad, AIIMS Delhi has recruited candidates who would undergo trials.
  • The company is also involved in the development of CoroFlu, a nasal vaccine for COVID-19, as part of an international collaboration of virologists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and vaccine firm FluGen.

Annual TB Report 2020:

  • The Annual TB Report is prepared and published by the Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI.
  • 04 lakh notified TB patients in 2019 in India, which is a 14% increase from 2018.
  • Reduction in the number of missing cases to 2.9 lakh cases as against more than 10 lakhs in 2017.
  • Private sector notifications increased by 35% with 6.78 lakh TB patients notified.
  • Proportion of children diagnosed with TB increased to 8% in 2019 compared to 6% in 2018.
  • Provision of HIV testing for all notified TB patients increased from 67% in 2018 to 81% in 2019.
  • Expansion of treatment services has resulted in a 12% improvement in the treatment success rate of notified patients. For 2019, it is 81% compared to 69% in 2018.

Diabetes Retinopathy:

  • The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) and Shri Sankaradeva Nethralaya Guwahati, have jointly developed a testing device to detect diabetic retinopathy at an early stage without the need of invasive testing.
  • The device comprises a small plate containing microchannels for guidance of fluids. The team has also filed an Indian patent for this idea and device.
  • Diabetic retinopathy is a serious non-communicable disease in India. It is caused by abnormal growth in the retinal blood vessels in people with diabetes and is usually worsened when the person is on insulin for diabetic treatment.
  • Currently, the first step in the test for diabetic retinopathy is an invasive eye exam, in which the eyes are dilated and the ophthalmologist inspects the eye.

This Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020:

  • It is a joint initiative of MHRD’s Innovation Cell (MIC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and supported by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), MyGov as well as private players.
  • This Hackathon is first of its kind National initiative for supporting drug discovery process and will see participation from professionals, faculty, researchers and students from varied fields like Computer Science, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Medical Sciences, Basic Sciences and Biotechnology.
  • The Hackathon consists of challenges that are posted as problem statements and, are based on specific drug discovery topics which, are open to the participants to solve. A total of 29 Problem Statements (PS) have been identified.
  • MyGov portal is being used and any Indian student can participate.
  • Professionals and researchers from anywhere in the world can participate.
  • TheHackathon will have three Tracks.Track 1 will primarily deal with drug design for anti-COVID-19 hit/lead generation: this is done using tools such as molecular modelling, pharmacophore optimization, molecular docking, hit/lead optimization, etc.
  • Track 2 will deal with designing/optimizing new tools and algorithms which will have an immense impact on expediting the process of in silico drug discovery.
  • There is also a third track called “Moon shot “which allows for working on problems which are ‘out of the box’ nature.