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14 April Current Affairs

Warning on Scarcity of Drugs and Medical Devices

In News:

Recently, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has warned of a nationwide shortage of medicines and medical devices.

Details:

It has urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to take immediate steps to help the drug makers resume production under the current lockdown.

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had also written to all State Chief Secretaries on the problems faced by the pharma firms.

Key Points:

The Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers is entrusted with ensuring the seamless production and distribution of critical life-saving medicines in the wake of the lockdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

On an average, drug and medical device makers are functioning at only 20%-30% of their full capacity during the lockdown.

Production units engaged in making essential commodities, including medicines, vaccines, masks and their ancillaries have been exempted from the restrictions imposed as per the national lockdown.

If the production will not reach the pre-lockdown level soon, it would lead to shortages of medicines and medical devices in the coming weeks.

Both in the public and private sector, the seamless functioning of pharma manufacturing and distribution units is crucial in dealing with the crisis.

A helpline has been created for pharma producers’ operational complaints, which are also being referred to State Drug Controllers for suitable intervention.

Challenges :-

1) Export of Indian pharmaceuticals offer a better price in global markets which can lead to disproportionate shortages in the domestic market.

2) Restrictions on mobility and production in several states.

3) Unavailability of labour, transport and courier services.

4) Reverse migration (from cities to sub-urban/rural areas) of labour and local workers.

5) Lack of public transport options and the fear of police action.

6) Drivers have left their trucks on highways fearing stoppage of vehicles on State, district and city borders and lack of food and diesel on the route.

7) Closure of ancillary industries which are not being considered essential by few local administrations.

They supply packaging material, excipients (required for tablets and capsules manufacturing), utility consumables like briquettes/gases (required to run boilers) and spare parts.

Yanomami Tribe

In News:

Recently, a Yanomami indigenous boy died in Brazil after contracting Covid-19, raising fears for the Amazon tribes.

Key Points:

Brazil is home to an estimated 8,00,000 indigenous people from more than 300 ethnic groups.

Guarani, Kaingang, Pataxó Hã Hã Hãe Tupinambá, Yanomami, Tikuna and Akuntsu are popular tribe of Amazon.

Yanomami Tribe :-

Yanomami, also called South American Indians, live in the remote forest of the Orinoco River basin in southern Venezuela and the northernmost reaches of the Amazon River basin in northern Brazil.

They numbered around 27,000 individuals throughout their range.

Yanomami live in small, scattered, semi permanent villages and speak the Xirianá language.

They practice hunting and slash-and-burn agriculture.

It can be noted that recently, a Brazilian indigenous leader Davi Kopenawa who secured the land rights of the Yanomami people was awarded the Right Livelihood Award-2019, also known as Sweden’s alternative Nobel Prize.

Neighboring Rights Law

In News:

The French competition regulator has asked Google to negotiate with publishers and news agencies the remuneration due to them under the law relating to neighboring rights.

Details:

The French regulator has announced that Google must start paying media for sharing their content, as its practices had caused serious harm to the press sector.

The order is an interim decision. Though the order is only for the French press, it has global ramifications for Google and the press, as it can set a legal precedent and shape the discourse around the economics of news on the net.

The neighboring rights law that came into force on 24th July, 2019 in France aims to set the conditions for a balanced negotiation between publishers, news agencies and digital platforms, in order to redefine, in favour of press publishers and news agencies, the sharing of the value between these actors.

Neighboring Rights :-

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), related rights, also referred to as neighboring rights, protect the legal interests of certain persons and legal entities that contribute to making works available to the public or that produce subject matter which, while not qualifying as works under the copyright systems of all countries, contains sufficient creativity or technical and organizational skill to justify recognition of a copyright-like property right.

Traditionally, related rights have been granted to three categories of beneficiaries:

  1. a) Performers (actors/musicians);
  2. b) Producers of sound recordings (also referred to as phonograms); and
  3. c) Broadcasting organizations.

False Negative Tests: A Concern

In News:

Recently, there have been concerns about the manner in which some Covid-19 patients have apparently relapsed due to false negative tests.

They have been tested positive only a few days after testing negative.

False Negative Test:

There is a possibility that the virus does not show up in the first test because patients have not rid themselves of the virus. However, on testing again, the virus shows up and the patients test positive.

According to the research on the subject of false negative tests, no lab test is 100% accurate.

Although the tests based on detection of genetic material are very sensitive, they can be negative sometimes. Therefore, scientists and researchers have to constantly deal with the positive and negative predictive values.

Possible Reasons:

  1. a) The swab is not obtained or processed correctly or maybe obtained too early.

An initial swab sample may not always collect enough genetic material to provide an accurate test.

This problem may arise more often in patients who do not show many symptoms at the time of their test.

  1. b) The test runs badly due to some technical glitch.
  2. c) The virus may shed in different amounts and is probably not present in the nose while the swab is collected.

If the infection is in the lung, then a nose swab may not detect it.

According to a study on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) respiratory swabs can be negative, but faeces may test positive in tests done at the same time which proves that the virus can exist in the body even if not in the nose at a given time.

SATYAM: Yoga Against Viruses

In News:

Recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has initiated the Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM) programme.

Details:

Under SATYAM, DST has invited proposals to study appropriate intervention of yoga and meditation in fighting Covid-19 and similar kinds of viruses.

Key Points:

Objective: DST is encouraging scientists, clinicians and experienced practitioners of yoga and meditation, with a proven track record, to submit concept notes on the proposal covering:

1) Aims and objectives of proposed work.

2) Existing literature.

3) Methodology.

4) Expected outcome.

5) Budget requirement.

6) Details of host institutions along with detailed bio-data of the principal investigator with latest publications included in scientific journal databases.

Aim:

To provide assistance to society in today’s critical condition arising due to pandemic Covid-19.

This is a need-based call, therefore, proposed work should be completed within 6-12 months.

Dimensions of Covid: Covid-19 usually has three dimensions, related to:

1) Stress (worry, sitting at home).

2) Respiratory.

3) Immune system.

Scientific Investigation:  The effects of yoga and meditation on the life of a person during such stressful times have to be scientifically investigated.

Remote Monitor for Covid-19 Cases

In News:

Recently, Bharat Electronics Ltd. and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Rishikesh, have jointly developed a remote patient health monitoring system.

Key Points:

Use: The remote patient health monitoring system can be installed at homes or hospitals premises to reduce the risk of exposure to healthcare workers to Covid-19 while attending to persons undergoing isolation.

Features: The device has non-invasive sensors and it measures temperature, pulse rate, saturated oxygen level, and respiration rate.

It shows the severity of the patient’s condition in different colour codes.

Benefit: The system is expected to reduce the increasing demand of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and logistics.

The system will also help to generate hot spots using the system’s data analytics software so that authorities can contain these zones.

Functioning: A mobile app and Web browser have been developed. People who show symptoms of infection get enrolled with AIIMS – Rishikesh.

The hospital will assess their complaints and if found necessary, will provide these individuals with a kit to help monitor their health parameters regularly.

Patient health parameters, along with patient location, are uploaded on a regular basis to a Centralised Command & Control Centre (CCC) on cloud using either the patient’s mobile phone or integral GSM SIM card.

 

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