Advisory on use of Hydroxychloroquine revised
The Indian Council of Medical Research has revised its advisory on the use of HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine). Under the new advisory guidelines, the HCQ should be given only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.
The advisory was issued after the Joint Monitoring Group held its meeting. The meeting was attended by ICMR, NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization) and National Disaster Management Authority.
The new advisories included the following
The advisory has included three new categories to whom HCQ shall be prescribed as prophylactic treatment. They are as follows
Asymptomatic Health care workers working in non-COVID hospitals
Asymptomatic frontline workers that include workers employed in containment zones
Paramilitary and police personnel
The In-Vitro testing of HCQ has showed reduction of infectivity of COVID-19.
The drug is not prescribed for children under 15 years of age.
The use of HCQ on high risk population has also been revised.
The drug has to be provided only through prescription of a medical practitioner. Initially the use of the drug was allowed in asymptomatic patients without prescriptions.
Why were the advisories revised?
The data on assessment of using HCQ as prophylactic treatment says the following
Around 1,323 health care workers faced mild adverse effects
Some faced nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain.
Some other health care worker faced cardio-vascular effects as well.
Treaty on Open Skies
The US President Donald Trump recently announced that USA is to withdraw from Open Skies treaty.
About the Treaty:
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 2002. The treaty established an aerial surveillance system for its participants. There are 34 members that signed the treaty. Both US and Russia are signatories of the treaty.
Key Features of the treaty:
The treaty establishes an region of unarmed aerial observation. The observation is allowed over the territories of the signatories. It enhances mutual understanding and gives confidence to all participants.
The treaty is considered as one of the most wide-ranging arms control effort that promotes transparency and openness amongst military forces.
What is the issue?
The US President has announced withdrawal from the treaty accusing that Russia has not stuck to its part of the deal. This is the third international arms pact the US has pulled out from since Donald Trump became the president.
The US also claims that Russia in the intention of annexing Crimean peninsula has designated an Open Skies refueling airfield in the region.
The signatory countries of the treaty include UK, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Finland, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, Belgium, Belarus, Croatia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Czech republic, Estonia, Denmark, Georgia, Finland, Russia, Iceland, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine and Slovenia.
Kyrgyzstan is the only country that has not ratified the treaty
India has similar treaty with Japan. India and Japan signed open sky agreement in 2017. India signed the agreement in accordance with National Civil Aviation Policy, 2016.
Monetary Policy Committee meets: Repo rate reduces to 4%
The policy committee met in an emergency meeting to review the current economic outlook and impacts of COVID-19.
The RBI has reduced the repo rate from 4.4% to 4%. It has reduced the reverse repo rate to 3.35%. The RBI also announced that the reduction in policy rate is to be provided as long as the economic growth in the country is to be mitigated.
Current Economic Scenario:
The global trade is declining and the world is heading towards recession. The Indian Economic growth is also slowing down to a great extent in spite of GoI trying to infuse liquidity in to the market. The top six industrialized states that account to 60% of industrial production in the country now falls in red zone. This will affect India’s growth further as economic activities in red zones are not being operationalized to its fullest.
The rural and urban demand has been falling down. The manufacturing activity in the country has fallen down by 21% post COVID-19. Also, the output from core industries has fell by 6.5%.
Measures of RBI:
RBI has announced 4 major economic measures to boost the economy. This includes measures to improve functioning of markets, measures to ease financial stress, measures to support exports and imports and measures to ease financial constraints faced by the state governments.
The measures are as follows:
RBI will provide another 90-day extension to offer loan facilities.
Rs 15,000 crore line of credit allocated to EXIM banks
RBI has increased export credit period from 12 months to 15 months.
The term loan moratium has been extended till August 31.
The group exposure limit of the banks has increased from 25% to 30%.
The rules of Consolidated Sinking Funds have been relaxed. This will enable states to meet 45% of redemption of their market borrowing.
WHO adopts “Human Challenge Trial” to develop new vaccine
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced eight candidates to enter human trials. Several people step forward to participate in human challenge trial as the race to develop new vaccine for the virus is increasing.
The trial involves infecting volunteers intentionally with COVID-19 virus. This is done to speed up the process of vaccine development.
The Vaccine development takes several years to develop through three phases of clinical trials. This includes
Phase 1: During this phase small groups of people receive the vaccine
Phase 2: Vaccine is given to those people whose characteristics are similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended.
Phase 3: Vaccine is given to several thousands to test the safety and efficacy. During this phase, the participants either receive placebo or vaccine. Placebo is something that looks like treatment but is not in reality. It can be a sugar solution or saline.
The Human Challenge Trial is not new. Earlier, similar trials were conducted for malaria as well.
The main benefit of the human challenge trial is that it accelerates testing. Many efficacious vaccines shall be available more quickly. Also, the number of people required in phase 3 of these trials is less than the regular trials.
Mizoram provides industrial status to Sports
The Mizoram State Government has recently provided industrial status to Sports. This has been done by the government to attract investment in the Sports industry.
The Mizoram Government is framing new industrial policy under which the sports have been included as sports category. The State of Mizoram is known for its great interests towards sports. Of all the footballers in the north east states, Mizoram has pool of football players that play in leading clubs of India. The state has also done extremely well in hockey and weightlifting as well.
Apart from these games, Mizoram is also known for its great interests and achievements in wrestling and other indigenous games such as relay eaces using bamboo (Kalchhet kal), Insuknawra (rod pushing), Inarpathai (cock fighting), etc.
Indian Super League:
Indian Super League is considered as one of the top football leagues in India. At least 150 players in the league are from Mizoram. The league was launched in 2013 with the aim of growing the sport of football in India.
The league was first launched by the all India football Federation, Star Sports and Reliance.
World Steel report: India’s steel output declined by 65%
The World Steel Association released the World Steel Report. According to the report, the crude steel report of India declined by 65%. During April 2020, the steel output of India was 3.13 million tonnes.
In April 2019, according to the report, India produced 9.02 million tonnes. In March 2020, India faced a decline of 14% steel output as compared to March 2019.
The report also says that the global steel output declined by 13%. In April 2019, the global steel output was 157.67 million tonnes. In April 2020, the output declined to 137.09 million tonnes.
Key Findings of the report:
China has reported 1.7% fall in steel production. This is the first time China is facing an output decline. US faced a decline of 32%. South Korea’s steel production declined by 8.4%.
The other global steel producers such as European Union, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Russia, Ukraine and Brazil also faced decline in their output.
National Steel Policy:
India is currently operating under its National Steel Policy 2017. Under the policy, India is to increase its steel production to 300 million tonnes by 2030. It alsi aims to make India self-sufficient in steel. It also aims to build a globally competitive steel industrial output in the country.