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December 1, 2020
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December 3, 2020
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2nd December Current Affairs

One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance

In News:

Launched recently by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO).


This 20-member group comprises heads of states, current and former ministers of different countries, leaders from the private sector and civil society.

It is co-chaired by the prime ministers of Barbados and Bangladesh, Mia Mottley and Sheikh Hasina Wazed, respectively.

The heads of FAO, OIE and WHO are ex-officio members of the group.

Why was it created?

It seeks to catalyze global attention and action to preserve antimicrobial medicines and avert the disastrous consequences of antimicrobial resistance.

Functions of the group:

The group has to:

Monitor the global response to antimicrobial resistance.

Maintain public momentum.

Provide regular reports on the science and evidence related to AMR to the UN member states.

Advocate for the inclusion of AMR ‘lens’ in investments on agriculture, health, development, food and feed production.

Push for multi-stakeholder engagement on the issue.

China to build a major dam on Brahmaputra River

In News:

Amid simmering border tension with India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh, China is planning to build a major hydropower project on Brahmaputra River in Tibet and a proposal for this has been clearly put forward in the 14th Five-Year Plan to be implemented from next year.

Response from India and Bangladesh:

Proposals for dams on the Brahmaputra have evoked concerns in India and Bangladesh, the riparian states, and China has downplayed such anxieties saying it would keep their interests in mind.

What are India’s concerns?

China’s dam building overdrive is a concern because there are no bilateral or multilateral treaties on the water.

China believes dam building on the Brahmaputra helps it assert claim over Arunachal Pradesh.

India believes China’s projects in the Tibetan plateau threaten to reduce river flows into India.

Dams, canals, irrigation systems can turn water into a political weapon to be wielded in war, or during peace to signal annoyance with a co-riparian state.

Denial of hydrological data becomes critical when the flow in the river is very high.

China is contemplating northward re-routing of the Yarlung Zangbo.

Diversion of the Brahmaputra is an idea China does not discuss in public, because it implies devastating India’s northeastern plains and Bangladesh, either with floods or reduced water flow.

Significance of Brahmaputra river for India:

The Brahmaputra flows for over 3,000km through Tibet, India and Bangladesh.

It is crucial for India too as its basin is a critical water source for Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Nagaland and West Bengal.

The Brahmaputra valley supports the lives of several indigenous communities.

Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft carrying asteroid soil samples nears Earth

In News:

Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft left the asteroid Ryugu a year ago and is expected to reach Earth and drop a capsule containing the precious samples in southern Australia on December 6.


The soil samples and data from the asteroid could provide clues to the origins of the solar system.

Hayabusa2 project:

It is an asteroid sample-return mission operated by the Japanese space agency, JAXA.

It was launched on 3 December 2014 and rendezvoused with Ryugu on 27 June 2018.

It carried multiple science payloads for remote sensing, sampling, and four small rovers that will investigate the asteroid surface to inform the environmental and geological context of the samples collected.

The scientific objectives of Hayabusa2 mission are twofold:

To characterize the asteroid from remote sensing observations (with multispectral cameras, near-infrared spectrometer, thermal infrared imager, laser altimeter) on a macroscopic scale

To analyse the samples returned from the asteroid on a microscopic scale.

What is the significance of the mission?

Ryugu is a C-type asteroid – a relic from the early days of the Solar System. Scientists think that C-type asteroids contain both organic matter, and trapped water, and might have been responsible for bringing both to Earth, thereby providing the planet with the materials necessary for life to originate.

Dry Swab-Direct RT-PCR method

In News:

To ramp up COVID-19 testing, ICMR approves dry swab-direct RT-PCR method.

It has been Developed by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).

First, let us understand how the conventional method works?

In the conventional testing method, nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab samples collected are generally placed in a liquid called Viral Transport Medium (VTM).

To avoid leakage, they are packed heavily that adds on to sample processing times at both the sample collection and testing centres.

What is Dry Swab-Direct RT-PCR method?

This is a simple variation of the existing gold standard RT-PCR method.

This method involves collecting and transporting the nasal swab in dry state which makes the transportation and handling of the samples easy and less prone to spillage and spread of infection.

In this method, the step of RNA isolation from the sample has been omitted, and it involves only simple processing of the sample followed by direct RT-PCR using the kit recommended by the ICMR.


Cost effective.

Easy to implement with no requirement of new kits.

Existing manpower can perform this with no additional training.

Can ramp up the testing capacity in the country quickly