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RSTV: SCIENCE MONITOR 11.07.2020

RSTV


Nano coated filter by IIT- Madras:

  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras Researchers have developed a nano-coated filter media for healthcare workers treating COVID-19 Patients.
  • This filter has applications not only in healthcare but also has defence applications and other places where air filtration of submicron particles is required.
  • This nano-coated filter media has been fabricated by a nylon-based polymer coating on cellulose paper and was developed through the electrospinning process. The coating properties are optimized for efficient removal of sub-micron sized dust particles in the air.
  • The nano-coated filter media is in the process of being field tested in practical applications. Upon validation through field trials, it will be recommended for bulk manufacturing through industry collaborations.
  • This pioneering work is funded by Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) for defence applications and due to its high potential for the need of the hour, it is repositioned in health care applications.
  • The Practical Applications of this nano-coated filter media include:
    • Face masks with an enhanced particle filtration efficiency
    • Respirator devices
    • Air purification system in operation theatres of hospitals
    • Cabin air filters for the comfort and health of air passengers
    • Air filters for the armoured vehicle engines
    • Computer hard disk drive filters, and
    • Pneumatic equipment.
  • The current status of project is that the researchers are trying to optimize the coating parameters of nanomaterials for bulk manufacturing at an affordable cost and testing the antiviral properties for broader utilization in various applications. Also, attempts are being made to develop composite nano-coated filter media having more than one nanomaterial coating with the possibility of manufacturing multi-layered masks.

ZyCoV-D:

  • Zydus has already manufactured clinical good manufacturing practice (GMP) batches of the vaccine candidate and plans to initiate the clinical trials in July 2020 across multiple sites in India in over 1,000 subjects.
  • ZyCoV-D, developed at the company’s Vaccine Technology Centre in Ahmedabad, has now received permission from the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) – Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to initiate phase I/II human clinical trials in India, Cadila Healthcare said in a regulatory filing.
  • In animal studies, the vaccine was found to elicit a strong immune response in multiple animal species like mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits. The antibodies produced by the vaccine were able to completely neutralise the wild type virus in virus neutralisation assay indicating the protective potential of the vaccine candidate, it said.
  • It further said no safety concerns were observed for the vaccine candidate in repeat-dose toxicology studies by both intramuscular and intradermal routes of administration. In rabbits, up to three times the intended human dose was found to be safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic.
  • The company claimed that the vaccine candidate has no vector response and with the absence of any infectious agent, the platform provides ease of manufacturing the vaccine with minimal biosafety requirements.
  • It is also known to show much-improved vaccine stability and lower cold chain requirements making it easy for transportation to remotest parts of the country, it said.
  • The company now intends to rapidly ramp up the production capacities of ZyCoV-D at multiple sites and facilities to cater to Indian and global demand.

World Zoonoses Day:

  • It is held every year on July 6. The day commemorates July 6, 1885, when Louis Pasteur successfully administered the first vaccine against Rabies virus, a zoonotic disease. Theme day raises awareness for the risk of zoonotic diseases.
  • Zoonoses are infectious diseases (virus, bacteria and parasites) that can be spread from animals to humans, and vice versa. Zoonoses can spread from direct contact with animals or indirectly, vector-borne or food-borne.
  • Zoonotic diseases are very common, for example tick-borne encephalitis and borreliosis. But also many foodborne infectious diseases like salmonella, Yersinia, EHEC, botulism or campylobacter are all also zoonoses.
  • How to avoid zoonotic diseases?
    • Good hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and clean water
    • Preventive clothing for bites from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas
    • Store and handle food safely and cook properly
    • Avoid bites and scratches from animals

Air Borne transmission on coronavirus:

  • After hundreds of experts urged the World Health Organization to review mounting scientific research, the agency acknowledged that airborne transmission of the coronavirus may be a threat in indoor spaces.
  • H.O. expert committees are going over evidence on transmission of the virus and plan to release updated recommendations in a few days, agency scientists said in a news briefing.
  • The possibility of airborne transmission, especially in “crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings, cannot be ruled out,” said the W.H.O.’s committee on infection prevention and control.
  • The agency recommends “appropriate and optimal ventilation” of indoor environments, as well as physical distancing.