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Current Affairs 08 July 2023


  1. Anti-Microbial Resistance
  2. Tomato Mosaic Virus and Cucumber Mosaic Virus
  3. Smart Bandage
  4. Naegleria fowleri : Brain-eating amoeba
  5. Global Peace Index

Anti-Microbial Resistance


Four prominent multilateral agencies, namely the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), World Health Organization (WHO), and World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), have jointly unveiled a priority research agenda aimed at combating the pressing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This research agenda is rooted in the One Health approach.


GS-III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?
  2. Concerns regarding Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  3. The ‘One Health’ Approach

What is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites to remain unaffected or survive antimicrobial drugs such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials.
  • AMR occurs when microorganisms exposed to antimicrobial drugs develop antimicrobial resistance resulting in standard treatments becoming ineffective leading to persistence of infections and spreading of infections.
  • Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”.
  • The misuse of antimicrobials in medicine and inappropriate use in agriculture is one of the major causes of spread of Antimicrobial Resistance.
  • Contamination around pharmaceutical manufacturing sites where untreated waste releases large amounts of active antimicrobials into the environment also leads to spread of AMR.
Basis of Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Some bacteria due to the presence of resistance genes are intrinsically resistant and therefore survive on being exposed to antibiotics.
  • Bacteria can also acquire resistance by sharing and transferring resistance genes present in the rest of the population, or by genetic mutations that help the bacteria survive antibiotic exposure.
Multi drug resistance
  • Multiple drug resistance (MDR), multidrug resistance or multi-resistance is antimicrobial resistance shown by a species of microorganism to multiple antimicrobial drugs.
  • The types most threatening to public health are MDR bacteria that resist multiple antibiotics; other types include MDR viruses, parasites (resistant to multiple antifungals, antiviral, and antiparasitic drugs of a wide chemical variety).
  • Recognizing different degrees of MDR, the terms extensively drug resistant (XDR) and pandrug-resistant (PDR) have been introduced.

Concerns regarding Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

  • Medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and major surgery (for example, caesarean sections or hip replacements) become very risky due to AMR.
  • AMR increases the cost of healthcare with lengthier stays in hospitals, additional tests and use of more expensive drugs.
  • No new classes of antibiotics have made it to the market in the last three decades, largely on account of inadequate incentives for their development and production.
  • Without urgent action, we are heading towards a future without antibiotics and with bacteria becoming completely resistant to treatment and when common infections and minor injuries could once again kill (referred to as antibiotic apocalypse).
  • It is putting the gains of the Millennium Development Goals at risk and endangers achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Concerns regarding AMR in India
  • India, with its combination of large population, rising incomes that facilitate purchase of antibiotics, high burden of infectious diseases and easy over-the-counter access to antibiotics, is an important locus for the generation of resistance genes.
  • The multi-drug resistance determinant, New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1), emerged from this region to spread globally – Africa, Europe and other parts of Asia have also been affected by multi-drug resistant typhoid originating from South Asia.
  • In India, over 56,000 newborn deaths each year due to sepsis are caused by organisms that are resistant to first line antibiotics.

The ‘One Health’ Approach:

  • The ‘One Health’ approach aims to integrate and optimize the health of people, animals, and the environment.
  • It is crucial for addressing global health threats, including the prevention, prediction, detection, and response to such threats.
  • The approach has particular relevance in areas like food and water safety, nutrition, zoonotic disease control, pollution management, and the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
The One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP):
  • In May 2021, the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) was established to provide guidance to the FAO, UNEP, WHO, and WOAH on One Health issues.
  • The panel offers recommendations for research on emerging disease threats.
  • It also focuses on developing a long-term global plan of action to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as H5N1 avian influenza, Zika, and Ebola.

-Source: The Hindu

Tomato Mosaic Virus and Cucumber Mosaic Virus


Tomato growers in Maharashtra attribute crop decline to the Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV), while growers in Karnataka and other South Indian states blame the Tomato Mosaic Virus (ToMV) for their crop losses.


GS-III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. ToMV (Tomato mosaic virus)
  2. CMV (Cucumber mosaic virus)
  3. Similarities between ToMV and CMV

ToMV (Tomato mosaic virus):

  • ToMV is a member of the Virgaviridae family and is closely related to the Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV).
  • It primarily infects tomato plants but can also affect tobacco, peppers, and certain ornamental plants.
  • The virus was first identified in tomato plants in 1935.
  • ToMV spreads through various means, including infected seeds, saplings, agricultural tools, and human contact.
  • Certain insect vectors, such as thrips and whiteflies, can also transmit the virus.
  • Infected plants display green mottling and yellowing of leaves, often appearing as blisters or fern-like patterns.
  • Leaf curling in either an upward or downward direction and distortion may occur.
  • Younger plants may experience stunted growth, and fruit setting can be affected.
Prevention and Control:
  • Emphasize the implementation of biosafety standards in nurseries and ensure compulsory seed treatment.
  • Farmers should thoroughly inspect saplings before planting and discard any infected materials.

CMV (Cucumber mosaic virus):

  • CMV belongs to the Bromoviridae family and is one of the most widespread plant viruses.
  • It has a broad host range, affecting crops such as cucumber, melon, eggplant, tomato, carrot, lettuce, celery, cucurbits, and some ornamental plants.
  • The virus was first identified in cucumber plants in 1934.
  • CMV primarily spreads through aphids, which are sap-sucking insects capable of acquiring and transmitting the virus within minutes.
  • Transmission can also occur through infected seeds, mechanical inoculation, and grafting.
  • Infected plants exhibit leaf distortion, primarily at the top and bottom, while the middle portion remains relatively unaffected.
  • In cucumber plants, CMV causes a mosaic-like pattern of yellow and green spots on the leaves.
  • Fruit formation can be adversely affected, resulting in stunting and reduced production.
Prevention and Control:
  • The key focus should be on preventing aphids, the primary vector, by employing quick-acting insecticides or mineral oils.
  • Care should be taken to avoid aphid migration and the spread of the virus to other fields.

Similarities between ToMV and CMV:

Genome and Replication:
  • Both ToMV and CMV have a single-stranded RNA genome that is enclosed within a rod-shaped protein coat.
  • Both viruses enter plant cells through wounds or natural openings and replicate within the cytoplasm.
  • They can move systemically throughout the plant via the phloem, spreading to different parts of the plant.
Impact on Crop:
  • Both ToMV and CMV have the potential to cause significant crop losses, often approaching 100% if not adequately addressed in a timely manner.
  • The severity of the crop loss depends on the susceptibility of the specific crop and the extent of infection.

-Source: Indian Express

Smart Bandage


A recently published study highlights the development of a wearable, wireless, and mechanically flexible “smart bandage” that has the potential to accelerate the healing of chronic wounds.


GS III: Scientific Innovations & Discoveries

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Smart Bandage
  2. Implications and Challenges
  3. About Chronic wounds

Smart Bandage:

  • A smart bandage is an advanced medical device that integrates various technologies, including biosensors, drug-loaded hydrogels, electrical stimulation modules, and wireless communication.
  • It is designed to adhere to the skin using a soft and stretchable polymer, maintaining close contact with the wound.
Biosensors and Monitoring:
  • The smart bandage incorporates biosensors that monitor wound biomarkers present in the exudate, providing real-time information about the wound’s status.
  • These biosensors track changes in the chemical composition of the wound exudate, offering insights into the healing process.
  • Additional sensors in the bandage monitor pH levels and temperature, providing valuable information about infection and inflammation.
Drug Release and Tissue Stimulation:
  • The bandage includes electrodes that control the release of drugs from a hydrogel layer and stimulate tissue regeneration.
  • Electrical stimulation has shown to enhance tissue regeneration in skin cell studies.
  • Wireless Communication and Data Transmission:
  • Data collected by the smart bandage is wirelessly transmitted to a smartphone or tablet for review by healthcare professionals.
  • This eliminates the need for bulky equipment and wired connections, increasing convenience and usability.
Research Findings:
  • Studies have demonstrated that the smart bandage accurately monitored infection, inflammation, and metabolic statuses in diabetic mice.
  • Diabetic rats treated with drugs and electrical stimulation through the bandage showed faster wound closure and reduced scarring.
Limitations and Future Directions:
  • Some limitations of the smart bandage include delayed response of the biosensors due to chemical mixing and the need for improved biosensor protection and manufacturing scaling.

Implications and Challenges:

Chronic Wound Management:

  • Chronic wounds pose a significant burden on healthcare systems, requiring effective therapies.
  • Smart bandages offer advantages such as continuous monitoring, targeted drug delivery, and reduced hospital visits, which can improve the management of chronic wounds.

Affordability and Accessibility:

  • One of the challenges in the widespread adoption of smart bandages is their affordability and accessibility, particularly for individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
  • It is important to address these challenges to ensure that smart bandages are accessible to all individuals who can benefit from them.

Government Initiatives and Insurance Schemes:

  • Government initiatives and the implementation of insurance schemes can play a crucial role in facilitating the wider availability and affordability of smart bandages.
  • These measures can help reduce the financial barriers and ensure that individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds have access to this advanced wound care technology.

About Chronic wounds

Chronic wounds are wounds that fail to heal within a normal expected timeframe, typically persisting for more than six weeks. They can be characterized by the following:

  • Definition: Chronic wounds are wounds that do not progress through the normal stages of healing within an expected timeframe.
  • Duration: They persist for more than six weeks and often show limited or no signs of healing.
  • Underlying Factors: Chronic wounds can be caused by various underlying factors, including underlying health conditions, impaired blood circulation, diabetes, pressure ulcers, venous insufficiency, or compromised immune function.
  • Impact: Chronic wounds can have a significant impact on the individual’s quality of life, causing pain, discomfort, reduced mobility, and increased risk of infection.
  • Treatment Challenges: These wounds can be challenging to heal and may require a comprehensive approach to address the underlying causes, promote healing, and prevent complications.
  • Management Strategies: Treatment strategies for chronic wounds may include wound dressings, offloading pressure, infection control, revascularization procedures, and addressing any underlying health conditions.
  • Importance of Timely Medical Attention: Seeking timely medical attention is crucial for proper assessment, diagnosis, and management of chronic wounds.
  • Role of Healthcare Professionals: Healthcare professionals, such as wound care specialists, play a critical role in developing individualized treatment plans and providing ongoing care to promote wound healing and improve the overall well-being of patients with chronic wounds.

-Source: The Hindu

Naegleria Fowleri : Brain-Eating Amoeba


Recently, a 15-year-old boy in Kerala recently died due to a rare infection caused by Naegleria fowleri, or “brain-eating amoeba”.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Naegleria fowleri?
  2. How does it infect humans?
  3. Symptoms of PAM
  4. Can climate change increase the spread of the infection?

What is Naegleria fowleri?

  • Naegleria is an amoeba, a single-celled organism, and only one of its species, called Naegleria fowleri, can infect humans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • It was first discovered in Australia in 1965 and is commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such as hot springs, rivers and lakes.
How does it infect humans?
  • The amoeba enters the human body through the nose and then travels up to the brain.
  • This can usually happen when someone goes for a swim, or dive or even when they dip their head in a freshwater body.
  • In some cases, it was found that people got infected when they cleaned their nostrils with contaminated water.
  • Scientists haven’t found any evidence of the spreading of Naegleria fowleri through water vapour or aerosol droplets.
  • Once Naegleria fowleri goes to the brain, it destroys brain tissues and causes a dangerous infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), according to the CDC.
Symptoms of PAM
  • The first signs of PAM start showing within one to 12 days after the infection.
  • In the initial stages, they might be similar to symptoms of meningitis, which are headache, nausea and fever. In the later stages, one can suffer from a stiff neck, seizures, hallucinations, and even coma.
  • The US public health agency also observed that the infection spreads rapidly and on average causes death within about five days.
  • The fatality of PAM is as such that only four people have survived out of 154 known infected individuals in the United States from 1962 to 2021.
Treatment for the infection
  • As the Naegleria fowleri infection is rare and progresses quickly, scientists haven’t been able to identify any effective treatments yet.
  • At present, doctors treat it with a combination of drugs, including amphotericin B, azithromycin, fluconazole, rifampin, miltefosine, and dexamethasone.

Can climate change increase the spread of the infection?

  • According to the CDC, with the rising global temperatures, the chances of getting Naegleria fowleri infection will go up as the amoeba mainly thrives in warm freshwater bodies.
  • The organism best grows in high temperatures up to 46°C and sometimes can survive at even higher temperatures.
  • Various recent studies have found that excess atmospheric carbon dioxide has led to an increase in the temperature of lakes and rivers.
  • These conditions provide a more favourable environment for the amoeba to grow.
  • Heat waves, when air and water temperatures may be higher than usual, may also allow the amoeba to thrive
  • So far, Naegleria fowleri has been found in all continents and declared as the cause of PAM in over 16 countries, including India.

-Source: Indian Express

Global Peace Index


The 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI) recently released its annual ranking of the most peaceful countries in the world.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Global Peace Index
  2. Highlights of Global Peace Index 2023

About Global Peace Index:

  • The Global Peace Index (GPI) is an annual report released by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
  • It ranks 163 independent states and territories based on their level of peacefulness.
Measurement Domains:

The GPI measures the state of peace across three domains:

  • Societal safety and security
  • Ongoing domestic and international conflict
  • Militarization

Highlights of Global Peace Index 2023:

  • The average level of global peacefulness deteriorated by 0.42%.
  • Iceland retains its position as the most peaceful country in the world since 2008, followed by Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, and Austria.
  • Afghanistan is ranked as the least peaceful country for the eighth consecutive year, followed by Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • India has improved its ranking to 126th, two spots higher than the previous year.
  • India experienced a 3.5% improvement in overall peacefulness, attributed to advancements in violent crime, relations with neighboring countries, and political stability.
  • Other rankings include Nepal at 79th, China at 80th, Sri Lanka at 107th, the United States of America at 131st, and Pakistan at 146th.

-Source: Hindustan Times

December 2023