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Science and Tech Weekly Brief: Important updates from December 21-25, 2020

Tulika Tandon

Check out what the area of Science and Technology has been upto this week. From COVID 19 Vaccine hesitancy to Shigella infection- Take a look at the detailed list of major events that have occurred in the past one week that is from December 21-25, 2020. 

Shigella Infection

Key Points:

  1. Shigella bacteria cause an infection known as Shigellosis. 
  2. It is a contagious bacterial intestinal infection 
  3. Usually, symptoms begin 1-2 days after infection and last about 7 days. 
  4. People generally recover without taking antibiotics most of the time.
  5. The infection usually begins in a day or two after contact with shigella and may also take more than a week to develop. Infections include:
  1. Diarrhoea (often containing blood or mucus)
  2. Stomach pain or cramps
  3. Fever
  4. Nausea or vomiting

Causes of Infection:

  1. The most common way to spread the disease is direct person-to-person contact.
  2. Eating contaminated food.
  3. Swallowing contaminated water 

Prevention of Infection:

As the Shigella vaccine is not available yet but researchers and scientists are working on it. Preventions that can be taken to prevent the spread of shigella infection are as follows:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water frequently for at least twenty seconds.
  2. After use, disinfect diaper-changing areas.
  3. Throw away soiled diapers properly.
  4. If a person is suffering from diarrhoea then don't prepare food for others.
  5. Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

Mucormycosis:

Medical experts at Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital found multiple cases of Mucormycosis in recovering coronavirus patients which is a rare fungal infection. They said that nearly half of them have lost their eyesight.

Key Points:

  1. It has a mortality rate of nearly 50 per cent. Mucormycosis infects people with a weak immune system and those with other existing illnesses.
  2. It is sometimes known as zygomycosis is a serious but rare fungal infection that is caused due to a group of moulds called mucormycetes.

Symptoms:

Mucormycosis symptoms depend on the fungus growth in the body. Some common symptoms are as follows:

  1. Swelling in one side of the face
  2. Headache
  3. Nasal or Sinus congestion
  4. Fever
  5. Cough
  6. Chest Pain
  7. Shortness of breath
  8. Black lesions on nasal bridge or upper inside mouth
  9. Abdominal pain

What is the Vaccine Hesitancy?

  1. Vaccine Hesitancy is the delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines even when there is the availability of it.
  2. It is complex and context-specific in varying across time, place, and vaccines. 
  3. Complacency, convenience, and confidence are the factors involved in it.

Reasons for the Hesitancy:

  1. Mis-information is the main issue with Vaccine Hesitancy. 
  2. Religious propaganda is also responsible as many think vaccines to contain microbes, chemicals, and animal-derived products which are forbidden by religious laws.
  3. Vaccine derived diseases were caused in previous times. It can be explained via example like Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) contains weakened but live poliovirus. 
  4. One of the leading causes of vaccine hesitancy is an inconvenience in accessing the vaccines.

How is the Polio Vaccine prepared:

Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) contains weakened but live poliovirus. From the vaccine, this virus is excreted by immunised children which can move from one person to another. Due to this, the virus sticks around and mutates to a more virulent form which further raises the threat of vaccine-derived poliovirus, VDPV.

Science and Tech Weekly Brief: Check all important updates from December 7-11 here

Science and Tech Weekly Brief: Summary

Here are a few definitions that need a quick brushing

 

Topic

Details

What is Gastrointestinal mucormycosis

This type of infection is more common in young children than adults, especially premature and low birth weight infants less than 1 month of age, who have had antibiotics, surgery, or medications. Due to this body’s ability to fight germs and sickness gets lowered.

What is Rhinocerebral (sinus and brain) mucormycosis

This type of infection occurs in the sinuses and can spread to the brain. Most commonly it is found in people with uncontrolled diabetes and in people who have had a kidney transplant.

What is Pulmonary (lung) mucormycosis

This is the most common type of infection found in people with cancer and in people who have had an organ transplant or a stem cell transplant

What is DNA

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a double-stranded molecule and is the storehouse of the genetic instructions which our body's cells require to make proteins.

What is mRNA

The vaccines based on mRNA which send messages to our body's cells about what proteins are to be built are known as mRNA vaccines. In simple terms, it tricks our body into producing viral proteins itself.

What is mutation

When any virus replicates itself and moves from one host to another, the genetic sequence of the virus changes which is known as mutation


Science and Tech Weekly Brief: Important updates from December 12- 18, 2020

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