SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA AND THALASSAEMIA
- The first therapy based on gene editing technology Crispr-Cas9 for sickle cell disease and thalassaemia has been approved in UK.
- Both sickle cell disease and thalassaemia are caused by errors in the gene for haemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that carry oxygen to organs and tissues.
- The therapy uses the patient’s own blood stem cells, which are precisely edited using Crispr-Cas9.
- A gene called BCL11A, which is crucial for switching from foetal to adult haemoglobin, is targeted by the therapy.
- Foetal haemoglobin, which is naturally present in everyone at birth, does not carry the same abnormalities as adult haemoglobin.
- The therapy uses the body’s own mechanisms to start producing more of this foetal haemoglobin.
About sickle cell disease:
- The genetic error in sickle cell disease leads to red blood cells assuming a crescent shape.
- Unlike the disc shaped normal cells, the sickle-like cells cannot move around easily in the vessels, resulting in blocked blood flow.
- This can lead to episodes of severe pain, life-threatening infections, anaemia, or a stroke.
- An estimated 30,000-40,000 children in India are born with the disorder every year.
- Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder characterized by less oxygen-carrying protein (hemoglobin) and fewer red blood cells in the body than normal.
- It leads to fatigue, shortness of breath, and irregular heartbeats.
- People with the condition need blood transfusions throughout their life.
- India also has the largest number of children with thalassaemia major in the world.
GENERIC MEDICATIONS FOR RARE DISEASE
- The Union Government has planned to commercially produce medicines for 13 “rare diseases” substantially bringing down the treatment cost for such illnesses.
- In the first phase, The Union Health Ministry has made generic medications available to support the care and treatment of four conditions:
- Wilson’s disease,
- Gaucher’s disease,
- Tyrosinemia-Type 1, and
- Dravet-Lennox Gastaut syndrome.
- This will reduce the cost of medicines for persons suffering from rare illnesses across India.
About Rare disease:
- A rare disease is a health condition of a particularly low prevalence that affects a small number of people i.e. less than 1 per 1,000 according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- But it collectively afflicts about 6 to 8 percent of the population in any country at any given time.
CERT-IN NOT UNDER THE AMBIT OF RTI ACT
- The Central government has exempted the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) from the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
- CERT-IN functions under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- It is the national nodal agency for responding to computer security incidents.
- It has also been tasked to perform emergency measures for handling cyber security incidents besides issuing guidelines and advisories for their prevention.
- The Ministry of Personnel has amended Section 24 of the RTI Act.
- It has put “Indian Computer Emergency Response Team” or CERT-In under the list of organisations exempted from the purview of the transparency law.
- There are already 26 intelligence and security organisations which are exempted from providing information under the RTI Act.
- The organisations exempted under the RTI Act include the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Aviation Research Centre and Enforcement Directorate etc.
BLACK-SPOTTED CROAKER, OR THE GHOL FISH
Why is in news?
The black-spotted croaker, or the ghol fish was declared the state fish of Gujarat.
About Ghol fish:
- The Gujarat government chose the ghol because of its economic value and its uniqueness.
- The fish is usually found in the Indo-Pacific region that stretches from the Persian Gulf to the Pacific Ocean.
- The fish is tasty and is considered a delicacy in many countries.
- It is also used for medicinal purposes.
ENGAL PALLI-MILIRUM PALLI
- Engal Palli-Milirum Palli is launched by the School Education Department.
- It implemented a comprehensive and sustainable programme in all government school campuses of the State.
- Through this initiative, the department aims to create a healthy school environment and also to create opportunities for students to inculcate and reinforce values on sanitation and clean environment.
- It includes personal hygiene, increasing the green cover in schools, awareness programmes on environment, knowledge of waste management practices, school vegetable garden, importance of recycling and upcycling, plastic- free campus and encouraging them to move towards alternatives.