• 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.

About Thalassaemia:

  • 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.



  • 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:
  1. Wilson’s disease,
  2. Gaucher’s disease,
  3. Tyrosinemia-Type 1, and
  4. 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.


  • 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.



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 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.