Science and Technology

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1. Omicron, “variant of concern”: Impact on World

With the emergence of Omicron and its virulence yet uncertain, concerns have emerged about whether the third dose of COVID vaccines should be administered in India.

  • The United States and the United Kingdom have approved booster doses for all adults, six months after the completion of their second dose.

2. No International flights from India

The Government cited concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and indefinitely postponed the full resumption of scheduled international flights from December 15.

3. First Case of Omicron in India

India has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Karnataka.

  • The announcement was made following confirmation from the Indian SARSCoV­2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) that monitors the genomic variations of the pandemic.

4. The Indian SARS­CoV­2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) advises booster dose

Top Indian genome scientists have suggested booster doses of Covid vaccines for those above 40 years of age with preference to high risk and high exposure population.

  • The recommendations to administer booster dose to those above 40 years of age was made in INSACOG’s weekly bulletin on November 29, before it confirmed the first cases of the new variant in India.

5. ZyCoV-D to be launched in seven States

The first COVID vaccine ZyCoV-D is cleared by India’s drug regulator for those aged 12 and above.

  • This is the first COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed on a plasmid DNA platform to be commercially introduced anywhere in the world.

The Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 likely acquired at least one of its mutations by picking up a snippet of genetic material from another virus - possibly one that causes the common cold - present in the same infected cells, according to researchers. This genetic sequence does not appear in any earlier versions of the coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, but is ubiquitous in many other viruses including those that cause the common cold, and also in the human genome, researchers said.

6. Cyclone Jawad  to hit Eastern coastal area of India 

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a warning that the deep depression in the Bay of Bengal will develop into a cyclonic storm “Jawad” and it will affect north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha and north-northeast of  West Bengal.

The cyclone has been named “Jawad” by Saudi Arabia.

7. Facial recognition at airports from 2022

  • AAI is working on a project of FRT-based Biometric Boarding System as part of the first phase of DigiYatra Implementation at four airports, including Varanasi, Pune, Kolkata, and Vijayawada.

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