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Science and Tech Weekly Updates - December 2020 - RRB NTPC - SBI PO - SSC - KPSC SCIENTIFIC OFFICER


Science and Tech Weekly Updates - December 2020 - RRB NTPC - SBI PO - SSC - KPSC SCIENTIFIC OFFICER

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 


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.


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.

  • Loon Internet Balloon completes 312 days flight

About Loon:

Loon internet-beaming balloon made it’s longest balloon flight in the Stratosphere for 312 days. Loon earlier held the record for the longest balloon flight in the Stratosphere which was for 223 days in 2018 – 2019.

Loons are high altitude balloons that provide internet to remote areas. It is the third layer of connectivity ecosystem to help places with minimum reach receive connectivity with the rest of the world. These balloons that reach the stratosphere and provide internet connections to regions that were once thought un-servable. 

Loon: Key Details

  1. These are manufactured by Alphabet, Google's parent company and can reach up to 20 km above the Earth into the stratosphere.
  2. They are the size of  a mini aircraft when inflated balloons are made from sheets of polyethene The balloons are powered by solar panels and are controlled by software on the ground
  3. It delivers 4G LTE and 5G connectivity to the areas it is assigned to and is capable of covering 200 times more areas than land cell towers. 

  • China's Artificial Sun: Unique Features

China’s Atomic Energy Authority tested its HL-2M Tokamak reactor for the first time on Friday, December 4, 2020. The brief test which lasted for a few seconds has been hailed as an important achievement in the field of science. It can be used to provide safer fuel amid a global crisis.

About China’s Nuclear Fusion Reactor

HL-2M Tokamak can help China in reaching its target to produce fusion energy commercially by 2050. The power in the reactor is generated by applying powerful magnetic fields to a contained loop of hot plasma. The plasma can reach temperatures of more than 150 million centigrades.

The plasma heats up to 10 times more than the core of the sun but is contained using magnets and supercooling technique. China has also been working with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project which is a coalition of dozens of nuclear-powered nations.

  • Robotic Surgery: An emerging field in medical science

Robotic surgery is majorly a robot-assisted surgery. It allows doctors to perform various complex procedures with high precision, flexibility and control than it would be achievable with conventional techniques. Robotic surgery is associated with minimally invasive surgery process performed through tiny incisions. 

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

  1. Robotic surgeries cause less tissue damage for the patient which helps in faster recovery. There are also lesser chances of getting infected when it is performed with smaller incisions
  2. Patients experience lesser pain during Robotic Surgery due to smaller incisions. There is minimal blood loss in this kind of surgery which in turn means lesser blood transfusions are required
  3. Robotic surgeries allow complex surgeries to be easily done that would have been difficult with traditional methods. These provide faster recovery time and fewer chances of infections

Robotic Surgery: Fact Check

It was 2018 when a telerobotic coronary intervention was performed by a cardiologist named Dr Tejas Patel on a middle-aged woman in Gujarat for the first experimental coronary stenting.

  • Public WiFi Access Network Interface: Details 

The public Wi-Fi network service is to be called as PM Wi-Fi Access Network Interface or WANI scheme. It would be set up by the public data office aggregators or PDOAs and would provide Wi-Fi service through the public data offices or PDO's. No license fee will be charged for providing broadband internet services. 

Objectives of PM-WANI

  1. PM-WANI scheme would introduce more business-friendly environment by boosting ease of doing business. It aims to provide high-speed internet that has come up as a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  2. High-speed internet is not accessible in areas that do not have a 4G mobile coverage. PM WANI aims to aid the deployment of a public Wi-Fi network service. 
  3. The proliferation of a public Wi-Fi network will create employment and penetration in the economy
  4. Enhancement of the disposable incomes is also expected in the hands of small and medium businessmen and this would in turn increase GDP. 

  • Solar Power Plants In India:

India ranks third in Asia and fourth in the world in terms of solar power production. Currently, the country is only using 38% of its total capacity of renewable energy. Also, the world’s largest solar park would be constructed in Rajasthan.

The solar power parks across India are responsible for more than 25000 MW power generation. PM Narendra Modi would also be inaugurating the world’s largest renewable solar and wind energy park in Gujarat’s Kutch and another desalination plant, on December 15, 2020.

Take a look at the major solar plants in order of their size, power generation and location in the table below.

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