Scientists reveal why Zika Virus causes Microcephaly
In a study published in the US journal Science, a team of scientists led by Cheng-Feng Qin reported that they have solved the mystery of why Zika Virus causes Microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies.
As per scientists, one single genetic change, likely to be acquired in 2013, gave the mosquito-borne virus the ability to cause severe fetal microcephaly.
By comparing contemporary Zika virus strains from the 2015 and 2016 South American epidemics, scientists found one critical mutation that conferred the ability to cause microcephaly in mouse models of fetal infection. That one change was S139N.
S139N replaced a serine amino acid with an asparagine at the 139th position of a Zika protein called prM. S139N change coincided with initial reports of microcephaly. This change also made the virus more lethal to human neuron precursor cells.
India-US Joint Military Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2017 concludes
Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2017, joint India-US military exercise, concluded on 27 September 2017 at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), Washington, USA. Exercise Yudh Abhyas is an annual bilateral exercise designed to strengthen the US and Indian Army partnership.
Both the Armies have gained from each other’s expertise and experience in conduct of company level operations. The Indian contingent got a first-hand experience of operating with the ‘Stryker’ Infantry Combat Vehicle and the US Army gained an insight on the training of an infantry unit in a mountainous terrain.
Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2017 achieved all joint training objectives and this will further reinforce defence cooperation between the two countries.
Congress veteran Makhan Lal Fotedar passes away
Makhan Lal Fotedar, a veteran Congress leader who was a close confidante of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, passed away on 27 September 2017.
Fotedar was brought into politics by Jawaharlal Nehru in early 1950s and gradually he strengthened his position in the Congress to become one of the most powerful persons in the party. He enjoyed the trust of Indira Gandhi who had made him her Political Secretary in 1980.
After the death of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi also made him his Political Secretary for three years, before inducting him in his Cabinet as a minister.