Science and Technology

South Korea declares end of MERS outbreak

South Korea has declared the deadly outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in the country has over.

It was announced by South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn.

Severity of outbreak: It was the worst medical outbreak faced by South Korea originated from the alien virus from Saudi Arabia. It had killed 36 people and infected around 186.

The MERS outbreak was the biggest outbreak of the deadly virus outside Saudi Arabia. It had taken a toll on South Korean economy which is Asia’s fourth largest economy by stifling consumer spending.

Facts about Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

  • MERS belongs to the family of coronaviruses which includes large family of viruses such as common cold and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
  • It was discovered in 2012 and was mostly centred in Saudi Arabia.
  • Source: MERS is a betacoronavirus derived from bats. Camels have shown to have antibodies to MERS, but the exact source of infection in camels has not been identified.
  • Transmission: It can be transmitted from infected person to others after close contact via a respiratory route.
  • It spread’s in droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • Symptoms: fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.
  • Treatment: Till date there is no vaccine available to prevent it. However, intensive medical care can help patient to breath.


A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, ‘People’s President’ and ‘Missile Man’ passes away

Former President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam passed away due to massive cardiac arrest in Shillong, Meghalaya. He was 83.

He was widely acclaimed as the ‘People’s President’ and the ‘Missile man’ of India. He was was one of India’s most eminent scientists.

About A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

  • Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (A.P.J) Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Ramanathapuram District of Tamil Nadu.
  • DRDO career: In 1960, he had joined Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist and started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army.
  • ISRO career: In 1969, he had joined India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as the project director for India’s first indigenous satellite launch vehicle programme.
  • Under his leadership and vision, India entered into the elite space club after Rohini satellite was place into the orbit in 1980.
  • He was a pioneer and instrumental in development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), India’s space workhorse.
  • Missile Man: In 1980, he was appointed Chairman of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) and was brain behind developing Agni and Prithvi missiles.
  • Thus he came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile
  • Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA): He was appointed CSA to Prime Minister and Secretary of DRDO in 1992 and remained till 1998.
  • Pokhran II Nuclear Test: He was Chief Project Coordinator of Pokhran II Nuclear Test i.e. Operation Shakti which was conducted on 11 May 1998.
  • President: He was the 11th President of India and was in office from 2002 to 2007. He was India’s most popular President and famously known as People’s President.
  • Awards and Honours: Bharat Ratna (1997), Padma Vibhushan (1990), Padma Bhushan (1981).
  • He has unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. United Nations had recognised his 79th birthday as World Student Day.
  • Switzerland has declared 26 May as ‘Science Day’ to commemorate visit of A P J Abdul Kalam to the country in 2005.
  • His famous books: India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium (1998), Wings of Fire: An Autobiography by A P J Abdul Kalam (1999), Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India (2002), The Luminous Sparks (2004), Mission India (2005), Reignited: Scientific Pathways to a Brighter Future (2015) etc.


28 July: World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day is being observed every year on July 28 around the globe.

Focus of the day: To spread awareness about viral hepatitis, that causes acute and chronic disease and kills around 1.4 million people every year. It also seeks to encourage diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Hepatitis.

2015 Theme- Prevent Hepatitis: It’s up to You.

About World Hepatitis Day

  • It is being observed since 2010 and is one of the 8 official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • WHO in May 2010 had passed resolution for observance of this day on viral hepatitis which provides official endorsement. Prior to this, World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) had launched campaign in concern of chronic viral hepatitis in 2008.
  • 28 July was chosen to mark the birthday of Professor Baruch Blumberg. He had discovered hepatitis B virus and was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1976) for this discovery.

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis name has derived from Greek word ‘Hepar’ meaning liver and ‘itis’ meaning inflammation. Thus, it is a medical condition in which there occurs inflammation of liver cells and its complications vary with the type of infection.

What are different types of Hepatitis?

There are 5 types of hepatitis viz. A, B, C, D and E. Each type is caused by a different hepatitis virus.

What causes Hepatitis?

It is mostly caused by a group of viruses called hepatitis viruses and also be caused by intoxicants like drugs, alcohol, chemicals and other infections and autoimmune diseases.