Science and Technology Current Affairs – 2017

Latest Science & Technology Current Affairs 2015-2016; current developments in Science and Technology 2015-2016 all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2015-2016.

Human antibodies produced in lab for first time

Scientists for the first time have produced human antibodies in the laboratory. They have developed revolutionary technique which can help in rapid development of new vaccines to treat a wide range of infectious diseases.

Antibodies

Antibodies mainly function in the humoral adaptive immune system by secreting antibodies to fight off infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and other invasive pathogens. They are produced by body’s B cells (B lymphocytes). When an individual B cell recognises a specific pathogen-derived antigen molecule, it proliferates and develops into plasma cells that secrete large amounts of antibody capable of binding to the antigen and fending off the infection.

Key Facts

To develop revolutionary technique, researchers had replicated the process of natural production of antibodies from B cells isolated from patient blood samples in the laboratory to produce specific antibodies. They had found that B cells need a second signal to start proliferating and developing into plasma cells apart encountering a specific antigen at first instance.

For the second signal they used short DNA fragments called CpG oligonucleotides, which activate a protein named TLR9 inside B cells. However, they found that treating patient-derived B cells with CpG oligonucleotides stimulates every B cell, not just the tiny fraction capable of producing a particular antibody.

So to overcome the problem they treated patient-derived B cells with tiny nanoparticles coated with both CpG oligonucleotides and an antigen. With this technique, CpG oligonucleotides were only internalised into B cells recognising the specific antigen. These cells were only ones in which TLR9 is activated to induce their proliferation and development into antibody-secreting plasma cells.

Significance

Researchers successfully demonstrated their approach using various bacterial and viral antigens, including the tetanus toxoid and proteins from several strains of influenza A. In each case, they were able to produce specific, high-affinity antibodies in just a few days. In some of the anti-influenza antibodies generated by the technique were able to neutralise multiple strains of the virus. They were able to generate anti-HIV antibodies from B cells isolated from HIV-free patients. This approach may help researchers to rapidly generate therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of infectious diseases and other conditions such as cancer.

Tags:

World’s first wind farm being built off Scotland coast

The world’s first full—scale floating wind farm is being built off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea. The wind farm, known as Hywind is a trial project which aims to bring power to 20,000 homes.

The floating wind farm technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters that are too deep for the existing bottom—standing turbines particularly installed in shallow waters.

Significance

Unlike normal turbines, floating turbines are not attached to the seabed by foundations. Rather, they are attached by long mooring tethers, allowing them to be placed in deep water. Traditional fixed turbines work best at a depth of 20-50m on stationary base.

Key Facts

The park will be around four square kilometers in size in deep sea. Each turbine in the park will be floating at a depth of between 95 and 120 metres.  Each turbine tower, including the blades in the floating wind park is 175m high and weighs 11,500 tonnes. It uses a large buoy filled with iron ore to weight the base to keep it upright. The turbines also make use of new blade technology, which twits the blades in order to lessen the impact of wind, waves and currents to hold turbine tower upright.

Benefits

The turbines in the floating wind farm can operate in water up to a kilometre deep. The power output is also larger than power generation from current stationary turbines. This revolutionary tech development project will demonstrate workability of floating wind farm technology in open sea conditions and also help to bring costs down.

Tags:

Advertisement

12345...102030...680