Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2017

हिंदी करंट अफेयर्स प्रश्नोत्तरी 2017 के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें.

US withdraws from UNESCO accusing it for anti-Israel bias

The United States has announced its withdrawal from Paris-based United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), UN’s cultural agency accusing the body of anti-Israel bias. Besides US, Israel has also decided to pull out of UNESCO. US withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. Until then, it will remain a full member. US has announced to establish an observer mission to replace its representation at UNESCO.

Background

USA and UNESCO were at loggerheads since 2011, after UNESCO had admitted Palestinian territories to the organization as an independent member-state called Palestine. UNESCO was first UN agency to recognise and admit Palestine as full member. The recognition was against US policy in Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This was against US’s law which cut off its funding for any organization that recognizes independent Palestine. The US had previously paid for 22% ($80 million) of UNESCO’s annual budget. UNESCO in 2013, had suspended US voting rights in its core decision-making bodies after US missed several rounds of payments to UNESCO.

United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

UNESCO is UN organization that helps preserve historical and cultural sites worldwide. It is special multi-country agency, formed in 1945 and based in France. It promotes literacy and sex education as well as improving gender equality in countries around the world. It is also known for recognising world heritage sites and work to preserve cultural and heritage sites such as ancient ruins, villages and temples, and historic sites.

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Two Experimental Ebola vaccines found safe, effective in human trial

The clinical trials of two experimental Ebola vaccines cAd3-EBOZ and rVSV-ZEBOV were found to be safe and capable of eliciting immune response against Ebola virus that lasts for at least one year.

The findings were based on a study of clinical trials on 1,500 adults that began during West Africa Ebola outbreak. Three groups of 500 volunteers received one of the vaccine candidates or a placebo (saline injection).

Key Facts

During clinical trials, it was observed that responses to both vaccine candidates were modest at one week. However, by one month, 71% of cAd3-EBOZ recipients and 84% of rVSV-ZEBOV recipients developed an antibody response compared to 3% of placebo recipients.

These trials have yielded valuable information for development of these two Ebola vaccine candidates and also demonstrated that well-designed, ethically sound clinical research can be conducted during an epidemic. These safe and effective Ebola vaccines will play important role in controlling inevitable future Ebola outbreaks in addition to existing classical public health measures.

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

EVD is viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebola viruses. It was first identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a village near the Ebola River, from which it takes its name. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats are natural host of this virus. It spreads through contact with body fluids of inflected persons such as blood, urine and saliva.

It also spreads through sexual transmission. Symptoms of EVD are high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. However, in past outbreaks case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90%. In 2014, Ebola virus had erupted periodically mainly across west and east Africa mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It was the deadliest outbreak of the virus in the history which had killed 11,000 people.

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