National Institute of Immunology Current Affairs - 2020

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DBT and NII study: Transmission of chicken pox virus during pregnancy to child

The study of DBT and NII have found that women having chickenpox infection may transmit their infection to babies during their pregnancy. This stimulates babies’ immunity and protects them. A person being infected by the virus and treated gains immunity lifelong. This immunity is transferred to babies during pregnancy. Also, if a mother was vaccinated in her childhood, she is said to be immune to the disease. Research says that this immunity is transferred to the child as well.

Highlights of the study

The researchers of National Institute of Immunology (NII) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) found that the transfer of viral DNA from mother to child during their pregnancy is long lasting. Currently, it is understood that mothers transfer several antibodies to babies that lasts for 12 to 15 months. However, the new study says that this scenario is different in case of chickenpox. The study also showed that reactivation of chickenpox can be induced by stress of pregnancy.

Chicken Pox

It is a highly contagious disease caused by Varicella Zoster Virus. According to WHO, around 140 million people are affected by the disease all over the world annually. In developed countries, incidence of the disease is 16 cases per 1000 people. Out of these, 90% of the cases are reported in children.

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Chandrima Shaha: 1st woman President of Indian National Science Academy (INSA)

Renowned biologist Chandrima Shaha became first woman to get elected as President of Indian National Science Academy (INSA). She will head INSA from 2020 to 2022 after taking over as president from incumbent Ajay K. Sood. She was formerly Director of the National Institute of Immunology, Delhi.

About Chandrima Shaha

She is currently professor of Eminence at National Institute of Immunology (NII). She is the former Director of NII. She was Vice President (International) of Indian National Science Academy (2016-2018). She is elected fellow of the World Academy of Sciences. Before becoming biologist, she was cricketer and also had worked commentator for All India Radio. As biologist, her key research focused on understanding cell death pathways.

About Indian National Science Academy (INSA)

  • It is the apex body of Indian scientists representing all branches of science and technology. It promotes science and its use in India.
  • It was originally established in 1935 and was then known as National Institute of Sciences of India until the present name was adopted in 1970.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi. Union Government in 1945 had recognised it as the premier scientific society representing all branches of science in India.

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