USA Current Affairs - 2020

A Tiger tests positive of COVID-19 in the US: Zoos on high alert in the country

On April 6, 2020, the Central Zoo Authority of the United States asked all the zoos to stay on high alert after a tiger tested positive of COVID-19. This is the first time COVID-19 infections are reported on an animal.


A four-year-old Malayan tiger in the Bronx Zoo of New York has tested positive of Corona Virus.  It is still not known how the disease will develop in cats. This is because different species behave differently. Till date there is no evidence that animals play a major role in COVID-19 transmission. Also, there is no evidence that a human can be infected by the virus from animals.

COVID-19 not air borne

There are no findings till date how the virus transmits between animals and humans. Indian Council of Medical Research has confirmed that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is air borne disease. There are evidences that it spreads only through droplets. The virus spreads through two different types of droplets namely respiratory droplets and droplet nuclei. When the droplets are 5-10 μm in diameter they are called respiratory droplets. When the droplets are less than 5μm in diameter they are called droplet nuclei.

Malayan Tiger

Malayan Tigers or the Southern Indochinese Tiger is a type of tiger sub-species native to Peninsular Malaysia. It is classified as a critically endangered species by IUCN. They are threatened by habitat loss/ fragmentation, poaching, illegal trade for traditional medicine, etc.

Feline Coronavirus

Cats are affected by a specific class of coronavirus called the feline coronavirus. Unlike the SARS CoV 2, feline coronaviruses are transmitted through faecal- oral route. These viruses affect the intestine or peritoneum of cats.

First COVID-19 vaccine trial begins in the United States

On March 16, 2020, the United States of America began the first human trial evaluating COVID-19 vaccine. The US National Institute of Health will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers between age 18 and 55 for a period of 6 weeks in order to test the vaccine.


A healthy volunteer from Seattle, Kaiser Permante of Washington was injected with the vaccine. The vaccine was developed by a private firm called Moderna.

Under the vaccination of COVID-19, three different doses are to be tested. During the trial phase, it is to be studied if the vaccines are safe and whether they stimulate the immune system of humans to create antibodies to stop COVID-19.

The vaccine has been synthesized from a stretch of RNA embedded in a lipid nano particle. The Food and Drug Administration recently permitted to the trial tests of the vaccine.

Clinical Trials in India

Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research announced that, it will take minimum of two years for India to develop a vaccine against Corona Virus. While India was able to isolate the virus strains, it is challenging for the country to develop a vaccine against the disease.

This is mainly because, the number of clinical trials in India is far less as compared to other countries. India contributes only 2.7% of global clinical trials. On the other hand, the US contributes 47%, followed by EU of 18%, Japan of 11%.

In order to improve the situation, India should take active part in platforms like ICTRP of the World Health Organization


The International Clinical Trials Registry Platform of WHO is a mission aimed to make sure a complete view of research is accessible to those who are involved in health care trials.