‘Gene Editing’ controversy divides medical industry

Health Care

The miracle of birth has always fascinated man. Man has successfully recreated several key aspects related to birth. From in-vitro fertilisation to uterus transplantation, science has succeeded in beating nature.

But recently a Chinese Scientist’s quest to become a pioneer in the field of gene editing has met criticism and scepticism. A scientist named He Jiankui claimed that he had successfully edited the genes of twin girls. The girls, who were born earlier this month were the offspring of parent who had contracted HIV.

Jiankui went to claim that his intervention had prevented the twins from contracting the virus. The scientist reportedly used a technology called as CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the genetic make up of the twins.

Thanks to the scientist’s experiment Chinese twins named as ‘Lulu’ and ‘Nana’ now don’t have a gene called as CCR5. The CCR5 gene encodes a protein called as CCR5 protein which is present on the surface of white blood cells and this protein is also the receptor for Chemokines (signalling proteins) helping T cells in identifying specific tissue and organ targets. HIV a virus which causes AIDS uses CCR5 gene to enter and infect the host.

Criticism:
While removal of the gene seems ‘path breaking’ to say the least, the problem is this method is unnecessary while treating HIV in newborn. Anti-Retroviral Therapy a simple technique can also be used to prevent AIDS from infecting the child.

Secondary deletion of a gene can lead to change in genetic make up and this case can impact the immune system of the child. Long term impacts are unknown. Also the scientist in question has been accused of breaking several ethical laws.

Not only is this experiment banned in China, but the scientist himself took the consent of the parents instead of approaching a third party. He also kept this study under closed wraps and reportedly did not inform anyone about what he aimed from his experiments.

Gene editing is allowed by scientific community on degenerated embryos but these embryos are then discarded after studies.

China for now has temporarily halted this program and several scientists have lashed out at the scientist. Scientific Summit in Hong Kong issued a statement saying that gene editing was irresponsible with risks too great to allow.

Others feel that such experiments could lead to ‘designer babies’ with parents or wealthy clients seeking traits or features that they seek. But many are expressing optimism as well, this could probably open doors to curing genetic disorders.

Opinion:

NewsCaravan contacted several doctors in India over this controversy and this is what they had to say.

Dr Sanidhya Sreenivasa, an Oral Surgeon from Bengaluru welcomed Gene Editing, but is against the idea of commercialisation, she says ‘Gene editing is great provided it should be used only in the rarest of the cases and should be well controlled. Because if you commercialize and people start using it rampantly it might go both ways. That would be toying with the nature especially in a subject which we don’t understand completely.’

Others want Gene editing to be monitored, Dr Ieshan Bali adds, ‘I think it is acceptable provided it is regulated by strong systems and processes to make sure it is not mis-utilised. . What can cure HIV today can also cause a havoc tomorrow.’

We also spoke to those from non-medical background, Sowmya Mani, a journalist from Mumbai added, ‘It’s not been done so we can’t weigh its pros and cons. Obviously it seems wrong to alter something you’re born with. But maybe if it can help someone it’s good. But it can and will be used for wrong purposes’

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do type in below

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RAHUL GANDHI AIDE DIVYA SPANDANA SLAMMED FOR ATTACKING PM MODI

National News

On Thursday, Congress Social Media Cell Head Divya Spandana set the Twitter buzzing, but for all the wrong reasons. she tweeted a picture of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and captioned it ‘is it bird dropping’

Almost immediately the tweet sparked off a political war, but more importantly it received widespread condemnation from all quarters.

While BJP said that Ramya’s insult at directed at the PM, Ramya said she was merely hinting at the bird droppings at the statue.

Several journalists asked Ramya to apologise but the former Sandalwood actress remained adamant.

Ramya also known as Divya Spandana brazened it out and refused to apologise over the issue.

This however isn’t the first time Ramya has raked up controvery, she has repeatedly poked fun at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. from feku to chor she has used every instance to insult Modi.

While Rahul professes to follow the politics of love. his team does otherwise the real question is will Ramya apologise and above all will Rahul reprimand his team?

Cook Easy: Muffins

Recipe

Blog by Deepshikha Ganjoo

Are your looking for a quick desert to satisfy your sweet tooth? Well then the answer to your question is Muffin!

One can prepare these delicious warm little cakes in no time, which can be gorged up in the morning especially if it is a lazy Sunday brunch or an evening compliment to your coffee.

The following is a recipe for vanilla chocochip muffin. The ingredients are as following:

Flour 1/2 cup

Vegetable Oil 1/6 cup

Baking powder 1/2 tbsp

Vanilla essence 1/2 tbsp

Eggs 2 room temperature

Salted butter 60 gms

Castor Sugar 1/4 cup

Milk 1/2 cup

Chocochips 1 cup

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C & grease the mould

Beat butter and sugar in a bowl for a minute

Add eggs to the mixture and beat for another minute

Add vanilla essence & vegetable oil to the mixture & mix

Now sift in flour & baking powder into the mixture

Fold the mixture in with a spatula

Add milk to the mixture & adjust the consistency

Add half the chocochips into the batter.

Pour the batter into the mould

Don’t fill the mould, only pour in half to ensure the muffin can rise

Sprinkle chocochips over the mixture

Bake the mixture for 15 mins at 180°C

2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine is a game changer, here is why

health

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo. The two men where jointly given this prize for their pathbreaking discovery of cancer therapy. The two men have discovered a treatment where in cancer can be regulated by inhibition of negative immune regulation.

A statement issued by the Nobel Academy reads ‘Cancer kills millions of people every year and is one of humanity’s greatest health challenges. By stimulating the ability of our immune system to attack tumour cells, this year’s Nobel Prize laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer’

It also says, ‘Until the discoveries made by the 2018 Medicine Laureates, progress into clinical development was modest. “Immune checkpoint therapy” has revolutionised cancer treatment and has fundamentally changed the way we view how cancer can be managed.’

With this pathbreaking discovery, scientific community is sure to benefit as it could revolutionise cancer treatment.

ACCOUNTS OF 50 MILLION FACEBOOK USERS COMPROMISED IN A MASSIVE DATA BREACH

digital

Just months after he faced the US Senate over the Cambridge Analytical Crisis, Mark Zuckerberg found himself in the midst of yet another storm. Facebook admitted that its company was affected by yet another data breach this time affecting at least 50 million of its users.

The company issued a statement that said,’ our engineering team discovered a security issue affecting almost 50 million accounts. Attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted “View As”, a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts.’

So what is access token? Facebook explained, ‘Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.’

Facebook has reset the access tokens of the almost 50 million accounts and as a precautionary step they have also reset access tokens for another 40 million accounts that have been subject to a “View As” look-up in the last year. As a result, around 90 million people will now have to log back in to Facebook, or any of their apps that use Facebook Login.

Facebook has also turned off their “View As” feature for the time being . Facebook believes this comes after they reset video uploading feature in July last years.

Reacting to the controversy, Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, ‘We do not yet know whether these accounts were misused. We patched the security vulnerability to prevent this attacker or any other from being able to steal additional access tokens. And we invalidated the access tokens for the accounts of the 50 million people who were affected – causing them to be logged out. We do not currently have any evidence that suggests these accounts have been compromised, but we’re taking this step as a precautionary measure.’

Reports suggest that FBI and Irish agencies may have been roped in to investigate this hack.

LEPTOSPIROSIS THREAT IN KERALA

health

Blog by Dr Deepshikha Ganjoo

Beginning in the month of July 2018, the South Indian state of Kerala was affected by severe floods.

This was the worst in over a century Kerala has seen. Displacing millions of people, leaving hundreds dead or missing.

Multiple factors like low pressure area creation , heavy rains, large discharge from dams are being held responsible for such a severe calamity. The floods have raised multiple concerns in the state, from providing clean water, to safe shelter, food etc.

Another fresh concern is the spread of diseases such as ‘Leptospirosis’ commonly known as Rat Fever. This disease is caused by a bacterium called as Leptospira. The sign and symptoms of the disease range from
*Headache
*muscle pain
*fever
*severe bleeding
*Vomiting
*Diarrhoea
*Yellowing of skin and eyes
*Skin Rashes
The most common carriers of this disease are the rodents, dogs, cattle and rabbits and it is transmitted by animal urine, by water or soil.

So with the current scenario where the entire state was flooded, the disease has spread like an epidemic and requires an effective strategy for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the same

UNCERTAINITY OF AERO INDIA VENUE ENDS, BENGALURU WINS OVER LUCKNOW

National News

22

The Ministry of Defence has put an end to questions over the venue of Aero India 2019. The Ministry of Defence in a press release said that the Aero Show 2019 will be held in Bengaluru between February 20 and 24. This event is said to combine a trade exhibition for the aerospace and defence industries alongside public air shows.

Remember, the upcoming Aero India had recently sparked a row after U.P CM Yogi Adityanath had appealed to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to host the show in Lucknow. His request had irked several leaders in Karnataka.

PTI quoted sources from Defence Ministry saying that they had received requests from other states including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Odisha to host the next Aero India Show. Experts feel that moving the venue would prove to be detrimental as Bengaluru is a home to Indian Aviation and Space with both HAL and ISRO being headquartered in the city.

There was a speculation that the Aero show 2019 would give a boost to the Defence Corridor which is coming up in Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister had asked the Defence Minister and urged her to hold the event in his state. This irked the Karnataka State congress and they hit out at they hit out at the Defence Minister telling her that being a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, she had to protect the interest of the state and retain the show in Bengaluru. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also wrote to PM Narendra Modi about the show and urged him to retain the show in the city. BJP Karnataka on the other hand remained tight-lipped over the issue and were accused of remaining mute spectators to the injustice meted out to the people of Karnataka.

The Ministry of Defence has now put an end to all speculations regarding the venue of the show and has announced officially that Aero India 2019 will be held in the city of Bengaluru.

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY APOORVA SHANKAR

IS IT TIME FOR INDIA TO LEGALISE GAY MARRIAGE?

National News

History was created by India’s Apex Court on September 6th. Sec 377 of the Indian Penal Code was partially struck down. The Supreme Court Judges said that sex between two consenting adults was none of their business. While non-consensual sex and bestiality are still a crime, Supreme Court’s judgement has widened the definition of right to freedom.

(Photo credit: Deepak Bopanna)

For the LGBTQ community, this is just the first step forward. The community will have to wage a lengthier battle now. While the community has the legal sanctity now. They will have to fight for social justice.

They will have to fight for themselves in the societal hierarchy. Many are now contemplating if the right to freedom of expression can be extended to marriage. But if laws are changed in connection with marriage act, there could a massive uproar in both the political class as well as the general public.

While many politicians have remained tight-lipped about the verdict, several have out rightly refused to accept gay marriages, claiming that marriages that led to production of an offspring were valid and rest were invalid. Also adding that gay marriages lead to unhealthy environment for children.

India has come a long way since its independence, but we will be able to call ourselves as a free country only every one has their rights intact.

It would be grossly wrong to deny LGBT partners the chance to take their relationship to culminate as a wedding. As far gay marriages are concerned, several same sex marriages have provided stable families for children, the best example being Neil Patrick Harris and his husband David Burtka who have raised two children. Also many are demanding right to adopt/surrogacy.

Whether Indian law permits this or not, whether soceity is open to its minority remains to be seen. But hopefully the “apology” note India “owes to the LQBT” community will be delivered with a gift of marriage & surrogacy.

Two ISIS Terrorists Arrested in India

National News

Special Cell of the Delhi Police were able to thaw a possible terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir after they arrested 2 men from New Delhi’s Red Fort Area.

Two residents of Shopian, Parvez Lone and Jamshed were arrested on September 6th. These two men were reportedly instructed by their handlers to pick up weapons from Uttar Pradesh and carry it to Kashmir, following which it would be used in the valley to stage an attack

The two men had two .32 pistols, 10 cartridges and mobile phones which were

PRAMOD KUSHWAHA, DCP, SPECIAL CELL

“DELHI WAS BEING USED AS A TRANSIT POINT. THESE MEN PICKED UP THE WEAPONS FROM UTTAR PRADESH AND WERE ON THEIR WAY TO JAMMU & KASHMIR, WHERE THE WEAPONS WOULD BE USED IN A TERROR INCIDENT.”

Parvez and Jamshed were both residents of Gannapura Village in Shopian. In fact Parvez was influenced by his brother Firdaus to join terrorism, Firdaus had been eliminated earlier this year by the forces.

PROFILING THE TERRORISTS:

PARVEZ

  • AGE: 24 YEARS
  • LOCATION: GANNAPURA, SHOPIAN
  • EDUCATION: B-TECH GRADUATE
  • MEMBER: ISLAMIC STATE J&K

PROFILING THE TERRORISTS:

JAMSHED

  • AGE: 19 YEARS
  • LOCATION: GANNAPURA, SHOPIAN
  • EDUCATION: FINAL YEAR DIPLOMA STUDENT
  • MEMBER: ISLAMIC STATE J&K

Both these men were foot soldiers of the ISJK and were in fact A Grade terrorists. They had even helped a terrorist named Bashir who had recently been arrested by NIA.

PLOT TO DESTABILIZE INDIA?

  • TWO .32 PISTOLS PICKED UP FROM UTTAR PRADESH
  • PISTOLS WERE TO TRANSPORTED TO J&K
  • WEAPONS TO BE USED IN J&K TERROR ATTACK
  • NEW DELHI CHOSEN AS TRANSIT ZONE

ISIS is slowly spreading its tentacles in the valley, the big question is will the government remain a mute spectator or will they take counter measures to curb this menace.

India’s youngest state:- Telangana, all set to face polls

Uncategorized

Telangana which is one the youngest states in the country is all set to face elections in less than 5 years of its formation. After months of speculation, Chief Minister and TRS President K Chandrashekhar Rao finally announced that his party was ready to face polls.

His announcement did not come as a surprise. He chose his lucky number 6, in this scenario September 6th, to make the announcement. But what did come as a surprise was the fact that his party is going solo for the election. He refused to side with any national party. In fact, he went to launch a scathing attack against Congress. He even went to call out Congress President Rahul Gandhi as a buffoon for hugging Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament during the No-Confidence Motion Debate.

KCR will in fact begin his political campaigning from Friday, 7th September. While the Chief Minister said that elections would be held in November, there was no official confirmation in this regard from Election Commission.

In the press conference, KCR also claimed that he has ”completed 99.9% of the work” promised by him, his critics however feel otherwise.
With the Governor now in charge, the Caretaker CM is expected to leave no stone unturned to ensure his sacrifice doesn’t go in vain.

With almost 9 months ahead of the scheduled poll, many feel this step is a political hara-kiri by KCR. However there could be several reasons behind this move. If scheduled with the general elections, public sentiment could work in favour of other parties which have much popular faces. Also if elections are held now, KCR could woo the general public in his state minus all the hype surrounding the national politics. Secondly KCR could use the good monsoon and bumper crop yield to attract rural votes now. Plus he can beat the anti-incumbency factor now as waiting for another year could hurt his chances given the mounting opposition against his working style.

Regardless of whether KCR wins the polls or not, the big question is will India’s youngest state survive this unexpected/expected political turmoil unleashed by the very man who created it? Will TRS sweep Telangana or will any other political veteran steal the show?