With GSLV Mark III launch, ISRO puts India in a new orbit

The Indian Space Research Organisation has crossed a significant milestone with the successful developmental flight of the country’s heaviest Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, the GSLV Mark-III. This is the first time a satellite weighing over 3.1 tonnes has been launched from India to reach the geostationary orbit about 36,000 km from Earth. With this, ISRO has... Continue Reading →

Breaking the drug-resistant TB transmission cycle important

Nearly two months after the Health Ministry set a highly ambitious target of working towards elimination of tuberculosis by 2025, a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases indicates that India’s TB crisis is all set to snowball by 2040 when one in 10 cases could be drug-resistant. What is even more alarming is that the increased... Continue Reading →

The big test for malaria vaccine RTS,S

Beginning next year, the World Health Organisation will begin pilot tests of the injectable malaria vaccine RTS,S (or Mosquirix) on 750,000 children aged 5-17 months in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. The vaccine has been successfully put through a Phase III trial, in which the drug is tested for safety and efficacy. Any decision on wider... Continue Reading →

The self-test option for HIV

With the World Health Organisation releasing guidelines on HIV self-testing, a major obstacle in improving access to diagnosis has been cleared. Though much progress has been achieved in India in making HIV testing accessible and free of cost, many infected persons remain unaware of their status. Across the world, nearly 40 per cent of people... Continue Reading →

No complacency on Zika

The World Health Organisation has declared that the Zika virus no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. This brings to an end the heightened global focus on the virus that has caused about 2,300 confirmed cases of microcephaly (a birth defect manifesting in a smaller head size) since May 2015. The WHO... Continue Reading →

Time India got serious about fighting TB

Pushed to a corner owing to lack of political will on the part of countries with a high burden of tuberculosis, the World Health Organisation has called for the first United Nations General Assembly session on the disease. The fight against TB cannot be won as long as the high-burden countries, particularly India which has... Continue Reading →

Nobel Prizes – The lure of the exotic and esoteric

If “wonderful discoveries happening in biology” had acted as a trigger for Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan to switch from physics to chemistry, the nearly matured and well-established field of chemistry failed to enthuse Yoshinori Ohsumi, and he shifted to biology. Autophagy — a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components — was known long... Continue Reading →

ISRO makes India proud again

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) crossed an important milestone with the successful launch of weather satellite INSAT-3DR using a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle equipped with the indigenous cryogenic upper stage. The successful launch marks a departure from the long history of failures with the GSLV; except for the first, every launch of the Polar Satellite... Continue Reading →

Editorial: ISRO’s scramjet on course

The Indian Space Research Organisation joined an elite club when, on Sunday (August 28, 2016), it successfully launched a rocket using a scramjet engine that was developed indigenously. This is ISRO’s first major step towards developing an air breathing propulsion system. The scramjet engine functioned for around six seconds. There are many reasons why the... Continue Reading →

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