CAO Daily Editorial analysis for UPSC IAS 12-November, 2017

Current Affairs Only Daily Editorial Analysis for Competitive Exams

12 November, 2017


The virtue and practice of toleration {Ethics}

(The Hindu)


This article explains tolerance, toleration

It is increasingly felt by many that we are moving towards a fiercely conflict-ridden world in which toleration is needed badly.

The words “toleration” and “tolerance” are quite similar in meaning. Both can be used to refer to an act of enduring, allowing, or putting up with something, as in a firefighter’s toleration of high temperatures or a teacher’s tolerance of certain behavior.

Both words, however, also have specific applications. “Tolerance” tends to be the preferred choice in scientific contexts, as when referring to the capacity of the body to resist the effects of something (such as a virus, drug, or environmental factor).

“Toleration” is the preferred term to refer to a government policy of permitting forms of religious belief and worship that are not officially established.

Four conceptions of toleration

  • Tolerate is to refrain from interference in the activities of others, even though one finds them morally reprehensible, and despite the fact that one has the power to do so.

A person with more power eventually puts up with what he intensely dislikes in the less powerful.

  • A second conception of toleration also exists: two groups may find each other’s activities morally abhorrent and have equal power to interfere but both refrain from doing so because the cost of the ensuing conflict is far too high
  • In the third, considerations of power are less relevant; instead, people refrain from interfering in each other’s activities largely out of indifference. Disapproval exists but is mild and not acted upon. In large, complex societies, the business of living one’s own life is so time-consuming that a concern with others is simply too onerous. 
  • Finally, a fourth, mildly patronising conception, distinct from the other three, has been around for centuries. It is best understood in contrast with negative toleration in which others are reluctantly accepted against a background of prior hatred.

Seeing the light {Science and Technology}

(The Hindu)

In news

A new gene therapy has helped restore vision in people who had lost their sight to an inherited retinal disease.

What is the disease?Image result for Leber congenital amaurosis

Patients in the study had a condition called Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), which begins in infancy and progresses slowly, eventually causing complete blindness.

This new, first-of-its-kind gene therapy is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for potential approval this year.

There are currently no treatments available for inherited retinal diseases

Researchers from University of Iowa, U.S., showed that 27 of 29 treated patients or 93% experienced meaningful improvements in their vision, enough to navigate a maze in low to moderate light.

Possible Applications in future

  • Approval could open the door for other gene therapies that could eventually treat the more than at least 225 genetic mutations known to cause blindness. It could be applied to retinitis pigmentosa, another inherited retinal disease caused by a defective gene.
  • In the future, gene therapy could possibly provide key proteins needed to restore vision in more common diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.

What it entails?

LCA is rare, affecting about one in 80,000 individuals. It can be caused by one or more of 19 different genes.

The tested gene therapy, voretigene neparvovec (Luxturna) from Spark Therapeutics, is currently under FDA review. An injection therapy, it uses a genetically-modified version of a harmless virus that’s been modified to carry a healthy version of the gene to patients’ retinas.

Doctors inject billions of modified viruses into both of a patient’s eyes.

Effect of the medicine

  • Treatment does not restore normal vision.
  • It does, however, allow patients to see shapes and light, allowing them to get around without a cane or a guide dog.
  • It is unclear how long the treatment will last, but so far, most patients have maintained their vision for two years.


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