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The recent approval of two gene therapies by the U.S. FDA to treat sickle cell disease in patients..

The recent approval of two gene therapies by the U.S. FDA to treat sickle cell disease in patients over 12. It explains how these therapies use the CRISPR-Cas9 tool to disable a particular gene and introduce a new gene for haemoglobin production.

  • The US FDA has approved two gene therapies, Casgevy and Lyfgenia, to treat sickle cell disease in patients over 12.

  • Casgevy gene therapy is also expected to be approved for treating beta thalassemia by March 2024.

  • These approvals mark the beginning of gene therapy using the CRISPR-Cas9 tool to treat diseases that could only be cured through bone marrow transplantation.

  • Casgevy uses CRISPR-Cas9 to disable the BCL11A gene, which turns off fetal hemoglobin production in blood stem cells.

  • In clinical trials, Casgevy relieved the debilitating effects of sickle cell disease in 28 out of 29 patients for a year, and reduced the need for blood transfusion in beta thalassemia patients.

  • Lyfgenia uses a disabled lentivirus as a vector to introduce a new gene for hemoglobin into blood stem cells.

  • In clinical trials, Lyfgenia reduced severe blocked blood flow caused by sickle cells in 30 out of 32 patients, and had no blocked blood flow events in 28 out of 32 patients.

  • Gene therapies using patients' own blood cells for gene editing have the potential to treat a large number of patients without relying on bone marrow donors.

  • However, these treatments are expected to be very expensive and only certain hospitals will have the capability to perform the necessary procedures.

  • Clinical trials for these therapies have been conducted on a small number of patients for a short duration, highlighting the need for continuous monitoring of their safety and efficacy.

  • There is a possibility of unintended genetic modifications and resulting side effects when using the CRISPR-Cas9 tool for gene editing.

A recent judgment by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court regarding the interpretation and application of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and its impact on personal liberty. It highlights the use of UAPA to arrest and detain individuals in cases that are unrelated to actual incidents of violence, and the wide net cast by the statute to label seemingly innocent acts as preparatory or conspiratorial acts of terror.

  • Journalist Fahad Shah has been granted bail by the Division Bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

  • He was in custody due to allegations in Case FIR No.1/2022 P.S. JIC/SIA Jammu.

  • Charges had been framed against him for various offences under the Penal Code, FCRA, and UAPA.

  • The High Court has partially set aside the order framing charge, finding no grounds to charge him for any offences other than Section 13 of the UAPA and under the FCRA.

  • The High Court made observations on the interpretation and application of UAPA in matters of personal liberty.

  • The use of UAPA to arrest and detain individuals in situations unrelated to actual incidents of violence has been well-documented.

  • The vague text of terrorism offences under UAPA allows for a wide net to label seemingly innocent acts as preparatory or conspiratorial acts to commit terror.

  • UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) has provisions that restrict bail if police materials establish accusations as 'prime facie true'

  • These provisions led to the arrest and continued detention of Mr. Shah

  • High Court of Jammu and Kashmir emphasized the need for greater circumspection in enforcing the anti-terror law

  • Mr. Shah's counsel argued that charges under Section 18 were legally unsustainable as his act of publishing an article was not linked to terrorist acts

  • The government argued that the publication of the article was an act of terror as it harmed India's reputation

  • The High Court ruled that treating allegations of defaming the country as terrorism would create a new offense and go against criminal law principles.

  • The High Court questions whether Section 43-D(5) of the law denies bail in every case where allegations are 'prima facie true'

  • The court compares the cases of a bomber and a shepherd, stating that they should not be treated the same under the law

  • The court emphasizes that both law enforcement agencies and the court should carefully consider the need for arrest and detention, and only take such actions when there is a 'clear and present danger'

  • The court's findings in Fahad Shah's case are not considered revolutionary, as they align with prior judicial decisions

  • The issue of compensation or damages for wrongful arrest and confinement is not addressed in Fahad Shah's case.

  • The Indian state has a history of arbitrary deprivations of liberty

  • The use of UAPA to justify the arrest and detention of a person for alleged defamation is a part of this history

  • The Supreme Court of India's decision in Vernon Gonsalves also emphasized the need to secure personal liberty in the face of oppressive laws

  • Holding the state accountable requires a commitment to questioning state actions

  • The High Court in Fahad Shah's case reminds the powers that only questioning the official version is blessed by the Constitution.

This article because it provides insights into the increasing number of cyber crime cases in India and the challenges faced in investigating and convicting cyber criminals.

  • The number of reported cyber crime cases in India increased significantly in 2022, according to the annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

  • Telangana, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra recorded the highest number of cyber crime cases.

  • Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Goa recorded the highest cyber crime rates per lakh population.

  • 'Cheating by impersonation by using computer resources' was the most common cyber crime head under which cases were filed.

  • Online impersonation was a challenging crime to investigate and had the lowest conviction rate.

  • The number of new cyber crime cases reported in 2022 was 65,893, compared to 52,974 in 2021.

  • At the beginning of 2022, there were already 71,867 cyber crime cases pending investigation.

  • The Home Ministry established the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal in 2019 and a toll-free helpline number 1930 to facilitate the lodging of cyber complaints.

  • More than 12.77 lakh complaints have been registered on the portal as of November 15, 2023.

  • Telangana had the highest cyber crime rate in 2022, with 40 cyber crimes per lakh population.

  • Karnataka was the second highest with a cyber crime rate of 18.6.

  • Maharashtra and Goa had a cyber crime rate above 5.

  • Telangana, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra accounted for 70% of all cyber crime cases in 2022.

  • The charge-sheeting rate for cyber crimes in 2022 was low, with only 14.5% of OTP fraud cases being charge-sheeted.

  • The charge-sheeting rate remained below 20% for online banking frauds and digital cheating cases.

  • The charge-sheeting rate for crimes such as identity theft and online impersonation was also low.

  • The conviction rate for cyber crimes in 2022 was also low, with only 17.3% of 'cheating by impersonation' cases resulting in convictions.

  • Conviction rates remained below 30% for identity theft, publishing sexually explicit material, and cyber stalking cases.

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