Science News Roundup: NASA's new space telescope reaches destination in solar orbit; English COVID study finds record prevalence in January and more
The study found that CoronaVac received the strongest boost from a viral vector or RNA shot, including against the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants, researchers from Brazil and Oxford University said on Monday. Pfizer, Moderna shots safe during in vitro fertilization; healthy gut bacteria may help prevent long COVID The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19.
Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Wanted: Volunteers to catch COVID in the name of science
The world's first medical trial authorised to deliberately expose participants to the coronavirus is seeking more volunteers as it steps up efforts to help develop better vaccines. The Oxford University trial was launched last April, three months after Britain became the first country to approve what are known as challenge trials for humans involving COVID-19.
Researchers achieve milestone on path toward nuclear fusion energy
U.S. government scientists said on Wednesday they have taken an important step in the long trek toward making nuclear fusion - the very process that powers stars - a viable energy source for humankind. Using the world's largest laser, the researchers coaxed fusion fuel for the first time to heat itself beyond the heat they zapped into it, achieving a phenomenon called a burning plasma that marked a stride toward self-sustaining fusion energy.
English COVID study finds record prevalence in January
An English COVID-19 study reported record prevalence in January after an Omicron-fuelled spike in infections, Imperial College London said on Wednesday, adding that infections had dropped back from their peak but were now plateauing. England will on Thursday ditch mask mandates and COVID-19 vaccine passes introduced to slow the spread of Omicron. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has credited the success of Britain's booster rollout and the lower severity of the variant as he aims to live with COVID-19.
NASA's new space telescope reaches destination in solar orbit
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, designed to give the world an unprecedented glimpse of infant galaxies in the early stages of the universe, arrived at its gravitational parking spot in orbit around the sun on Monday, nearly a million miles from Earth. With a final five-minute, course-correcting thrust of its onboard rocket, Webb reached its destination at a position of gravitational equilibrium known as the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, or L2, arriving one month after launch, NASA officials said.
The Omicron variant appears to result in less severe COVID-19 than seen during previous periods of high coronavirus transmission including the Delta wave, with shorter hospital stays, less need for intensive care and fewer deaths, according to a new U.S. study. However, the fast-spreading Omicron variant has led to record numbers of infections and hospitalizations, straining the U.S. healthcare system.
Analysis-A metaverse with Chinese characteristics is a clean and compliant metaverse
How will China's metaverse evolve? Look to the letter "c". Clean, censored, compliant and crypto-less is the view from experts. The descriptions point to the long shadow thrown by Chinese authorities who have already intimated they will have a heavy regulatory hand in how it will develop - a shadow some China metaverse advocates fear will stunt its growth.
A third booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine made by AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson increases antibody levels significantly in those who have previously received two doses of Sinovac's CoronaVac shot, a study has found. The study found that CoronaVac received the strongest boost from a viral vector or RNA shot, including against the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants, researchers from Brazil and Oxford University said on Monday.
Pfizer, Moderna shots safe during in vitro fertilization; healthy gut bacteria may help prevent long COVID
The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. mRNA vaccines safe during in vitro fertilization
China to allow gene-edited crops in push for food security
China has published trial rules for the approval of gene-edited plants, paving the way for faster improvements to crops as it seeks to bolster its food security. Gene editing - or altering the genes of a plant to change or improve its performance - is viewed by some scientists as less risky than genetically-modifying them, which involves transferring a foreign gene.
(With inputs from agencies.)