Science News Roundup: Higher estrogen levels linked to lower COVID death risk; antacid shows promise to address symptoms; Rare baby ghost shark discovery delights New Zealand scientists and more
The tickets are priced at $450,000 each, including an initial deposit of $150,000. Oxford scientists to study effects of COVID variants, shots in pregnancy Oxford University scientists said on Tuesday they would evaluate the effects of new coronavirus variants on pregnant women and newborns, as well as COVID-19 vaccination effects on complications during pregnancy and after birth.
Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Higher estrogen levels linked to lower COVID death risk; antacid shows promise to address symptoms
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. Higher estrogen levels tied to lower COVID death risk
Rare baby ghost shark discovery delights New Zealand scientists
While typically heard in an omnipresent children's song, the phrase baby shark has delighted New Zealand scientists after the rare discovery of a juvenile ghost shark during a survey off the east coast of the country's South Island. Ghost sharks, also known as chimeras, are not really sharks but are related to sharks since both of their skeletons consist of cartilage rather than bone.
Branson's Virgin Galactic re-opens ticket sales for spaceflight, shares soar
Billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc said on Tuesday it is re-opening ticket sales for upcoming space travel to the general public from Feb. 16, driving its shares more than 10% higher in premarket trading. The tickets are priced at $450,000 each, including an initial deposit of $150,000.
Oxford scientists to study effects of COVID variants, shots in pregnancy
Oxford University scientists said on Tuesday they would evaluate the effects of new coronavirus variants on pregnant women and newborns, as well as COVID-19 vaccination effects on complications during pregnancy and after birth. The study comes less than a year after the university found that pregnant women with COVID-19 and their newborn children faced higher risks of complications, such as premature birth and organ failure risk, than was previously known.
First woman reported cured of HIV after stem cell transplant
A U.S. patient with leukemia has become the first woman and the third person to date to be cured of HIV after receiving a stem cell transplant from a donor who was naturally resistant to the virus that causes AIDS, researchers reported on Tuesday. The case of a middle-aged woman of mixed race, presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver, is also the first involving umbilical cord blood, a newer approach that may make the treatment available to more people.
New observations help explain universe's most energetic objects
Observations showing a roughly donut-shaped cloud of cosmic dust and gas shrouding a huge black hole at the heart of a galaxy similar in size to our Milky Way are providing scientists with new clarity about the universe's most energetic objects. Scientists on Wednesday said their observations involving the supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy Messier 77 and its surrounding cloud lend support to predictions made three decades ago about what is called "active galactic nuclei."
EU lays out $6.8 billion satellite communication plan in space race
The European Commission on Tuesday set out a 6 billion-euro ($6.8 billion) satellite communications plan, part of a push to cut the European Union's dependence on foreign companies and protect key communications services and surveillance data against any outside interference. The move comes amid growing concerns over Russian and Chinese military advances in outer space and a surge in satellite launches.
Shanghai aims to become a production hub for space technology by 2025
The local government in China's Shanghai said on Wednesday that the city aims to be a hub for the development of space technologies, including reusable rockets which can vertically take off and land, by 2025. The city will also set up mass production lines for low-cost commercial satellites and assembly lines for rockets, according to a notice published on the website of Shanghai's government.
COVID vaccination during pregnancy helps protect babies after birth -U.S. study
Vaccinating pregnant women against the coronavirus may help prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations in infants after they are born, especially if the expecting mothers got the shots later in their pregnancy, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday. The findings shed light on whether the benefits of vaccination during pregnancy extend to infants who would be too young to receive vaccines.
EU states agree on need to build own satellite constellation
European Union ministers, meeting on space policy in Toulouse, on Wednesday agreed that the bloc needed an autonomous satellite constellation infrastructure for high-speed internet access, France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said. "This is probably the most important achievement of today's meeting," Le Maire told a news conference after the meeting.
(With inputs from agencies.)