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Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are as virulent and infective as symptomatic ones. Pixabay

Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are as virulent and infective as symptomatic ones and those having no clinical symptoms but tested positive for new coronavirus can infect several healthy people, according to new studies.

Reported by Global Times, those silent virus carriers (asymptomatic patients) have been controversial regarding their infectivity but the news of a woman in Henan Province in China has further triggered public concerns”.

The woman in Central China’s Henan Province was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 after coming into contact with an asymptomatic patient, who also got the virus from another asymptomatic patient.

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“A recent study showed the infectivity of asymptomatic patients (having no clinical symptoms but testing positive for COVID-19) could be nearly the same as confirmed cases,” the report said on Sunday.

Scientists with the Ningbo Center for Disease Control and Prevention in East China’s Zhejiang Province found that 6.3 per cent of confirmed cases’ close contacts were ultimately infected with the virus.

Asymptomatic patients show no symptoms as the majority of them could be in the incubation period. Pixabay

“The percentage for patients with no COVID-19 symptoms’ close contacts was 4.4 per cent. Such a difference is of no statistical significance,” the report mentioned.

Yang Zhanqiu, a Wuhan-based virologist, told the Global Times “that there may be an estimation of at least 200,000 virus varriers with no symptoms currently in China”.

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The patients with no COVID-19 symptoms have strong physical immunity or carry weak virus with less virulence. According to Yang, this is why they don’t show symptoms but still spread the virus in the early stage of infection.

Also Read- Productive Things You Can Do Amid the Lockdown

Asymptomatic patients show no symptoms as the majority of them could be in the incubation period.

The number of infected cases has crossed 7 lakh globally, with nearly 34,000 deaths. (IANS)



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Photo by Flickr

Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)

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