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The mRNA vaccines induced antibodies. Pixabay

People who have recovered from Covid-19 require only one vaccine dose. A second jab is important for those who have not had Covid-19 to reach strong immunity, suggests a study. The study, led by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in the US, found that Covid survivors had a robust antibody response after the first mRNA vaccine dose, but the little immune benefit was seen after the second dose.

On the other hand, those who did not have Covid-19 — called Covid naive — did not have a full immune response until after receiving their second vaccine dose, reinforcing the importance of completing the two recommended doses for achieving strong levels of immunity. Two doses are optimal to induce strong antibody and B cell responses in patients who are immunologically naive for SARS-CoV-2, and antibodies induced by the vaccination could protect against the more infectious and deadly South African variant, said the researchers.


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The findings, published in the journal Science Immunology, provide more insight on the underlying immunobiology of mRNA vaccines, which could help shape future vaccine strategies. “These results are encouraging for both short- and long-term vaccine efficacy, and this adds to our understanding of the mRNA vaccine immune response through the analysis of memory B cells,” said E John Wherry, director of the Penn Institute of Immunology.


A second jab is important for those who have not had Covid-19. Pixabay

The human immune response to vaccines and infections results in two major outcomes — the production of antibodies that provide rapid immunity and the creation of memory B cells, which assist in long-term immunity.

ALSO READ: New Covid19 Strains And Precautions To Be Taken

For the study, the team included 44 healthy individuals who received either the BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. Of this cohort, 11 had a prior Covid-19 infection. Blood samples were collected for deep immune analyses four times prior to and after vaccine doses.

They confirmed that the mRNA vaccines induced antibodies that could neutralize the D614C and B1351 variants. These responses peaked one week after the second vaccine dose in naive patients but peaked two weeks after the first dose in recovered patients, with similar patterns in B cell responses for both groups. (IANS/SP)


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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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