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Shortages of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have led to the extended use or reuse of single-use respirators and surgical masks by frontline healthcare workers. The evidence base underpinning such practices warrants examination.
To synthesize current guidance and systematic review evidence on extended use, reuse, or reprocessing of single-use surgical masks or filtering face-piece respirators.
We used the World Health Organization, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Public Health England websites to identify guidance. We used Medline, PubMed, Epistemonikos, Cochrane Database, and preprint servers for systematic reviews.
Two reviewers conducted screening and data extraction. The quality of included systematic reviews was appraised using AMSTAR-2. Findings were narratively synthesized.
In total, 6 guidance documents were identified. Levels of detail and consistency across documents varied. They included 4 high-quality systematic reviews: 3 focused on reprocessing (decontamination) of N95 respirators and 1 focused on reprocessing of surgical masks. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation were highlighted as the most promising reprocessing methods, but evidence on the relative efficacy and safety of different methods was limited. We found no well-established methods for reprocessing respirators at scale.
Evidence on the impact of extended use and reuse of surgical masks and respirators is limited, and gaps and inconsistencies exist in current guidance. Where extended use or reuse is being practiced, healthcare organizations should ensure that policies and systems are in place to ensure these practices are carried out safely and in line with available guidance.
Selective laser sintering methods are workhorses for additively manufacturing polymer-based components. The ease of rapid prototyping also means it is easy to produce illicit components. It is necessary to have a data-calibrated in-situ physical model of the build process in order to predict expected and defective microstructure characteristics that inform component provenance. Toward this end, sintering models are calibrated and characteristics such as component defects are explored. This is accomplished by assimilating multiple data streams, imaging analysis, and computational model predictions in an adaptive Bayesian parameter estimation algorithm. From these data sources, along with a phase-field model, bulk porosity distributions are inferred. Model parameters are constrained to physically-relevant search directions by sensitivity analysis, and then matched to predictions using adaptive sampling. Using this feedback loop, data-constrained estimates of sintering model parameters along with uncertainty bounds are obtained.
We present the current status of a scalable computing framework to address the need of the multidisciplinary effort to study chemical dynamics. Specifically, we are enabling scientists to process and store experimental data, run large-scale computationally expensive high-fidelity physical simulations, and analyze these results using state-of-the-art data analytics, machine learning, and uncertainty quantification methods using heterogeneous computing resources. We present the results of this framework on a single metadata-driven workflow to accelerate an additive manufacturing use-case.
Nuclear star clusters hosted by dwarf galaxies exhibit similar characteristics to high-mass, metal complex globular clusters. This type of globular clusters could, therefore, be former nuclei from accreted galaxies. M54 resides in the photometric center of the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy, at a distance where resolving stars is possible. M54 offers the opportunity to study a nucleus before the stripping of their host by the tidal field effects of the Milky Way. We use a MUSE data set to perform a detailed analysis of over 6600 stars. We characterize the stars by metallicity, age, and kinematics, identifying the presence of three stellar populations: a young metal-rich (YMR), an intermediate-age metal-rich (IMR), and an old metal-poor (OMP). The evidence suggests that the OMP population is the result of accretion of globular clusters in the center of the host, while the YMR population was born in-situ in the center of the OMP population.
Nuclear star clusters are found at the centers of most galaxies. They are the densest stellar systems in the Universe, and thus have unique and interesting stellar dynamics. We review how common nuclear star clusters are in galaxies of different masses and types, and then discuss the typical properties of NSCs. We close by discussing the formation of NSCs, and how a picture is emerging of different formation mechanisms being dominant in lower and higher mass galaxies.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Observations of globular clusters in dwarf galaxies can be used to study a variety of topics, including the structure of dark matter halos and the history of vigorous star formation in low-mass galaxies. We report on the properties of the faint globular cluster (MV ~ −3.4) in the M31 dwarf galaxy Andromeda I. This object adds to the growing population of low-luminosity Local Group galaxies that host single globular clusters.
In November and December 2012, 6 patients at a hemodialysis clinic were given a diagnosis of new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
To investigate the outbreak to identify risk factors for transmission.
A case patient was defined as a patient who was HCV-antibody negative on clinic admission but subsequently was found to be HCV-antibody positive from January 1, 2008, through April 30, 2013. Patient charts were reviewed to identify and describe case patients. The hypervariable region 1 of HCV from infected patients was tested to assess viral genetic relatedness. Infection control practices were evaluated via observations. A forensic chemiluminescent agent was used to identify blood contamination on environmental surfaces after cleaning.
Eighteen case patients were identified at the clinic from January 1, 2008, through April 30, 2013, resulting in an estimated 16.7% attack rate. Analysis of HCV quasispecies identified 4 separate clusters of transmission involving 11 case patients. The case patients and previously infected patients in each cluster were treated in neighboring dialysis stations during the same shift, or at the same dialysis station on 2 consecutive shifts. Lapses in infection control were identified. Visible and invisible blood was identified on multiple surfaces at the clinic.
Epidemiologic and laboratory data confirmed transmission of HCV among numerous patients at the dialysis clinic over 6 years. Infection control breaches were likely responsible. This outbreak highlights the importance of rigorous adherence to recommended infection control practices in dialysis settings.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(2):125–133
Benthic communities form an important component of the marine food chain. Their occurrence also provides information on the health of the ecosystem. A study was carried out to understand the distribution and abundance of macrobenthos along with sediment characteristics and physicochemical parameters in Visakhapatnam Harbour, a major port along the east coast of India. In all 84 macrobenthic taxa were reported from the port area of which 60 were polychaetes and 24 were other invertebrate taxa. Our observations revealed an increase in the number of polychaete species observed over the last 20 years from this region. An earlier study reported 38 polychaete species in 1975 and a year later the number of polychaete species reported was 12, indicating an increase in the number of polychaete species in the present study by about 150%. The macrobenthic abundance and dominance of species varied with the seasons. Pre-monsoon was dominated by Cirratulus sp., during monsoon tanaids were dominant indicating a seasonal shift in the occurrence and dominance of macrobenthos. During post-monsoon, Cossura coasta was dominant followed by Nephtys dibranchis and amphipods. Sediment characteristics (sand, silt and clay), organic carbon and dissolved oxygen were the important factors influencing the abundance and species diversity. The abundance of macrobenthic forms also varied with inner and outer harbour region. Higher species diversity was observed in the outer harbour suggesting the outer harbour has semi-polluted conditions such as higher dissolved oxygen (DO) and salinity, low nutrients (nitrite, nitrate and silicate) and low organic carbon in the sediment.
Identification of marine invertebrate larvae using morphological characters is laborious and complicated by phenotypic plasticity. Balanus amphitrite is a dominant barnacle, important in the context of intertidal ecology and biofouling of manmade structures. Morphological identification of barnacle larval forms in a mixed population is difficult because of their intricacy and similarity in size, shape and developmental stages. We report the development and application of a nucleic acid-based Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method for the specific identification of the barnacle, B. amphitrite, from the heterogeneous zooplankton sample. This method is reliable and accurate thereby overcoming taxonomic ambiguity. Sequence alignment of the 18S rRNA gene region of selected species of barnacles allowed the design of B. amphitrite-specific PCR primers. Assay specificity was evaluated by screening DNA obtained from selected species of barnacles. The oligonucleotide primers used in the study flanked a 1600 bp region within the 18S rRNA gene. The primer is specific and can detect as few as 10 individuals of B. amphitrite larvae spiked in a background of ~186 mg of zooplankton. This technique facilitates accurate identification and the primer can be used as a marker for enumeration of B. amphitrite larvae in the plankton.
Previous research on the catastrophic decline of the Gyps species complex has identified diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug administered to livestock, as the primary cause. Large-scale climatic phenomena, such as ENSO-induced drought, however have not been examined. Based on time series analysis of annual count data, 1996–2005, we provide evidence that ENSO synchronised population dynamics throughout western Rajasthan. Here, we ask whether El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can also explain the population dynamics of the Critically Endangered Indian Vulture Gyps indicus. We attribute this impact largely to two La Niña events, including the major event spanning 1999. We also examine between-village variation in resident vulture populations. Our results suggest that in several villages, Indian Vulture populations may have been partially buffered from the negative effects of drought when compared to other villages in the study. Finally, we discuss potential causes of buffering in these villages.
We present a preliminary analysis of known planetary nebulae (PNe) in M31 that were observed in the first year of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury HST Multi-cycle program. We use the properties of this sample to discuss PNe from this new multi-band survey.
This chapter outlines the recent advances in the molecular classification of ovarian cancer and the efforts for rationalised targeted therapies of molecular drivers of individual cancers with a particular emphasis on kinases and their inhibitors. It highlights the challenges that face targeting strategies, particularly at the interface between target discovery and validation that leads to the development of targeting agents. Development of small interfering RNA (siRNA) technology could provide a tool to overcome the shortcomings of some current therapeutic approaches. One of the challenges surrounding the use of siRNA for systemic therapy relates to the need for efficient and biocompatible delivery vehicles. Liposomes, in general, have been shown to be safe in a number of clinical trials using a wide variety of anti-cancer and antimicrobial drugs. Chitosan nanoparticles are highly effective for delivery of siRNA into both tumour and tumour-associated endothelial cells.