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Co-receptor tropism has been identified to correlate with HIV-1 transmission and the disease progression in patients. A molecular epidemiology investigation of co-receptor tropism is important for clinical practice and effective control of HIV-1. In this study, we investigated the co-receptor tropism on HIV-1 variants of 85 antiretroviral-naive patients with Geno2pheno algorithm at a false-positive rate of 10%. Our data showed that a majority of the subjects harboured the CCR5-tropic virus (81.2%, 69/85). No significant differences in gender, age, baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and transmission routes were observed between subjects infected with CXCR4-tropic or CCR5-tropic virus. The co-receptor tropism appeared to be associated with the virus genotype; a significantly more CXCR4-use was predicted in CRF01_AE infections whereas all CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC were predicted to use CCR5 co-receptor. Sequences analysis of V3 revealed a higher median net charge in the CXCR4 viruses over CCR5 viruses (4.0 vs. 3.0, P < 0.05). The predicted N-linked glycosylation site between amino acids 6 and 8 in the V3 region was conserved in CCR5 viruses, but not in CXCR4 viruses. Besides, variable crown motifs were observed in both CCR5 and CXCR4 viruses, of which the most prevalent motif GPGQ existed in both viral tropism and almost all genotypes identified in this study except subtype B. These findings may offer important implications for clinical practice and enhance our understanding of HIV-1 biology.
To investigate a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak event involving multiple healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; to characterize transmission; and to explore infection control implications.
Cases presented in 4 healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: a tertiary-care hospital, a specialty pulmonary hospital, an outpatient clinic, and an outpatient dialysis unit.
Contact tracing and testing were performed following reports of cases at 2 hospitals. Laboratory results were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) and/or genome sequencing. We assessed exposures and determined seropositivity among available healthcare personnel (HCP) cases and HCP contacts of cases.
In total, 48 cases were identified, involving patients, HCP, and family members across 2 hospitals, an outpatient clinic, and a dialysis clinic. At each hospital, transmission was linked to a unique index case. Moreover, 4 cases were associated with superspreading events (any interaction where a case patient transmitted to ≥5 subsequent case patients). All 4 of these patients were severely ill, were initially not recognized as MERS-CoV cases, and subsequently died. Genomic sequences clustered separately, suggesting 2 distinct outbreaks. Overall, 4 (24%) of 17 HCP cases and 3 (3%) of 114 HCP contacts of cases were seropositive.
We describe 2 distinct healthcare-associated outbreaks, each initiated by a unique index case and characterized by multiple superspreading events. Delays in recognition and in subsequent implementation of control measures contributed to secondary transmission. Prompt contact tracing, repeated testing, HCP furloughing, and implementation of recommended transmission-based precautions for suspected cases ultimately halted transmission.
A number of equations for predicting methane energy output (CH4-E) in ruminants have been published since 1930. However the data used to develop these equations were collected from diets containing mainly dried or high dry matter (DM) forages, rather than low DM heavily fermented grass silages. Since 1992 a number of calorimetric studies have been carried out with growing and lactating cattle offered grass-silage based diets at the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland. The objective of the present study was to use these data to develop new relationships between CH4-E output and animal and dietary factors.
One of the cornerstones in the development of a new feed rationing system for dairy cows must involve a reappraisal of both the concepts and ‘numbers’ adopted in defining the energy requirements for dairy cows. This is particularly important in the present scenario where increasingly high levels of animal output are being achieved from very different animal genotypes to those used in UK dairying 20 - 30 years ago. One of the tasks within the Feed Into Milk (FIM) project was to develop a new system to predict the energy requirements of todays dairy cow. The objective of the present study was to collate all available energy metabolism data with dairy cows in the UK and to develop relationships for describing metabolisable energy (ME) requirement for maintenance (MEm) and efficiency of ME use for lactation (kl) using both existing and new methodologies.
The Feed into Milk (FIM) project in the United Kingdom has developed a Mitscherlich equation from calorimetric data for energy rationing of dairy cattle (Agnew et al., 2004). The objective of the present study was to evaluate this equation using independent data sets obtained in both calorimetric and production studies.
The current energy (E) feeding standards (AFRC, 1993) have the objective of providing accurate feeding of dairy cows when there is either zero tissue E retention or a given tissue E change. Such approaches are of limited practical value in the real world in which we must be able to predict optimum feeding levels and strategies for animals of differing milk yield potential producing in a range of physical and economic environments. In the latter context the key economic factor is how the animal responds to additional increments of feed. This is primarily driven by how the animal partitions that additional E between milk output and body tissue gain. The objective of this experiment was to use calorimetric techniques to explore the impact of level of metabolisable E (ME) intake (MEI) on milk E output (E1) and tissue E gain (Eg) and hence partitioning of increments of MEI between milk and tissues.
To study the clinical effect of lens cleaning paper patching on traumatic eardrum perforations.
A total of 122 patients were divided into 2 groups, of which 56 patients were treated with lens cleaning paper patching and 66 acted as controls. The closure rate and healing time were compared between the two groups.
The healing rate of small perforations was 96.4 per cent (27 out of 28) in the patching group and 90 per cent (27 out of 30) in the control group. The difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). The healing rate of large perforations was 89.3 per cent (25 out of 28) and 80.6 per cent (29 out of 36) in the two groups, respectively. The difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). The healing time of large perforations was shorter in the patching group than in the control group (p < 0.01).
Patching with lens cleaning paper under an endoscope can accelerate the closure of large traumatic eardrum perforations.
Much can be learned from terrestrial planets that appear to have had the potential to be habitable, but failed to realize that potential. Mars shows evidence of a once hospitable surface environment. The reasons for its current state, and in particular its thin atmosphere and dry surface, are of great interest for what they can tell us about habitable zone planet outcomes. A main goal of the MAVEN mission is to observe Mars’ atmosphere responses to solar and space weather influences, and in particular atmosphere escape related to space weather ‘storms’ caused by interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs). Numerical experiments with a data-validated MHD model suggest how the effects of an observed moderately strong ICME compare to what happens during a more extreme event. The results suggest the kinds of solar and space weather conditions that can have evolutionary importance at a planet like Mars.
The objective of this study was to determine if a moderate or high reduction of dietary CP, supplemented with indispensable amino acids (IAA), would affect growth, intestinal morphology and immunological parameters of pigs. A total of 40 barrows (initial BW=13.50±0.50 kg, 45±2 day of age) were used in a completely randomized block design, and allocated to four dietary treatments containing CP levels at 20.00%, 17.16%, 15.30% and 13.90%, respectively. Industrial AA were added to meet the IAA requirements of pigs. After 4-week feeding, blood and tissue samples were obtained from pigs. The results showed that reducing dietary CP level decreased average daily gain, plasma urea nitrogen concentration and relative organ weights of liver and pancreas (P<0.01), and increased feed conversion ratio (P<0.01). Pigs fed the 13.90% CP diet had significantly lower growth performance than that of pigs fed higher CP at 20.00%, 17.16% or 15.30%. Moreover, reducing dietary CP level decreased villous height in duodenum (P<0.01) and crypt depth in duodenum, jejunum and ileum (P<0.01). The reduction in the dietary CP level increased plasma concentrations of methionine, alanine (P<0.01) and lysine (P<0.05), and decreased arginine (P<0.05). Intriguingly, reducing dietary CP level from 20.00% to 13.90% resulted in a significant decrease in plasma concentration of IgG (P<0.05), percentage of CD3+T cells of the peripheral blood (P<0.01), also down-regulated the mRNA abundance of innate immunity-related genes on toll-like receptor 4, myeloid differentiation factor 88 (P<0.01) and nuclear factor kappa B (P<0.05) in the ileum. These results indicate that reducing dietary CP level from 20.00% to 15.30%, supplemented with IAA, had no significant effect on growth performance and had a limited effect on immunological parameters. However, a further reduction of dietary CP level up to 13.90% would lead to poor growth performance and organ development, associated with the modifications of intestinal morphology and immune function.
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a type of pathogenic bacteria that cause diarrhea in piglets through colonizing pig small intestine epithelial cells by their surface fimbriae. Different fimbriae type of ETEC including F4, F18, K99 and F41 have been isolated from diarrheal pigs. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study to map the loci associated with the susceptibility of pigs to ETEC F41 using 39454 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 667 F2 pigs from a White Duroc×Erhualian F2 cross. The most significant SNP (ALGA0022658, P=5.59×10−13) located at 6.95 Mb on chromosome 4. ALGA0022658 was in high linkage disequilibrium (r2>0.5) with surrounding SNPs that span a 1.21 Mb interval. Within this 1.21 Mb region, we investigated ZFAT as a positional candidate gene. We re-sequenced cDNA of ZFAT in four pigs with different susceptibility phenotypes, and identified seven coding variants. We genotyped these seven variants in 287 unrelated pigs from 15 diverse breeds that were measured with ETEC F41 susceptibility phenotype. Five variants showed nominal significant association (P<0.05) with ETEC F41 susceptibility phenotype in International commercial pigs. This study provided refined region associated with susceptibility of pigs to ETEC F41 than that reported previously. Further works are needed to uncover the underlying causal mutation(s).
Understanding the physiological mechanisms of biomass accumulation and partitioning in the grain, and the nitrogen (N) uptake associated with different plant densities and N management strategies, is essential for achieving both high yield and N use efficiency (NUE) in maize plants. A field experiment was conducted in 2013 and 2014, using five rates of N application and three plant densities (6·0, 7·5 and 9·0 plants/m2) in Quzhou County on the North China Plain (NCP). The objective was to evaluate whether higher plant density can produce more biomass allocated to the grain to achieve higher grain yield and to determine the optimal N management strategies for different plant densities. The highest grain yield and NUE were achieved in the 7·5 plants/m2 treatment; both the sub-optimal (6·0 plants/m2) and supra-optimal (9·0 plants/m2) plant densities resulted in diminished yield and NUE. Compared to 6·0 plants/m2, the 7·5 plants/m2 treatment displayed higher biomass accumulation during the grain-filling period and also exhibited more biomass allocated to kernels with similar total biomass accumulation compared with the 9·0 plants/m2 treatment, which contributed to its higher grain yield. The N uptake in the 7·5 plants/m2 treatment was similar to that in the 9·0 plants/m2 treatment up to pre-silking. However, the post-silking N uptake of the 7·5 plants/m2 treatment was 66·4 kg/ha, which was 29·1% higher than that of the 9·0 plants/m2 treatment. Furthermore, the highest maize grain yield was achieved in the 0·7 × optimal N rate (ONR × 0·7), ONR and ONR × 1·3 treatments for 6·0, 7·5 and 9·0 plants/m2, respectively, which suggests that different N management strategies are needed for different plant densities. In conclusion, selecting a planting density of 7·5 plants/m2 with an in-season root zone N management is a potentially effective strategy for achieving high grain yield and high NUE for maize production on the NCP.
Photovoltaic (PV) systems are progressively used for decentralized electricity generation. To obtain the maximum yield from such systems, optimisation of all components is essential. In this contribution, we provide a comprehensive modelling and sizing of PV systems for any location. Three applications are here presented providing real time monitoring of PV potential, accurate prediction of yield taking into account thermodynamic temperature effects, optimization of modules orientation addressing the effects of shading and efficient sizing of inverter for a higher yield output. When combined, these models can accurately predict the real time performance of any PV system.
With the rapid developments in the exoplanet field, more and more terrestrial exoplanets are being detected. Characterizing their atmospheres using transit observations will become a key datum in the quest for detecting an Earth-like exoplanet. The atmospheric transmission spectrum of our Earth will be an ideal template for comparison with future exo-Earth candidates. By observing a lunar eclipse, which offers a similar configuration to that of an exoplanet transit, we have obtained a high-resolution and high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) transmission spectrum of the Earth's atmosphere. This observation was performed with the High Resolution Spectrograph at Xinglong Station, China during the total lunar eclipse in December 2011. We compare the observed transmission spectrum with our atmospheric model, and determine the characteristics of the various atmospheric species in detail. In the transmission spectrum, O2, O3, O2 · O2, NO2 and H2O are detected, and their column densities are measured and compared with the satellites data. The visible Chappuis band of ozone produces the most prominent absorption feature, which suggests that ozone is a promising molecule for the future exo-Earth characterization. Due to the high resolution and high SNR of our spectrum, several novel details of the Earth atmosphere's transmission spectrum are presented. The individual O2 lines are resolved and O2 isotopes are clearly detected. Our new observations do not confirm the absorption features of Ca II or Na I which have been reported in previous lunar eclipse observations. However, features in these and some other strong Fraunhofer line positions do occur in the observed spectrum. We propose that these are due to a Raman-scattered component in the forward-scattered sunlight appearing in the lunar umbral spectrum. Water vapour absorption is found to be rather weak in our spectrum because the atmosphere we probed is relatively dry, which prompts us to discuss the detectability of water vapour in Earth-like exoplanet atmospheres.
Assessing carbon footprint (CF) of crop production in a whole crop life-cycle could provide insights into the contribution of crop production to climate change and help to identify possible greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation options. In the current study, data for the major crops of China were collected from the national statistical archive on cultivation area, yield, application rates of fertilizer, pesticide, diesel, plastic film, irrigated water, etc. The CF of direct and indirect carbon emissions associated with or caused by these agricultural inputs was quantified with published emission factors. In general, paddy rice, wheat, maize and soybean of China had mean CFs of 2472, 794, 781 and 222 kg carbon equivalent (CE)/ha, and 0·37, 0·14, 0·12 and 0·10 kg CE/kg product, respectively. For dry crops (i.e. those grown without flooding the fields: wheat, maize and soybean), 0·78 of the total CFs was contributed by nitrogen (N) fertilizer use, including both direct soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emission and indirect emissions from N fertilizer manufacture. Meanwhile, direct methane (CH4) emissions contributed 0·69 on average to the total CFs of flooded paddy rice. Moreover, the difference in N fertilizer application rates explained 0·86–0·93 of the provincial variations of dry crop CFs while that in CH4 emissions could explain 0·85 of the provincial variation of paddy rice CFs. When a 30% reduction in N fertilization was considered, a potential reduction in GHGs of 60 megatonne (Mt) carbon dioxide equivalent from production of these crops was projected. The current work highlights opportunities to gain GHG emission reduction in production of crops associated with good management practices in China.
Pre-storage drying-transfer operations and early stage storage expose cladding to higher temperatures and much higher pressure-induced tensile hoop stresses relative to normal operation in-reactor and pool storage under these conditions. Radial hydrides precipitate during cooling and could provide an additional embrittlement mechanism as the cladding temperature decreases below the ductile-to-brittle transition temperature. To simulate this behavior, unirradiated Zircaloy-4 samples were hydrided by a gas charging method to levels that encompass the range of hydrogen concentrations observed in current used fuel. Mechanical testing was carried out by the ring compression test (RCT) method at various temperatures to evaluate the sample’s ductility for both as-hydrided and post-hydride reorientation treated specimens. As-hydrided samples with higher hydrogen concentration (>800 ppm) resulted in lower strain before fracture and reduced maximum load. Increasing RCT temperatures resulted in increased ductility of the as-hydrided cladding. A systematic radial hydride treatment was conducted at various pressures and temperatures for the hydrided samples with H content around 200 ppm. Following the radial hydride treatment, RCTs on the hydride reoriented samples were conducted and exhibited lower ductility compared to as-hydrided samples.
We have performed an analysis on three hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si:H) based solar cells. In order to determine the impact that impurities play in shaping the material properties, the XRD and Raman spectra corresponding to all three samples were measured. The XRD results, which displayed a number of crystalline silicon-based peaks, were used in order to approximate the mean crystallite sizes through Scherrer's equation. Through a peak decomposition process, the Raman results were used to estimate the corresponding crystalline volume fraction. It was noted that small crystallite sizes appear to favor larger crystalline volume fractions. This dependence seems to be related to the oxygen impurity concentration level within the intrinsic nc-Si:H layers.
In many base-station applications, the load/usage fluctuates over time periods of hours to days, thereby varying the required transmit power by as much as 10 dB. It is desirable to maintain high efficiency and linearity in the power amplifier under these back-off conditions in order to achieve high long-term efficiency. This paper demonstrates a scalable digital predistortion (DPD) approach that can be applied under different power back-off levels in envelope-tracking (ET) amplifiers and quantifies the associated efficiency. Efficiency comparisons are made with other amplifier configurations such as Class B and Doherty. Efficiency of 60% at full power (35 W average power) and >30% efficiency at 10 dB average power back-off are measured in an ET amplifier with a 7.54 dB peak-to-average ratio (PAPR) single-carrier WCDMA signal while meeting linearity specifications. Long-term base-station usage probability functions are presented. The long-term efficiency of the ET amplifiers is simulated to be greater than that of Class B and Doherty amplifiers.
We investigate metallic thin films on VO2 and show that the magnitude of the reflected color change in that visible portion of the spectrum as VO2 undergoes the insulating to metallic phase transition can be controlled by changing the type of metal, the thickness of the metal and by patterning the metal at the nano scale. We consider the role of surface plasmas in the metal film and show that in the near infrared, the magnitude of the reflectivity increase for metal coated VO2 films, but decrease for uncoated VO2 thin films. This is explained in the context of Fresnel equations and considering the large change in the imaginary part of the dielectric constant as the VO2 changes state from the insulating to metallic phase.
VO2films were deposited on sapphire, ITO glass and 200 nm thick silicon nitride membranes by Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD). The electrical and optical properties have been investigated. Joule heating devices fabricated on silicon nitride membranes switches from semiconductor phase to metal phase by applying a constant voltage across two metal contacts. Compared to the devices fabricated on the normal substrates, such as sapphire, silicon or glasses, the switching speed of the devices on membrane is an order of magnitude faster. Decreasing the area and thickness of VO2 on top of thinner membranes allows kHz bandwidth to be achieved.