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The novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is the causative agent of the 2020 worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Antibody testing is useful for diagnosing historic infections of a disease in a population. These tests are also a helpful epidemiological tool for predicting how the virus spreads in a community, relating antibody levels to immunity and for assessing herd immunity. In the present study, SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins were recombinantly produced and used to analyse serum from individuals previously exposed, or not, to SARS-CoV-2. The nucleocapsid (Npro) and spike subunit 2 (S2Frag) proteins were identified as highly immunogenic, although responses to the former were generally greater. These two proteins were used to develop two quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) that when used in combination resulted in a highly reliable diagnostic test. Npro and S2Frag-ELISAs could detect at least 10% more true positive coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases than the commercially available ARCHITECT test (Abbott). Moreover, our quantitative ELISAs also show that specific antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 proteins tend to wane rapidly even in patients who had developed severe disease. As antibody tests complement COVID-19 diagnosis and determine population-level surveillance during this pandemic, the alternative diagnostic we present in this study could play a role in controlling the spread of the virus.
The current study argues that population prevalence estimates for mental health disorders, or changes in mean scores over time, may not adequately reflect the heterogeneity in mental health response to the COVID-19 pandemic within the population.
The COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium (C19PRC) Study is a longitudinal, nationally representative, online survey of UK adults. The current study analysed data from its first three waves of data collection: Wave 1 (March 2020, N = 2025), Wave 2 (April 2020, N = 1406) and Wave 3 (July 2020, N = 1166). Anxiety-depression was measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire Anxiety and Depression Scale (a composite measure of the PHQ-9 and GAD-7) and COVID-19-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the International Trauma Questionnaire. Changes in mental health outcomes were modelled across the three waves. Latent class growth analysis was used to identify subgroups of individuals with different trajectories of change in anxiety-depression and COVID-19 PTSD. Latent class membership was regressed on baseline characteristics.
Overall prevalence of anxiety-depression remained stable, while COVID-19 PTSD reduced between Waves 2 and 3. Heterogeneity in mental health response was found, and hypothesised classes reflecting (i) stability, (ii) improvement and (iii) deterioration in mental health were identified. Psychological factors were most likely to differentiate the improving, deteriorating and high-stable classes from the low-stable mental health trajectories.
A low-stable profile characterised by little-to-no psychological distress (‘resilient’ class) was the most common trajectory for both anxiety-depression and COVID-19 PTSD. Monitoring these trajectories is necessary moving forward, in particular for the ~30% of individuals with increasing anxiety-depression levels.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency has led to numerous attempts to assess the impact of the pandemic on population mental health. The findings indicate an increase in depression and anxiety but have been limited by the lack of specificity about which aspects of the pandemic (e.g. viral exposure or economic threats) have led to adverse mental health outcomes.
Network analyses were conducted on data from wave 1 (N = 2025, recruited 23 March–28 March 2020) and wave 2 (N = 1406, recontacts 22 April–1 May 2020) of the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium Study, an online longitudinal survey of a representative sample of the UK adult population. Our models included depression (PHQ-9), generalized anxiety (GAD-7) and trauma symptoms (ITQ); and measures of COVID-specific anxiety, exposure to the virus in self and close others, as well as economic loss due to the pandemic.
A mixed graphical model at wave 1 identified a potential pathway from economic adversity to anxiety symptoms via COVID-specific anxiety. There was no association between viral exposure and symptoms. Ising network models using clinical cut-offs for symptom scores at each wave yielded similar findings, with the exception of a modest effect of viral exposure on trauma symptoms at wave 1 only. Anxiety and depression symptoms formed separate clusters at wave 1 but not wave 2.
The psychological impact of the pandemic evolved in the early phase of lockdown. COVID-related anxiety may represent the mechanism through which economic consequences of the pandemic are associated with psychiatric symptoms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis, necessitating drastic changes to living conditions, social life, personal freedom and economic activity. No study has yet examined the presence of psychiatric symptoms in the UK population under similar conditions.
We investigated the prevalence of COVID-19-related anxiety, generalised anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms in the UK population during an early phase of the pandemic, and estimated associations with variables likely to influence these symptoms.
Between 23 and 28 March 2020, a quota sample of 2025 UK adults aged 18 years and older, stratified by age, gender and household income, was recruited by online survey company Qualtrics. Participants completed standardised measures of depression, generalised anxiety and trauma symptoms relating to the pandemic. Bivariate and multivariate associations were calculated for demographic and health-related variables.
Higher levels of anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms were reported compared with previous population studies, but not dramatically so. Anxiety or depression and trauma symptoms were predicted by young age, presence of children in the home, and high estimates of personal risk. Anxiety and depression were also predicted by low income, loss of income and pre-existing health conditions in self and others. Specific anxiety about COVID-19 was greater in older participants.
This study showed a modest increase in the prevalence of mental health problems in the early stages of the pandemic, and these problems were predicted by several specific COVID-related variables. Further similar surveys, particularly of those with children at home, are required as the pandemic progresses.
Studies have shown that there are overlapping traits and symptoms between autism and psychosis but no study to date has addressed this association from an epidemiological approach in the adult general population. Furthermore, it is not clear whether autistic traits are associated with specific symptoms of psychosis or with psychosis in general. We assess these associations for the first time by using the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) 2007 and the APMS 2014, predicting an association between autistic traits and probable psychosis, and specific associations between autistic traits and paranoia and strange experiences.
Participants (N = 7353 in 2007 and 7500 in 2014) completed the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire (PSQ) and a 20-item version of the Autism Quotient (AQ-20). Binomial logistic regressions were performed using AQ-20 as the independent variable and probable psychosis and specific symptoms as dependent variables.
In the APMS 2007 dataset, significant associations were found between autism traits and probable psychosis, paranoia, thought insertion, and strange experiences. These results were replicated in APMS 2014 but with the additional significant association between autistic traits and hallucinations. Participants in the highest quartile of the AQ-20, compared with the lowest quartile, had an increased risk of probable psychosis of odds ratio (OR) = 15.5 [95% confidence interval (CI) 4.57–52.6] in APMS 2007 and OR = 22.5 (95% CI 7.64–66.3) in APMS 2014.
Autistic traits are strongly associated with probable psychosis and psychotic experiences with the exception of mania. Limitations such as the cross-sectional nature of the study are discussed.
There is a long history of exploitation of the South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Conservation efforts for this species started in the 1960s but best practices were not established, and population trends and the number of nesting females protected remained unknown. In 2014 we formed a working group to discuss conservation strategies and to compile population data across the species’ range. We analysed the spatial pattern of its abundance in relation to human and natural factors using multiple regression analyses. We found that > 85 conservation programmes are protecting 147,000 nesting females, primarily in Brazil. The top six sites harbour > 100,000 females and should be prioritized for conservation action. Abundance declines with latitude and we found no evidence of human pressure on current turtle abundance patterns. It is presently not possible to estimate the global population trend because the species is not monitored continuously across the Amazon basin. The number of females is increasing at some localities and decreasing at others. However, the current size of the protected population is well below the historical population size estimated from past levels of human consumption, which demonstrates the need for concerted global conservation action. The data and management recommendations compiled here provide the basis for a regional monitoring programme among South American countries.
TMNCN (where TM = Mn2+, Fe2+, Co2+ or Ni2+) have been recently proposed as electrochemically active materials for Na-ion insertion that operate via conversion reaction. Their electrochemical performance for Na-ion batteries is presented here with an emphasis on long-term cycling. With a very low voltage for Na insertion of ∼0.1V vs Na+/Na for MnNCN, the overpotential observed in batteries of MnNCN plays a very important role in their performance, evidencing big differences in the electrochemical performance between materials produced with different nano- and micrometer particle sizes evidenced by SEM images. A more suitable voltage for the conversion reaction accompanied by less overpotential is shown by FeNCN, CoNCN and NiNCN. Despite the lower reversible capacity achieved by FeNCN (450 mAh/g) in comparison with CoNCN and NiNCN in the first cycle; the smallest first-cycle irreversible capacity (220 mAh/g) and the lower voltage plateau (0.3 V vs Na+/Na) make FeNCN a good candidate as an anode material for sodium ion batteries. The voltages of conversion reaction are correlated with the calculated enthalpies of formation suggesting that thermodynamics dominates the observed electrochemical conversion reaction.
We have obtained deep g, r, and i-band Subaru and ultra-deep 3.6 μm IRAC images of parts of the multiply-wrapped stellar stream around the nearby edge-on galaxy NGC 5907. We have fitted the surface brightness measurements of the stream with FSPS stellar population synthesis models to derive the metallicity and age of the brightest parts of the stream. The resulting relatively high metallicity ([Fe/H] = −0.3) is consistent with a major merger scenario but a satellite accretion event cannot be ruled out.
There are several ways planets can survive the giant phase of the host star, hence one can consider the case of Earth-like planets orbiting white dwarfs. As a white dwarf cools from 6000 K to 4000 K, a planet orbiting at 0.01 AU from the star would remain in the continuous habitable zone (CHZ) for about 8 Gyr. Polarisation due to a terrestrial planet in the CHZ of a cool white dwarf (CWD) is 102 (104) times larger than it would be in the habitable zone of a typical M-dwarf (Sun-like star). Polarimetry is thus a powerful tool to detect close-in planets around white dwarfs. Multi-band polarimetry would also allow one to reveal the presence of a planet atmosphere, even providing a first characterisation. With current facilities a super-Earth-sized atmosphereless planet is detectable with polarimetry around the brightest known CWD. Planned future facilities render smaller planets detectable, in particular by increasing the instrumental sensitivity in the blue. Preliminary habitability study show also that photosynthetic processes can be sustained on Earth-like planets orbiting CWDs and that the DNA-weighted UV radiation dose for an Earth-like planet in the CHZ is less than the maxima encountered on Earth, hence white dwarfs are compatible with the persistence of complex life from the perspective of UV irradiation.
Many contentious elections end in disputes about alleged fraud, irregularities, and malpractices. How do we know when these claims are valid and when they are false complaints from sore losers? This article describes a new dataset developed by the Electoral Integrity Project. Based on a survey of election experts, the research provides new evidence to compare how national contests around the world are meeting international standards of electoral integrity. The questionnaire includes 49 key indicators clustered into 11 stages of the electoral cycle, as well as generating an overall summary Perception of Electoral Integrity (PEI) 100-point index. The evidence displays high levels of external validity, internal validity, and legitimacy. The PEI datasets allow researchers to gauge the perceived quality of elections worldwide. This study summarizes the PEI’s research design, compares the quality of elections around the globe, and illustrates how electoral integrity is linked with both democracy and development.
Tetralogy of Fallot is the most common form of cyanotic congenital cardiac disease. Patients with previously repaired tetralogy of Fallot are the most common patients seen in the Program for Adults with Congenital Heart Disease at The Johns Hopkins All Children's Heart Institute. Guidelines for the management of these patients are available from multiple sources including The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and The American Heart Association (AHA), The Canadian Cardiovascular Society, and The European Society of Cardiology (ESC). These guidelines describe multiple components related to the care for these patients including strategies for medical follow-up, the management of arrhythmias and electrophysiological diseases, and the treatment of chronic pulmonary insufficiency and stenosis. Several new strategies are available for replacement of the pulmonary valve including transcatheter replacement of the pulmonary valve and replacement of the pulmonary valve with a self-manufactured bicuspid polytetrafluoroethylene pulmonary valve.
To examine the use of vitamin D supplements during infancy among the participants in an international infant feeding trial.
Information about vitamin D supplementation was collected through a validated FFQ at the age of 2 weeks and monthly between the ages of 1 month and 6 months.
Infants (n 2159) with a biological family member affected by type 1 diabetes and with increased human leucocyte antigen-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes from twelve European countries, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Daily use of vitamin D supplements was common during the first 6 months of life in Northern and Central Europe (>80 % of the infants), with somewhat lower rates observed in Southern Europe (>60 %). In Canada, vitamin D supplementation was more common among exclusively breast-fed than other infants (e.g. 71 % v. 44 % at 6 months of age). Less than 2 % of infants in the USA and Australia received any vitamin D supplementation. Higher gestational age, older maternal age and longer maternal education were study-wide associated with greater use of vitamin D supplements.
Most of the infants received vitamin D supplements during the first 6 months of life in the European countries, whereas in Canada only half and in the USA and Australia very few were given supplementation.
In the lead-up to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, several next-generation radio telescopes and upgrades are already being built around the world. These include APERTIF (The Netherlands), ASKAP (Australia), e-MERLIN (UK), VLA (USA), e-EVN (based in Europe), LOFAR (The Netherlands), MeerKAT (South Africa), and the Murchison Widefield Array. Each of these new instruments has different strengths, and coordination of surveys between them can help maximise the science from each of them. A radio continuum survey is being planned on each of them with the primary science objective of understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies over cosmic time, and the cosmological parameters and large-scale structures which drive it. In pursuit of this objective, the different teams are developing a variety of new techniques, and refining existing ones. To achieve these exciting scientific goals, many technical challenges must be addressed by the survey instruments. Given the limited resources of the global radio-astronomical community, it is essential that we pool our skills and knowledge. We do not have sufficient resources to enjoy the luxury of re-inventing wheels. We face significant challenges in calibration, imaging, source extraction and measurement, classification and cross-identification, redshift determination, stacking, and data-intensive research. As these instruments extend the observational parameters, we will face further unexpected challenges in calibration, imaging, and interpretation. If we are to realise the full scientific potential of these expensive instruments, it is essential that we devote enough resources and careful study to understanding the instrumental effects and how they will affect the data. We have established an SKA Radio Continuum Survey working group, whose prime role is to maximise science from these instruments by ensuring we share resources and expertise across the projects. Here we describe these projects, their science goals, and the technical challenges which are being addressed to maximise the science return.
Improved survival in children with complex congenital cardiac disease, such as conotruncal abnormalities, has created a sub-population of children and young adults who need comprehensive multi-disciplinary long-term follow-up. Routine surveillance with comprehensive screening for structural heart disease, functional heart disease, thromboembolic disease, arrhythmias, and associated end-organ dysfunction is important. Future research will better define the care plans for routine surveillance in patients with conotruncal abnormalities.