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The COVID-19 pandemic has created a high demand on personal protective equipment, including disposable N95 masks. Given the need for mask reuse, we tested the feasibility of vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), ultraviolet light (UV), and ethanol decontamination strategies on N95 mask integrity and the ability to remove the infectious potential of SARS-CoV-2.
Disposable N95 masks, including medical grade (1860, 1870+) and industrial grade (8511) masks, were treated by VHP, UV, and ethanol decontamination. Mask degradation was tested using a quantitative respirator fit testing. Pooled clinical samples of SARS-CoV-2 were applied to mask samples, treated, and then either sent immediately for real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or incubated with Vero E6 cells to assess for virucidal effect.
Both ethanol and UV decontamination showed functional degradation to different degrees while VHP treatment showed no significant change after two treatments. We also report a single SARS-CoV-2 virucidal experiment using Vero E6 cell infection in which only ethanol treatment eliminated detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
We hope our data will guide further research for evidenced-based decisions for disposable N95 mask reuse and help protect caregivers from SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a devastating rare disease that affects individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, and age. The first-approved disease-modifying therapy for SMA, nusinursen, was approved by Health Canada, as well as by American and European regulatory agencies following positive clinical trial outcomes. The trials were conducted in a narrow pediatric population defined by age, severity, and genotype. Broad approval of therapy necessitates close follow-up of potential rare adverse events and effectiveness in the larger real-world population.
The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) undertook an iterative multi-stakeholder process to expand the existing SMA dataset to capture items relevant to patient outcomes in a post-marketing environment. The CNDR SMA expanded registry is a longitudinal, prospective, observational study of patients with SMA in Canada designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of novel therapies and provide practical information unattainable in trials.
The consensus expanded dataset includes items that address therapy effectiveness and safety and is collected in a multicenter, prospective, observational study, including SMA patients regardless of therapeutic status. The expanded dataset is aligned with global datasets to facilitate collaboration. Additionally, consensus dataset development aimed to standardize appropriate outcome measures across the network and broader Canadian community. Prospective outcome studies, data use, and analyses are independent of the funding partner.
Prospective outcome data collected will provide results on safety and effectiveness in a post-therapy approval era. These data are essential to inform improvements in care and access to therapy for all SMA patients.
Background: Trauma care represents a complex patient journey, requiring multi-disciplinary coordinated care. Team members are human, and as such, how they feel about their colleagues and their work affects performance. The challenge for health service leaders is enabling culture that supports high levels of collaboration, cooperation and coordination across diverse groups. Aim Statement: We aimed to define and set the agenda for improvement of the relational aspects of trauma care at a large tertiary care hospital. Measures & Design: We conducted a mixed-methods collaborative ethnography using the Relational Coordination survey – an established tool to analyze the relational dimensions of multidisciplinary teamwork – participant observation, interviews, and narrative surveys. Findings were presented to clinicians in working groups for further interpretation and to facilitate co-creation of targeted interventions designed to improve team relationships and performance. Evaluation/Results: We engaged a complex multidisciplinary network of ~500 care providers dispersed across seven core interdependent clinical disciplines. Initial findings highlighted the importance of relationships in trauma care and opportunities to improve. Narrative survey and ethnographic findings further highlighted the centrality of a translational simulation program in contributing positively to team culture and relational ties. A range of 16 interventions – focusing on structural, process and relational dimensions – were co-created with participants and are now being implemented and evaluated by various trauma care providers. Discussion/Impact: Through engagement of clinicians spanning organizational boundaries, relational aspects of care can be measured and directly targeted in a collaborative quality improvement process. We encourage health care leaders to consider relationship-based quality improvement strategies, including translational simulation and relational coordination processes, in their efforts to improve care for patients with complex, interdependent journeys.
Presenteeism, or working while ill, by healthcare personnel (HCP) experiencing influenza-like illness (ILI) puts patients and coworkers at risk. However, hospital policies and practices may not consistently facilitate HCP staying home when ill.
Objective and methods:
We conducted a mixed-methods survey in March 2018 of Emerging Infections Network infectious diseases physicians, describing institutional experiences with and policies for HCP working with ILI.
Of 715 physicians, 367 (51%) responded. Of 367, 135 (37%) were unaware of institutional policies. Of the remaining 232 respondents, 206 (89%) reported institutional policies regarding work restrictions for HCP with influenza or ILI, but only 145 (63%) said these were communicated at least annually. More than half of respondents (124, 53%) reported that adherence to work restrictions was not monitored or enforced. Work restrictions were most often not perceived to be enforced for physicians-in-training and attending physicians. Nearly all (223, 96%) reported that their facility tracked laboratory-confirmed influenza (LCI) in patients; 85 (37%) reported tracking ILI. For employees, 109 (47%) reported tracking of LCI and 53 (23%) reported tracking ILI. For independent physicians, not employed by the facility, 30 (13%) reported tracking LCI and 11 (5%) ILI.
More than one-third of respondents were unaware of whether their institutions had policies to prevent HCP with ILI from working; among those with knowledge of institutional policies, dissemination, monitoring, and enforcement of these policies was highly variable. Improving communication about work-restriction policies, as well as monitoring and enforcement, may help prevent the spread of infections from HCP to patients.
Frascati international research criteria for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) are controversial; some investigators have argued that Frascati criteria are too liberal, resulting in a high false positive rate. Meyer et al. recommended more conservative revisions to HAND criteria, including exploring other commonly used methodologies for neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in HIV including the global deficit score (GDS). This study compares NCI classifications by Frascati, Meyer, and GDS methods, in relation to neuroimaging markers of brain integrity in HIV.
Two hundred forty-one people living with HIV (PLWH) without current substance use disorder or severe (confounding) comorbid conditions underwent comprehensive neurocognitive testing and brain structural magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Participants were classified using Frascati criteria versus Meyer criteria: concordant unimpaired [Frascati(Un)/Meyer(Un)], concordant impaired [Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Imp)], or discordant [Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Un)] which were impaired via Frascati criteria but unimpaired via Meyer criteria. To investigate the GDS versus Meyer criteria, the same groupings were utilized using GDS criteria instead of Frascati criteria.
When examining Frascati versus Meyer criteria, discordant Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Un) individuals had less cortical gray matter, greater sulcal cerebrospinal fluid volume, and greater evidence of neuroinflammation (i.e., choline) than concordant Frascati(Un)/Meyer(Un) individuals. GDS versus Meyer comparisons indicated that discordant GDS(Imp)/Meyer(Un) individuals had less cortical gray matter and lower levels of energy metabolism (i.e., creatine) than concordant GDS(Un)/Meyer(Un) individuals. In both sets of analyses, the discordant group did not differ from the concordant impaired group on any neuroimaging measure.
The Meyer criteria failed to capture a substantial portion of PLWH with brain abnormalities. These findings support continued use of Frascati or GDS criteria to detect HIV-associated CNS dysfunction.
Objectives: Studies of neurocognitively elite older adults, termed SuperAgers, have identified clinical predictors and neurobiological indicators of resilience against age-related neurocognitive decline. Despite rising rates of older persons living with HIV (PLWH), SuperAging (SA) in PLWH remains undefined. We aimed to establish neuropsychological criteria for SA in PLWH and examined clinically relevant correlates of SA. Methods: 734 PLWH and 123 HIV-uninfected participants between 50 and 64 years of age underwent neuropsychological and neuromedical evaluations. SA was defined as demographically corrected (i.e., sex, race/ethnicity, education) global neurocognitive performance within normal range for 25-year-olds. Remaining participants were labeled cognitively normal (CN) or impaired (CI) based on actual age. Chi-square and analysis of variance tests examined HIV group differences on neurocognitive status and demographics. Within PLWH, neurocognitive status differences were tested on HIV disease characteristics, medical comorbidities, and everyday functioning. Multinomial logistic regression explored independent predictors of neurocognitive status. Results: Neurocognitive status rates and demographic characteristics differed between PLWH (SA=17%; CN=38%; CI=45%) and HIV-uninfected participants (SA=35%; CN=55%; CI=11%). In PLWH, neurocognitive groups were comparable on demographic and HIV disease characteristics. Younger age, higher verbal IQ, absence of diabetes, fewer depressive symptoms, and lifetime cannabis use disorder increased likelihood of SA. SA reported increased independence in everyday functioning, employment, and health-related quality of life than non-SA. Conclusions: Despite combined neurological risk of aging and HIV, youthful neurocognitive performance is possible for older PLWH. SA relates to improved real-world functioning and may be better explained by cognitive reserve and maintenance of cardiometabolic and mental health than HIV disease severity. Future research investigating biomarker and lifestyle (e.g., physical activity) correlates of SA may help identify modifiable neuroprotective factors against HIV-related neurobiological aging. (JINS, 2019, 25, 507–519)
The deep subsurface of other planetary bodies is of special interest for robotic and human exploration. The subsurface provides access to planetary interior processes, thus yielding insights into planetary formation and evolution. On Mars, the subsurface might harbour the most habitable conditions. In the context of human exploration, the subsurface can provide refugia for habitation from extreme surface conditions. We describe the fifth Mine Analogue Research (MINAR 5) programme at 1 km depth in the Boulby Mine, UK in collaboration with Spaceward Bound NASA and the Kalam Centre, India, to test instruments and methods for the robotic and human exploration of deep environments on the Moon and Mars. The geological context in Permian evaporites provides an analogue to evaporitic materials on other planetary bodies such as Mars. A wide range of sample acquisition instruments (NASA drills, Small Planetary Impulse Tool (SPLIT) robotic hammer, universal sampling bags), analytical instruments (Raman spectroscopy, Close-Up Imager, Minion DNA sequencing technology, methane stable isotope analysis, biomolecule and metabolic life detection instruments) and environmental monitoring equipment (passive air particle sampler, particle detectors and environmental monitoring equipment) was deployed in an integrated campaign. Investigations included studying the geochemical signatures of chloride and sulphate evaporitic minerals, testing methods for life detection and planetary protection around human-tended operations, and investigations on the radiation environment of the deep subsurface. The MINAR analogue activity occurs in an active mine, showing how the development of space exploration technology can be used to contribute to addressing immediate Earth-based challenges. During the campaign, in collaboration with European Space Agency (ESA), MINAR was used for astronaut familiarization with future exploration tools and techniques. The campaign was used to develop primary and secondary school and primary to secondary transition curriculum materials on-site during the campaign which was focused on a classroom extra vehicular activity simulation.
Stormwater catch basins form part of artificial drainage systems in urban areas and can provide larval habitat for mosquito vector species of West Nile virus (WNv), such as Culex pipiens Linnaeus (Diptera: Culicidae). We evaluated the impact of management techniques and targeted applications of larvicide on larval populations of this potential WNv mosquito vector species in catch basins from the Lower Mainland of Vancouver and on Vancouver Island of British Columbia, Canada. A mixed effects logistic regression model described the relationship between larval presence and larvicide treatment while controlling for other parameters. Parameter estimates showed that larvicide treatment reduced the odds of larvae presence by a factor of ∼7.23. The model also revealed relationships between larval presence and water temperature and adjacent land use but larvicide treatment consistently reduced the presence of larvae regardless of these other factors. This knowledge can now be used to prioritise and target control efforts to most efficiently reduce WNv mosquito vector populations, and most effectively reduce the risk of WNv transmission to humans. A similar research strategy could be applied to emerging threats from other potential mosquito vectors of disease around the world, to help lower the incidence of mosquito-borne disease.
Studies of recently isolated populations are useful because observed differences can often be attributed to current environmental variation. Two populations of the lizard Anolis lemurinus have been isolated on the islands of Cayo Menor and Cayo Mayor in the Cayos Cochinos Archipelago of Honduras for less than 15 000 y. We measured 12 morphometric and 10 habitat-use variables on 220 lizards across these islands in 2 y, 2008 and 2009. The goals of our study were (1) to explore patterns of sexual dimorphism, and (2) to test the hypothesis that differences in environment among islands may have driven divergence in morphology and habitat use despite genetic homogeneity among populations. Although we found no differences among sexes in habitat use, males had narrower pelvic girdles and longer toe pads on both islands. Between islands, males differed in morphology, but neither males nor females differed in habitat use. Our data suggest that either recent selection has operated differentially on males despite low genetic differentiation, or that they display phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental variation. We suggest that patterns may be driven by variation in intrapopulation density or differences in predator diversity among islands.
The legal consequences of excessive sleepiness may impact patients, their physicians, and the public at large. Individuals with daytime sleepiness and/or known or suspected sleep disorders need to take precautions at work or when driving to ensure that they do not pose a risk to themselves or others. Physicians should inquire about excessive sleepiness or other symptoms of sleep apnea in any patient who drives, but especially in patients who are commercial vehicle drivers. Physicians and healthcare workers need to be aware of the accident risks associated with sleep disorders and the legal implications around this in their particular jurisdiction. The development of new guidelines and medical standards in the transportation industry will eventually have an impact on physicians, employers and drivers alike. Legislators must continue to work with practitioners and scientists to balance adequate protection of the public interest with individual rights.
The events occurring during the time in hospital of 24 babies were recorded in detail, particularly those related to bowel function. The babies were admitted to a general paediatric unit with various diagnoses a total of 27 times during a six month period. The purpose of the study was to fill gaps in the records of a previous study (Scott et al. 1979) and to try to relate excretion of viruses detectable by electron microscopy to disturbances of bowel function (diarrhoea and/or vomiting). The results showed that a variety of viruses were associated with gastroenteropathy, that virus excretion could occur without disease and that hospital acquisition of virus is not uncommon. Antiobiotic treatment did not appear to precipitate diarrhoea in this small number of babies.
To analyze compliance with one aspect of the regulation of stormwater discharge, we estimate a random-utility model of the probability that a builder uses a silt fence to control sediments on a lot with a house under construction in an urbanizing county of South Carolina. The probability increases if the builder is responsible to the subdivision's developer or if a homeowners association exists. The probability also increases as the cost to install a silt fence decreases or the number of houses under construction per built house in a subdivision increases. The results can help county officials target inspection to improve compliance.
Ab Initio calculations of various configurations of In2Se3 compounds are used to gain insight into the transition from crystalline to amorphous phase. The structures considered are based on wurzite structures with 1/3 of indium sites vacant as observed experimentally. From extensive calculations for possible vacancy configurations in In2Se3 compounds, predictions based on the local coordination of In/Se atoms are made for the energetically favorable vacancy ordering structures. Results indicate that in the most stable In vacancy configurations, Se atoms have coordination of either 2 or 3 (In atoms have coordination of 4). Other coordinations lead to significantly higher formation energies. Results from analyzing the total energy and electronic structure of a range of off-stoichiometry, including vacancies, interstitials and anti-site, configurations, suggest that the energetically most favorable way to form In-rich material is via incorporation of Se vacancies, while Se occupying a vacant site is the most favorable for formation of Se-rich phase. Based on these calculations, predictions are made on how stoichiometry deviations impact structural evolution during phase change.