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Many countries have enacted a quick response to the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic by utilizing existing technologies. For example, robotics, artificial intelligence, and digital technology have been deployed in hospitals and public areas for maintaining social distancing, reducing person-to-person contact, enabling rapid diagnosis, tracking virus spread, and providing sanitation. In this paper, 163 news articles and scientific reports on COVID-19-related technology adoption were screened, shortlisted, categorized by application scenario, and reviewed for functionality. Technologies related to robots, artificial intelligence, and digital technology were selected from the pool of candidates, yielding a total of 50 applications for review. Each case was analyzed for its engineering characteristics and potential impact on the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, challenges and future directions regarding the response to this pandemic and future pandemics were summarized and discussed.
The epidemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) began in China and had spread rapidly to many other countries. This study aimed to identify risk factors associated with delayed negative conversion of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients. In this retrospective single-centre study, we included 169 consecutive patients with confirmed COVID-19 in Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University from 15th January to 2nd March. The cases were divided into two groups according to the median time of SARS-CoV-2 negative conversion. The differences between groups were compared. In total, 169 patients had a median virus negative conversion time of 18 days (interquartile range: 11–25) from symptom onset. Compared with the patients with short-term negative conversion, those with long-term conversion had an older age, higher incidence of comorbidities, chief complaints of cough and chest distress/breath shortness and severer illness on admission, higher level of leucocytes, neutrophils, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), lower level of CD3+CD4+ lymphocytes and albumin and more likely to receive mechanical ventilation. In multivariate analysis, cough, leucocytes, neutrophils and ESR were positively correlated with delayed virus negative conversion, and CD3+CD4+ lymphocytes were negatively correlated. The integrated indicator of leucocytes, neutrophils and CD3+CD4+ lymphocytes showed a good performance in predicting the negative conversion within 2 weeks (area under ROC curve (AUC) = 0.815), 3 weeks (AUC = 0.804), 4 weeks (AUC = 0.812) and 5 weeks (AUC = 0.786). In conclusion, longer quarantine periods might be more justified for COVID-19 patients with cough, higher levels of leucocytes, neutrophils and ESR and lower levels of CD3+CD4+ lymphocytes.
Shifts in the maternal gut microbiota have been implicated in the development of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Understanding the interaction between gut microbiota and host glucose metabolism will provide a new target of prediction and treatment. In this nested case-control study, we aimed to investigate the causal effects of gut microbiota from GDM patients on the glucose metabolism of germ-free (GF) mice. Stool and peripheral blood samples, as well as clinical information, were collected from 45 GDM patients and 45 healthy controls (matched by age and prepregnancy body mass index (BMI)) in the first and second trimester. Gut microbiota profiles were explored by next-generation sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, and inflammatory factors in peripheral blood were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Fecal samples from GDM and non-GDM donors were transferred to GF mice. The gut microbiota of women with GDM showed reduced richness, specifically decreased Bacteroides and Akkermansia, as well as increased Faecalibacterium. The relative abundance of Akkermansia was negatively associated with blood glucose levels, and the relative abundance of Faecalibacterium was positively related to inflammatory factor concentrations. The transfer of fecal microbiota from GDM and non-GDM donors to GF mice resulted in different gut microbiota colonization patterns, and hyperglycemia was induced in mice that received GDM donor microbiota. These results suggested that the shifting pattern of gut microbiota in GDM patients contributed to disease pathogenesis.
Increased intake of vegetables and fruits has been associated with reduced risk of tuberculosis infection. Vegetables and fruits exert immunoregulatory effects; however, it is not clear whether vegetables and fruits have an adjuvant treatment effect on tuberculosis. Between 2009 and 2013, a hospital-based cohort study was conducted in Linyi, Shandong Province, China. Treatment outcome was ascertained by sputum smear and chest computerised tomography, and dietary intake was assessed by a semi-quantitative FFQ. The dietary questionnaire was conducted at the end of month 2 of treatment initiation. Participants recalled their dietary intake of the previous 2 months. A total of 2309 patients were enrolled in this study. After 6 months of treatment, 2099 patients were successfully treated and 210 were uncured. In multivariate models, higher intake of total vegetables and fruits (OR 0·70; 95 % CI 0·49, 0·99), total vegetables (OR 0·68; 95 % CI 0·48, 0·97), dark-coloured vegetables (OR 0·61; 95 % CI 0·43, 0·86) and light-coloured vegetables (OR 0·67; 95 % CI 0·48, 0·95) were associated with reduced failure rate of tuberculosis treatment. No association was found between total fruit intake and reduced failure rate of tuberculosis treatment (OR 0·98; 95 % CI 0·70, 1·37). High intake of total vegetables and fruits, especially vegetables, is associated with lower risk of failure of tuberculosis treatment in pulmonary tuberculosis patients. The results provide important information for dietary guidelines during tuberculosis treatment.
Nearly 80% of new cases of myopia arise between 9 and 13 years old when puberty development also progresses rapidly. However, little is known about the association between myopia and puberty. We aim to evaluate the association between myopia and menarche, the most important puberty indicator for girls, and to test whether menarche could modify the effects of myopia-related behaviors. The participants came from two consecutive national surveys conducted in 30 provinces in mainland China in 2010 and 2014. We included 102,883 girls (61% had experienced menarche) aged 10–15 years. Risk behaviors for myopia which included sleep duration, homework time, and outdoor activity were measured by self-administrated questionnaire. Myopia was defined according to a validated method, and its relationships with menarche status and behaviors were evaluated by robust Poisson regression models based on generalized estimated equation adjusting for cluster effect of school. We found that postmenarche girls were at 13% (95% confidence interval: 11%–16%) higher risk of myopia than premenarche girls, after adjusting for exact age, urban–rural location, survey year, and four behavioral covariates. Short sleep duration (<7 h/d), long homework time (>1 h/d) and low frequency of weekend outdoor activity tended to be stronger (with higher prevalence ratios associated with myopia) risk factors for myopia in postmenarche girls than in premenarche girls, and their interaction with menarche status was all statistically significant (P < 0.05). Overall, our study suggests that menarche onset may be associated with increased risk of myopia among school-aged girls and could also enhance girls’ sensitivity to myopia-related risk behaviors.
Clonorchis sinensis (C. sinensis) is one of the most serious food-borne parasites, which can lead to liver fibrosis or cholangiocarcinoma. Effective measures for clonorchiasis prevention are still urgently needed. Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) is an effective antigen delivery platform for oral vaccines. Chonorchis sinensis serpin (CsSerpin) was proved to be potential vaccine candidates. In this study, CsSerpin3 was displayed on the surface of B. subtilis spore and recombinant spores were orally administrated to BALB/C mice. CsSerpin3-specific IgA levels in faecal, bile and intestinal mucous increased at 4–8 weeks after the first administration compared with those in control groups. The mucus production and the number of goblet cells in intestinal mucosa elevated in B.s-CotC-CsSerpin3 (CotC, coat protein of B. subtilis spore) spores treated group compared to those in blank control. No significant difference in the activities of glutamic-pyruvic transaminase/ alanine aminotransferase and glutamic oxalacetic transaminase/aspartate aminotransferase were observed between groups. There was no side effect inflammation and observable pathological damage in the liver tissue of mice after administration. Moreover, collagen deposition and Ishak score were statistically reduced in B.s-CotC-CsSerpin3 spores treated mice. In conclusion, B. subtilis spores displaying CsSerpin3 could be investigated further as an oral vaccine against clonorchiasis.
Low-dimensional superconductors have been at the forefront of physics research due to their rich physical properties such as high-temperature (Tc) superconductivity. In this article, we review the field of emergent high-Tc superconductivity at interfaces of heterostructures, focusing on the experimental advances and its physical mechanism. Charge transfer between constituent materials leads to two-dimensional carrier confinement that facilitates occurrence of superconductivity at the interface. We discuss the similarities between bulk high-Tc superconductors and interface systems, as well as implications from a survey of interface superconductors. We expect that the hybrid heterostructures and the ability to manipulate them on an atomic scale could be an enormously fertile ground to explore superconductivity with higher critical temperature Tc.
This article presents a brief review of our case studies of data-driven Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) for intelligently discovering advanced structural metal materials, including light-weight materials (Ti, Mg, and Al alloys), refractory high-entropy alloys, and superalloys. The basic bonding in terms of topology and electronic structures is recommended to be considered as the building blocks/units constructing the microstructures of advanced materials. It is highlighted that the bonding charge density could not only provide an atomic and electronic insight into the physical nature of chemical bond of materials but also reveal the fundamental strengthening/embrittlement mechanisms and the local phase transformations of planar defects, paving a path in accelerating the development of advanced metal materials via interfacial engineering. Perspectives on the knowledge-based modeling/simulations, machine-learning knowledge base, platform, and next-generation workforce for sustainable ecosystem of ICME are highlighted, thus to call for more duty on the developments of advanced structural metal materials and enhancement of research productivity and collaboration.
High-current switching performance of ovonic threshold switching (OTS) selectors have successfully enabled the commercialization of high-density three-dimensional (3D) stackable phase-change memory in Intel’s 3D Xpoint technology. This bridges the huge performance gap between dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and Flash. Similar to phase-change memory, OTS uses chalcogenide-based materials, but whereas phase-change memory reversibly switches between a high-resistance amorphous phase and a low-resistance crystalline phase, OTS freezes in the amorphous phase. In this article, we review recent developments in OTS materials and their performance in devices, especially current density and selectivity. Advantages and challenges of OTS devices in the integration with the phase-change memory are discussed. We introduce the evolution of theoretical models for explaining the OTS behavior, including thermal runaway, field-induced nucleation, and generation/recombination of charge carriers.
To examine urban–rural disparity in childhood stunting, wasting and malnutrition at national and subnational levels in Chinese primary-school children in 2010 and 2014.
Data were obtained from two nationwide cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2010 and 2014. Malnutrition was classified using the Chinese national ‘Screening Standard for Malnutrition of Children’.
All twenty-seven mainland provinces and four municipalities of mainland China.
Children aged 7–12 years (n 215 214; 107 741 in 2010 and 107 473 in 2014) from thirty-one provinces.
Stunting, wasting and malnutrition prevalence were 1·9, 12·3 and 13·7 % in 2010, but decreased to 1·0, 9·4 and 10·2 % in 2014, respectively. The prevalence of stunting, wasting and malnutrition in both urban and rural children was higher in western provinces, while lower in eastern provinces. Although the prevalence of wasting and malnutrition was higher in rural children than their urban counterparts, the urban–rural disparity in both wasting and malnutrition decreased from 2010 to 2014 (prevalence OR: wasting, 1·35 to 1·16; malnutrition, 1·50 to 1·27). A reversal occurred in 2014 in several eastern provinces where the prevalence of wasting and malnutrition in urban children surpassed their rural peers. The urban–rural disparity was larger in western provinces than eastern provinces.
The shrinking urban–rural disparity and the reversal in wasting and malnutrition suggest that the malnutrition situation has improved during the post-crisis period, especially in the western provinces. Region-specific policies and interventions can be useful to sustainably mitigate malnutrition in Chinese children, especially in rural areas and the western provinces.
In this study, a novel shape memory polymer (SMP), eggshell membrane (ESM), with macroscopic mesh structures and microscopic crosslinked protein fibers, has shown water-stimulated shape recovery characteristics. Our results show that the collagen triple-helical molecular chains and disulfide-rich motifs in the ESM function as net-points retaining essential structures during deformation, while hydrogen bonds play a key role as switch units for shape recovery through water stimulation. We also demonstrate that programmable shape recovery characteristics of ESM can be obtained by modulating the number of net-points. This study may inspire the design of new programmable SMPs.
CIC, or Capicua, encodes a transcriptional repressor that is itself repressed by RAS/MAPK signalling. CIC is a recurrent target of somatic mutation in type 1 low grade gliomas (LGG), with at least half of the alterations predicted to be deleterious. Type 1 LGGs are a cohort of tumours that are molecularly defined by the loss of heterozygosity of chromosome arms 1p and 19q and the presence of neomorphic IDH1/2 mutations. Despite the high frequency of mutations in CIC within this tumour type, CIC’s putative tumour suppressive role remains to be elucidated. It is also unclear how CIC may cooperate with neomorphic IDH1/2 to promote gliomagenesis. To comprehensively characterize the molecular consequences of CIC loss, we performed RNA-seq, Whole Genome Bisulfite Sequencing, and ChIP-seq on 6 different histone modifications on isogenic CIC-wildtype (WT) and CIC-knockout (KO) normal human astrocytes. To also investigate the collective effects of CIC deficiency and neomorphic IDH1 on the transcriptome and epigenome, we generated the same dataset in isogenic CIC-WT and CIC-KO astrocytes possessing the IDH1 R132H mutation. Analysis of differentially expressed genes illustrates the enrichment of oncogenic pathways in specifically the CIC-KO, IDH1-R132H cells, supporting a synergistic relationship between CIC loss and IDH1-R132H in driving tumour progression. Integrative analyses are ongoing to unveil the epigenetic mechanisms underpinning the regulatory changes in these isogenic cell line models.
Multiple human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genotypes in China were first discovered in Yunnan Province before disseminating throughout the country. As the HIV-1 epidemic continues to expand in Yunnan, genetic characteristics and transmitted drug resistance (TDR) should be further investigated among the recently infected population. Among 2828 HIV-positive samples newly reported in the first quarter of 2014, 347 were identified as recent infections with BED-captured enzyme immunoassay (CEIA). Of them, 291 were successfully genotyped and identified as circulating recombinant form (CRF)08_BC (47.4%), unique recombinant forms (URFs) (18.2%), CRF01_AE (15.8%), CRF07_BC (14.4%), subtype C (2.7%), CRF55_01B (0.7%), subtype B (0.3%) and CRF64_BC (0.3%). CRF08_BC and CRF01_AE were the predominant genotypes among heterosexual and homosexual infections, respectively. CRF08_BC, URFs, CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC expanded with higher prevalence in central and eastern Yunnan. The recent common ancestor of CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC dated back to 1983.1, 1992.1 and 1989.5, respectively. The effective population sizes (EPS) for CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC increased exponentially during 1991–1999 and 1994–1999, respectively. The EPS for CRF08_BC underwent two exponential growth phases in 1994–1998 and 2001–2002. Lastly, TDR-associated mutations were identified in 1.8% of individuals. These findings not only enhance our understanding of HIV-1 evolution in Yunnan but also have implications for vaccine design and patient management strategies.
Human cystic echinococcosis is a widespread, chronic, endemic, helminthic zoonosis caused by larval tapeworms of the species Echinococcus granulosus. At present, there is no rational and effective therapy for patients with echinococcosis. The present study evaluated whether the combination of alkaloids from Sophora moorcroftiana seeds (SMSa2) and Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) was effective in the treatment of experimental echinococcosis. After 20 weeks of secondary infection with protoscoleces, mice were randomly allocated to five groups and treated for 6 weeks by daily intragastric administration of albendazole (ABZ, 100 mg/kg), SMSa2 (100 mg/kg), BCG (abdominal subcutaneous injection at 5 × 106 CFU), SMSa2 + BCG (100 mg/kg SMSa2 and 5 × 106 CFU BCG) or normal saline (untreated group), respectively. The results indicated a significant reduction in the weight of hydatid cysts in the SMSa2 + BCG group compared with the untreated, SMSa2 and BCG groups. The rate of inhibition of hydatid cyst growth in the SMSa2 + BCG group (76.1%) was obviously increased compared with that in the SMSa2 (25.7%) and BCG (26.6%) groups, respectively. Compared with the untreated control, the SMSa2 + BCG group showed a non-significant increase in serum interleukin-4 (IL-4). Furthermore, the serum levels of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) between the untreated and SMSa2 + BCG groups were not statistically different. Therefore, the combination of alkaloids from S. moorcroftiana seeds and BCG can reduce cyst burden and is an effective therapeutic regimen against echinococcosis.
Fluid flows in nature and applications are frequently subject to periodic velocity modulations. Surprisingly, even for the generic case of flow through a straight pipe, there is little consensus regarding the influence of pulsation on the transition threshold to turbulence: while most studies predict a monotonically increasing threshold with pulsation frequency (i.e. Womersley number,
), others observe a decreasing threshold for identical parameters and only observe an increasing threshold at low
. In the present study we apply recent advances in the understanding of transition in steady shear flows to pulsating pipe flow. For moderate pulsation amplitudes we find that the first instability encountered is subcritical (i.e. requiring finite amplitude disturbances) and gives rise to localized patches of turbulence (‘puffs’) analogous to steady pipe flow. By monitoring the impact of pulsation on the lifetime of turbulence we map the onset of turbulence in parameter space. Transition in pulsatile flow can be separated into three regimes. At small Womersley numbers the dynamics is dominated by the decay turbulence suffers during the slower part of the cycle and hence transition is delayed significantly. As shown in this regime thresholds closely agree with estimates based on a quasi-steady flow assumption only taking puff decay rates into account. The transition point predicted in the zero
limit equals to the critical point for steady pipe flow offset by the oscillation Reynolds number (i.e. the dimensionless oscillation amplitude). In the high frequency limit on the other hand, puff lifetimes are identical to those in steady pipe flow and hence the transition threshold appears to be unaffected by flow pulsation. In the intermediate frequency regime the transition threshold sharply drops (with increasing
) from the decay dominated (quasi-steady) threshold to the steady pipe flow level.
While a classic result by Merton (1973, Bell J. Econ. Manage. Sci., 141–183) is that one should never exercise an American call option just before expiration if the underlying stock pays no dividends, the conclusion of a very recent empirical study conducted by Jensen and Pedersen (2016, J. Financ. Econ.121(2), 278–299) suggests that one should ‘never say never’. This paper complements Jensen and Pedersen's empirical study by presenting a theoretical study on how to price American call options under a hard-to-borrow stock model proposed by Avellaneda and Lipkin (2009, Risk22(6), 92–97). Our study confirms that it is the lending fee that results in the early exercise of American call options and we shall also demonstrate to what extent lending fees have affected the early exercise decision.
Oxygen vacancies have a significant impact on the structure and electrical/magnetic properties of doped manganites. Magnetic La0.5Sr0.5MnO3 (LSMO) films were epitaxial grown on (001) SrTiO3 substrate by pulsed laser deposition. Structural studies from the x-ray diffraction suggest that the as-grown films are fully constrained by the substrate with the thickness ranging from 8 to 40 nm. By examining the valence of Mn by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and x-ray absorption spectroscopy, we find the ratio of Mn4+/Mn3+ increases along with the increased film thickness, which implies that the oxygen vacancies concentration induced by tensile strain correspondingly decreases. Therefore, the magnetization of LSMO is depressed with the exchange bias effect arising, and the electrical conductivity decreases significantly. This work builds a bridge between modulation of electric/magnetic properties and epitaxial strain in LSMO films.
The effects of stress-aging processing on corrosion resistance of an Al–Zn–Mg–Cu alloy were investigated. It is found that the one-stage stress-aged alloy is strongly sensitive to the electrochemical corrosion. The poor corrosion resistance of the one-stage stress-aged alloy can be attributed to fine intragranular aging precipitates and continuous distribution of grain boundary precipitates. Meanwhile, the incomplete precipitation of solute atoms results in high electrochemical activity of aluminum matrix. However, when the alloy is two-stage stress-aged, the corrosion resistance is greatly improved. Furthermore, the corrosion resistance decreases firstly and then increases with increasing the first stage stress-aging temperature. Increasing external stress can enhance the corrosion resistance of the two-stage stress-aged alloy. These phenomena are mainly related to aging precipitates within grains and along grain boundaries. The coarse and relatively low-density intragranular aging precipitates, as well as the discontinuously distributed grain boundary precipitates can enhance the corrosion resistance of the stress-aged alloy.
Generally, the obvious work hardening, dynamic recrystallization (DRX), and dynamic recovery behaviors can be found during hot deformation of Ni-based superalloys. In the present study, the classical dislocation density theory is improved by introducing a new dislocation annihilation item to represent the influences of DRX on dislocation density evolution for a Ni-based superalloy. Based on the improved dislocation density theory, the peak strain corresponding to peak stress and the critical strain for initiating DRX can be determined, and the improved DRX kinetics equations and grain size evolution models are developed. The physical framework and algorithmic idea of the improved dislocation density theory are clarified. Moreover, the deformed microstructures are characterized and quantitatively correlated to validate the improved dislocation density theory. It is found that the improved dislocation density-based models can precisely characterize hot deformation and DRX behaviors for the studied superalloy under the tested conditions.