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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged from a city in China and has now spread as a global pandemic affecting millions of individuals. The causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is being extensively studied in terms of its genetic epidemiology using genomic approaches. Andhra Pradesh is one of the major states of India with the third-largest number of COVID-19 cases with a limited understanding of its genetic epidemiology. In this study, we have sequenced 293 SARS-CoV-2 genome isolates from Andhra Pradesh with a mean coverage of 13324X. We identified 564 high-quality SARS-CoV-2 variants. A total of 18 variants mapped to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction primer/probe sites, and four variants are known to be associated with an increase in infectivity. Phylogenetic analysis of the genomes revealed the circulating SARS-CoV-2 in Andhra Pradesh majorly clustered under the clade A2a (20A, 20B and 20C) (94%), whereas 6% fall under the I/A3i clade, a clade previously defined to be present in large numbers in India. To the best of our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive genetic epidemiological analysis performed for the state of Andhra Pradesh.
To address the challenges of capacity fading and poor electronic conductivity of hard carbons as anode in Li-ion batteries (LIBs), we report here the catalytic graphitization of resorcinol–formaldehyde xerogel (RFX)-derived hard carbon via a single-step synthesis by incorporating two transition metal catalysts (Co and Ni) with different loadings (5 and 10%) at a modest temperature of 1100 °C. Loading of both the catalysts affects the extent of graphitization and other physiochemical properties that have a direct influence on the anodic performance of as graphitized RFX-derived hard carbon. A 10% Ni catalyst in RFX-derived carbon induces the highest degree of graphitization of 81.4% along with partial amorphous carbon and nickel phases. This improved crystallinity was conducive enough to facilitate rapid electron and Li-ion transfer while the amorphous carbon phase contributed to higher specific capacity, resulting in overall best anodic performance as ever reported for RFX-derived carbon. A specific capacity of 578 mAh/g obtained after 210 cycles at 0.2 C with coulombic efficiency greater than 99% confirms the potential of graphitized RFX-derived carbon as an anode for high-performance LIBs.
Bioactive dressings which can treat any kind of chronic or acute wounds and can fully replace the conventional gauzes and superabsorbent dressings have proven to be a future market of wound care products in recent times. These dressings are multifunctional, which can effectively combat the wound infection, remove the exudate, promote angiogenesis, and protect the wound from external trauma. Proper selection of bioactive and polymer defines its efficiency. Current research unveils the therapeutic efficacy of curcumin–honey-loaded multilayered polyvinyl alcohol/cellulose acetate electrospun nanofibrous mats as an interactive bioactive wound dressing material. Scanning electron microscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis infers uniform encapsulation and chemical compatibility of herbal actives and polymer, inside the nanofibrous layers. The as-spun mat shows potential resistance towards Escherichia coli and ∼90% antioxidant activity against diphenyl-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH)–free radical. Additionally, water absorbency, water vapor transmission rate, and wettability analysis show quick and excellent absorption with controlled transmission of wound exudate.
The design of high energy Li-ion batteries (LIBs) by coupling high voltage LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 (LNMO) cathode and Li4Ti5O12 (LTO) anode ensures effective and safe energy-storage. LTO–LNMO full-cells (FCs) with difference in electrode grain sizes and presence of excess Mn3+ in cathode were studied using micron-sized commercial LTO, nanostructured LTO donuts (LTOd), P4332 LNMO nanopowders, and nanostructured Fd3m LNMO caterpillars (LNMOcplr). Among the studied FCs, LTOd–LNMOcplr was detected with a stable capacity of 69 mA h/g (1C rate), 99% coulombic efficiency, and 87% capacity retention under 200 cycles of continuous charge–discharge studies. The superior electrochemical performance observed in LTOd–LNMOcplr FC was due to the low charge transfer resistance, which is corroborated to the effect of grain sizes and the longer retention of Mn3+ in the electrodes. An effective and simple FC design incorporating both nanostructuring and in situ conductivity in electrode materials would aid in developing future high-performance LIBs.
Oocyte-secreted factors (OSFs) play an important role in the acquisition of oocyte developmental competence through bidirectional cross-talk between oocyte and cumulus cells via gap junctions. Thus, the present study was designed to investigate the effect of two OSFs, growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) and bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15), on the developmental competence of buffalo oocytes derived from two different follicle sizes. Cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) from large follicles (LF, >6 mm) or small follicles (SF, <6 mm) were collected and matured in vitro either in the presence of GDF9 or BMP15, or both, or with the denuded oocytes (DOs) as a source of native OSFs. Cleavage and blastocyst rates were significantly (P < 0.05) higher in LF-derived than SF-derived oocytes. Cleavage and blastocyst rates were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the DOs and the combination groups compared with the control, GDF9 alone and BMP15 alone groups, both in LF-derived and SF-derived oocytes, although the cleavage and blastocyst rates did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) between DOs and combination groups. Relative mRNA analysis revealed significantly higher (P > 0.05) expression of the cumulus cell marker genes EGFR, HAS2, and CD44 in LF-derived than SF-derived oocyte; the expression of these markers was significantly higher (P > 0.05) in DOs and combination groups, irrespective of the follicle size. These results suggested that LF-derived oocytes have a higher developmental competence than SF-derived oocytes and that supplementation of GDF9 and BMP15 modulates the developmental competence of buffalo oocytes by increasing the relative abundance of cumulus-enabling factors and thereby increasing cleavage and the quality of blastocyst production.
The major aim of the present study is to develop and explore the potential of large surface area electrospun polymer nanofabric as a carrier for controlled and sustained release, in particular for hydrophobic drugs. Gelatin (type A), FDA approved natural polymer was electrospun in a mixture of solvent (20% acetic acid in water) to yield long, continuous and uniform fibers with average diameter ∼ 200 nm. Piperine was chosen as a model hydrophobic drug in this study. As gelatin is highly soluble in aqueous medium, we crosslinked electrospun gelatin nanofibers using saturated GTA vapor to increase the water resistive properties. For controlled release over a period of 12 h, we devised several strategies to vary the crosslinking conditions and accordingly understand their effect on drug release mechanism. One of such successful efforts was based on deposition of multiple layers of electrospun fabric by sandwiching between drug loaded gelatin nanofibers and without drug gelatin nanofibers from both sides. Not only the layer by layer deposition, we also crosslinked the different layer in the same sequential way. Sequential crosslinking using GTA vapor in different layers of the fabric, helped in uniform crosslinking throughout the thickness compared to crosslinking after final deposition in the form of a single layer. Effect of different crosslinking strategies was investigated in terms of surface morphology and drug stability. Finally, in-vitro release study was performed maintaining the physiological conditions mimicking GI tract to analyze the effect of crosslinking on the drug release profile. The in-vitro studies concluded that the controlled drug release can be achieved by tuning the thickness of individual fabric layer followed by their sequential crosslinking, which finally affects the diffusional barrier for drug release. Interestingly, we also found that only 6 min exposure to saturated GTA vapor is sufficient to provide the required drug release in contrast to up to 24 h as reported in literature. This finding also addresses the toxicity problem associated with the use of GTA as a cross-linker.
We have demonstrated some facile ways to fabricate the large area polymer surfaces with varying roughness followed by studying their anti-reflective properties. One of the approaches is based on electrospun nanofibers deposited on a substrate in an uneven non-woven matrix. This electrospun fabric was used as a master template to fabricate the negative replica of the fibers by soft lithography generating the roughness in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surfaces. The second approach is based on biomimicking of flower petals. Petals are used as a master template to transfer surface features with hierarchical roughness over PDMS surface using replica moulding. As fabricated polymer surfaces with varied roughness have then tested for their anti-reflective properties using UV-VIS spectroscopy over a wide range of wavelengths and angles of incidence of light. These measurements show near zero reflection of patterned PDMS surfaces as compared to planar PDMS. This omnidirectional broadband anti-reflection behaviour of polymer surfaces can be used in wide variety of engineering applications including in solar cells.
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