876 research outputs found

    Efficacy and effectiveness of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine versus artesunate-mefloquine in falciparum malaria: an open-label randomised comparison.

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    BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combinations are judged the best treatments for multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Artesunate-mefloquine is widely recommended in southeast Asia, but its high cost and tolerability profile remain obstacles to widespread deployment. To assess whether dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a suitable alternative to artesunate-mefloquine, we compared the safety, tolerability, efficacy, and effectiveness of the two regimens for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum in western Myanmar (Burma). METHODS: We did an open randomised comparison of 3-day regimens of artesunate-mefloquine (12/25 mg/kg) versus dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (6.3/50 mg/kg) for the treatment of children aged 1 year or older and in adults with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Rakhine State, western Myanmar. Within each group, patients were randomly assigned supervised or non-supervised treatment. The primary endpoint was the PCR-confirmed parasitological failure rate by day 42. Failure rates at day 42 were estimated by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. This study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN27914471. FINDINGS: Of 652 patients enrolled, 327 were assigned dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (156 supervised and 171 not supervised), and 325 artesunate-mefloquine (162 and 163, respectively). 16 patients were lost to follow-up, and one patient died 22 days after receiving dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Recrudescent parasitaemias were confirmed in only two patients; the day 42 failure rate was 0.6% (95% CI 0.2-2.5) for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and 0 (0-1.2) for artesunate-mefloquine. Whole-blood piperaquine concentrations at day 7 were similar for patients with observed and non-observed dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine treatment. Gametocytaemia developed more frequently in patients who had received dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine than in those on artesunate-mefloquine: day 7, 18 (10%) of 188 versus five (2%) of 218; relative risk 4.2 (1.6-11.0) p=0.011. INTERPRETATION: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a highly efficacious and inexpensive treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria and is well tolerated by all age groups. The effectiveness of the unsupervised treatment, as in the usual context of use, equalled its supervised efficacy, indicating good adherence without supervision. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a good alternative to artesunate-mefloquine

    Excitation of superconducting qubits from hot non-equilibrium quasiparticles

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    Superconducting qubits probe environmental defects such as non-equilibrium quasiparticles, an important source of decoherence. We show that "hot" non-equilibrium quasiparticles, with energies above the superconducting gap, affect qubits differently from quasiparticles at the gap, implying qubits can probe the dynamic quasiparticle energy distribution. For hot quasiparticles, we predict a non-neligable increase in the qubit excited state probability P_e. By injecting hot quasiparticles into a qubit, we experimentally measure an increase of P_e in semi-quantitative agreement with the model and rule out the typically assumed thermal distribution.Comment: Main paper: 5 pages, 5 figures. Supplement: 1 page, 1 figure, 1 table. Updated to user-prepared accepted version. Key changes: Supplement added, Introduction rewritten, Figs.2,3,5 revised, Fig.4 adde

    Experimental Quantum Hamiltonian Learning

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    Efficiently characterising quantum systems, verifying operations of quantum devices and validating underpinning physical models, are central challenges for the development of quantum technologies and for our continued understanding of foundational physics. Machine-learning enhanced by quantum simulators has been proposed as a route to improve the computational cost of performing these studies. Here we interface two different quantum systems through a classical channel - a silicon-photonics quantum simulator and an electron spin in a diamond nitrogen-vacancy centre - and use the former to learn the latter's Hamiltonian via Bayesian inference. We learn the salient Hamiltonian parameter with an uncertainty of approximately 10510^{-5}. Furthermore, an observed saturation in the learning algorithm suggests deficiencies in the underlying Hamiltonian model, which we exploit to further improve the model itself. We go on to implement an interactive version of the protocol and experimentally show its ability to characterise the operation of the quantum photonic device. This work demonstrates powerful new quantum-enhanced techniques for investigating foundational physical models and characterising quantum technologies

    Simulation of the many-body dynamical quantum Hall effect in an optical lattice

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    We propose an experimental scheme to simulate the many-body dynamical quantum Hall effect with ultra-cold bosonic atoms in a one-dimensional optical lattice. We first show that the required model Hamiltonian of a spin-1/2 Heisenberg chain with an effective magnetic field and tunable parameters can be realized in this system. For dynamical response to ramping the external fields, the quantized plateaus emerge in the Berry curvature of the interacting atomic spin chain as a function of the effective spin-exchange interaction. The quantization of this response in the parameter space with the interaction-induced topological transition characterizes the many-body dynamical quantum Hall effect. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this phenomenon can be observed in practical cold-atom experiments with numerical simulations.Comment: 8 pages, 3 figures; accepted in Quantum Information Processin

    Removing leakage-induced correlated errors in superconducting quantum error correction

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    Quantum computing can become scalable through error correction, but logical error rates only decrease with system size when physical errors are sufficiently uncorrelated. During computation, unused high energy levels of the qubits can become excited, creating leakage states that are long-lived and mobile. Particularly for superconducting transmon qubits, this leakage opens a path to errors that are correlated in space and time. Here, we report a reset protocol that returns a qubit to the ground state from all relevant higher level states. We test its performance with the bit-flip stabilizer code, a simplified version of the surface code for quantum error correction. We investigate the accumulation and dynamics of leakage during error correction. Using this protocol, we find lower rates of logical errors and an improved scaling and stability of error suppression with increasing qubit number. This demonstration provides a key step on the path towards scalable quantum computing

    Changes in the Treatment Responses to Artesunate-Mefloquine on the Northwestern Border of Thailand during 13 Years of Continuous Deployment

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    Background: Artemisinin combination treatments (ACT) are recommended as first line treatment for falciparum malaria throughout the malaria affected world. We reviewed the efficacy of a 3-day regimen of mefloquine and artesunate regimen (MAS ), over a 13 year period of continuous deployment as first-line treatment in camps for displaced persons and in clinics for migrant population along the Thai-Myanmar border. Methods and Findings: 3,264 patients were enrolled in prospective treatment trials between 1995 and 2007 and treated with MAS. The proportion of patients with parasitaemia persisting on day-2 increased significantly from 4.5% before 2001 to 21.9% since 2002 (p<0.001). Delayed parasite clearance was associated with increased risk of developing gametocytaemia (AOR = 2.29; 95% CI, 2.00-2.69, p = 0.002). Gametocytaemia on admission and carriage also increased over the years (p = 0.001, test for trend, for both). MAS efficacy has declined slightly but significantly (Hazards ratio 1.13; 95% CI, 1.07-1.19, p<0.001), although efficacy in 2007 remained well within acceptable limits: 96.5% (95% CI, 91.0-98.7). The in vitro susceptibility of P. falciparum to artesunate increased significantly until 2002, but thereafter declined to levels close to those of 13 years ago (geometric mean in 2007: 4.2 nM/l; 95% CI, 3.2-5.5). The proportion of infections caused by parasites with increased pfmdr1 copy number rose from 30% (12/ 40) in 1996 to 53% (24/45) in 2006 (p = 0.012, test for trend). Conclusion: Artesunate-mefloquine remains a highly efficacious antimalarial treatment in this area despite 13 years of widespread intense deployment, but there is evidence of a modest increase in resistance. Of particular concern is the slowing of parasitological response to artesunate and the associated increase in gametocyte carriage. © 2009 Carrara et al

    Defining Plasmodium falciparum Treatment in South West Asia: A Randomized Trial Comparing Artesunate or Primaquine Combined with Chloroquine or SP

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    INTRODUCTION: Antimalarial resistance has led to a global policy of artemisinin-based combination therapy. Despite growing resistance chloroquine (CQ) remained until recently the official first-line treatment for falciparum malaria in Pakistan, with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) second-line. Co-treatment with the gametocytocidal primaquine (PQ) is recommended for transmission control in South Asia. The relative effect of artesunate (AS) or primaquine, as partner drugs, on clinical outcomes and gametocyte carriage in this setting were unknown. METHODS: A single-blinded, randomized trial among Afghan refugees in Pakistan compared six treatment arms: CQ; CQ+(single-dose)PQ; CQ+(3 d)AS; SP; SP+(single-dose)PQ, and SP+(3 d)AS. The objectives were to compare treatment failure rates and effect on gametocyte carriage, of CQ or SP monotherapy against the respective combinations (PQ or AS). Outcomes included trophozoite and gametocyte clearance (read by light microscopy), and clinical and parasitological failure. FINDINGS: A total of 308 (87%) patients completed the trial. Failure rates by day 28 were: CQ 55/68 (81%); CQ+AS 19/67 (28%), SP 4/41 (9.8%), SP+AS 1/41 (2.4%). The addition of PQ to CQ or SP did not affect failure rates (CQ+PQ 49/67 (73%) failed; SP+PQ 5/33 (16%) failed). AS was superior to PQ at clearing gametocytes; gametocytes were seen on d7 in 85% of CQ, 40% of CQ+PQ, 21% of CQ+AS, 91% of SP, 76% of SP+PQ and 23% of SP+AS treated patients. PQ was more effective at clearing older gametocyte infections whereas AS was more effective at preventing emergence of mature gametocytes, except in cases that recrudesced. CONCLUSIONS: CQ is no longer appropriate by itself or in combination. These findings influenced the replacement of CQ with SP+AS for first-line treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region. The threat of SP resistance remains as SP monotherapy is still common. Three day AS was superior to single-dose PQ for reducing gametocyte carriage. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00959517

    The evolution of cyclodextrin glucanotransferase product specificity

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    Cyclodextrin glucanotransferases (CGTases) have attracted major interest from industry due to their unique capacity of forming large quantities of cyclic α-(1,4)-linked oligosaccharides (cyclodextrins) from starch. CGTases produce a mixture of cyclodextrins from starch consisting of 6 (α), 7 (β) and 8 (γ) glucose units. In an effort to identify the structural factors contributing to the evolutionary diversification of product specificity amongst this group of enzymes, we selected nine CGTases from both mesophilic, thermophilic and hyperthermophilic organisms for comparative product analysis. These enzymes displayed considerable variation regarding thermostability, initial rates, percentage of substrate conversion and ratio of α-, β- and γ-cyclodextrins formed from starch. Sequence comparison of these CGTases revealed that specific incorporation and/or substitution of amino acids at the substrate binding sites, during the evolutionary progression of these enzymes, resulted in diversification of cyclodextrin product specificity
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