722 research outputs found

    Management of SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Key Focus in Macrolides Efficacy for COVID-19

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    Macrolides (e.g., erythromycin, fidaxomicin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin) are a class of bacteriostatic antibiotics commonly employed in medicine against various gram-positive and atypical bacterial species mostly related to respiratory tract infections, besides they possess anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome of coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019 and resulted in a continuing pandemic. Macrolides have been extensively researched as broad adjunctive therapy for COVID-19 due to its immunostimulant abilities. Among such class of drugs, azithromycin is described as azalide and is well-known for its ability to decrease the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including matrix metalloproteinases, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-8. In fact, a report recently published highlighted the effectiveness of combining azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment. Indeed, it has been underlined that azithromycin quickly prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection by raising the levels of both interferons and interferon-stimulated proteins at the same time which reduces the virus replication and release. In this sense, the current review aims to evaluate the applications of macrolides for the treatment of COVID-19.NC-M acknowledges the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology under the Horizon 2020 Program (PTDC/PSI-GER/28076/2017)

    The AFLOW Fleet for Materials Discovery

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    The traditional paradigm for materials discovery has been recently expanded to incorporate substantial data driven research. With the intent to accelerate the development and the deployment of new technologies, the AFLOW Fleet for computational materials design automates high-throughput first principles calculations, and provides tools for data verification and dissemination for a broad community of users. AFLOW incorporates different computational modules to robustly determine thermodynamic stability, electronic band structures, vibrational dispersions, thermo-mechanical properties and more. The AFLOW data repository is publicly accessible online at aflow.org, with more than 1.7 million materials entries and a panoply of queryable computed properties. Tools to programmatically search and process the data, as well as to perform online machine learning predictions, are also available.Comment: 14 pages, 8 figure

    Effects of exposure to cigarette smoke prior to pregnancy in diabetic rats

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of cigarette smoke exposure before pregnancy on diabetic rats and their offspring development.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Diabetes was induced by streptozotocin and cigarette smoke exposure was conducted by mainstream smoke generated by a mechanical smoking device and delivered into a chamber. Diabetic female Wistar rats were randomly distributed in four experimental groups (n minimum = 13/group): nondiabetic (ND) and diabetic rats exposed to filtered air (D), diabetic rats exposed to cigarette smoke prior to and into the pregnancy period (DS) and diabetic rats exposed to cigarette smoke prior to pregnancy period (DSPP). At day 21 of pregnancy, rats were killed for maternal biochemical determination and reproductive outcomes.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>The association of diabetes and cigarette smoke in DSPP group caused altered glycemia at term, reduced number of implantation and live fetuses, decreased litter and maternal weight, increased pre and postimplantation loss rates, reduced triglyceride and VLDL-c concentrations, increased levels of thiol groups and MDA. Besides, these dams presented increased SOD and GSH-Px activities. However, the increased antioxidant status was not sufficient to prevent the lipid peroxidation observed in these animals.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Despite the benefits stemming from smoking interruption during the pregnancy of diabetic rats, such improvement was insufficient to avoid metabolic alterations and provide an adequate intrauterine environment for embryofetal development. Therefore, these results suggest that it is necessary to cease smoking extensive time before planning pregnancy, since stopping smoking only when pregnancy is detected may not contribute effectively to fully adequate embryofetal development.</p

    Catalytic living ring-opening metathesis polymerization

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    In living ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP), a transition-metal‚Äďcarbene complex polymerizes ring-strained olefins with very good control of the molecular weight of the resulting polymers. Because one molecule of the initiator is required for each polymer chain, however, this type of polymerization is expensive for widespread use. We have now designed a chain-transfer agent (CTA) capable of reducing the required amount of metal complex while still maintaining full control over the living polymerization process. This new method introduces a degenerative transfer process to ROMP. We demonstrate that substituted cyclohexene rings are good CTAs, and thereby preserve the ‚Äėliving‚Äô character of the polymerization using catalytic quantities of the metal complex. The resulting polymers show characteristics of a living polymerization, namely narrow molecular-weight distribution, controlled molecular weights and block copolymer formation. This new technique provides access to well- defined polymers for industrial, biomedical and academic use at a fraction of the current costs and significantly reduced levels of residual ruthenium catalyst

    Pneumocystis murina colonization in immunocompetent surfactant protein A deficient mice following environmental exposure

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p><it>Pneumocystis spp</it>. are opportunistic pathogens that cause pneumonia in immunocompromised humans and animals. <it>Pneumocystis </it>colonization has also been detected in immunocompetent hosts and may exacerbate other pulmonary diseases. Surfactant protein A (SP-A) is an innate host defense molecule and plays a role in the host response to <it>Pneumocystis</it>.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>To analyze the role of SP-A in protecting the immunocompetent host from <it>Pneumocystis </it>colonization, the susceptibility of immunocompetent mice deficient in SP-A (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice to <it>P. murina </it>colonization was analyzed by reverse-transcriptase quantitative PCR (qPCR) and serum antibodies were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Detection of <it>P. murina </it>specific serum antibodies in immunocompetent WT and KO mice indicated that the both strains of mice had been exposed to <it>P. murina </it>within the animal facility. However, P. <it>murina </it>mRNA was only detected by qPCR in the lungs of the KO mice. The incidence and level of the mRNA expression peaked at 8‚Äď10 weeks and declined to undetectable levels by 16‚Äď18 weeks. When the mice were immunosuppressed, <it>P. murina </it>cyst forms were also only detected in KO mice. <it>P. murina </it>mRNA was detected in <it>SCID </it>mice that had been exposed to KO mice, demonstrating that the immunocompetent KO mice are capable of transmitting the infection to immunodeficient mice. The pulmonary cellular response appeared to be responsible for the clearance of the colonization. More CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells were recovered from the lungs of immunocompetent KO mice than from WT mice, and the colonization in KO mice depleted CD4+ cells was not cleared.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>These data support an important role for SP-A in protecting the immunocompetent host from <it>P. murina </it>colonization, and provide a model to study <it>Pneumocystis </it>colonization acquired via environmental exposure in humans. The results also illustrate the difficulties in keeping mice from exposure to <it>P. murina </it>even when housed under barrier conditions.</p

    Compressed representation of a partially defined integer function over multiple arguments

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    In OLAP (OnLine Analitical Processing) data are analysed in an n-dimensional cube. The cube may be represented as a partially defined function over n arguments. Considering that often the function is not defined everywhere, we ask: is there a known way of representing the function or the points in which it is defined, in a more compact manner than the trivial one

    Performance of the CMS Cathode Strip Chambers with Cosmic Rays