Publications by authors named "M Munir"

429 Publications

Impact of religiosity on purchase intentions towards counterfeit products: investigating the mediating role of attitude and moderating role of hedonic benefits.

Heliyon 2021 Feb 12;7(2):e06026. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Hailey College of Commerce, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

This study was aimed at exploring the impact of religiosity on purchase intention towards counterfeit products by investigating the mediating role of consumer attitude. This study investigated religiosity as an independent variable, attitude towards counterfeit as a mediator while predicting the purchase intentions of the consumers. A self-administered questionnaire using a five-point Likert scale was used to collect data from the sample of 420 respondents who were from twin cities (Rawalpindi and Islamabad) of Pakistan. Structural equation modeling technique was used to achieve the set objectives. The results reveal a statistically significant effect of religiosity along with the significant mediating role of consumer attitude and the significant moderating role of hedonic benefits while predicting the purchase intentions of the consumers. This study also provides important insights for the researchers and the practitioners.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e06026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7895708PMC
February 2021

Evolutionary conservation of the DRACH signatures of potential N6-methyladenosine (mA) sites among influenza A viruses.

Sci Rep 2021 Feb 25;11(1):4548. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YG, UK.

The addition of a methyl group to the N6-position of adenosine (mA) is considered one of the most prevalent internal post-transcriptional modifications and is attributed to virus replication and cell biology. Viral epitranscriptome sequencing analysis has revealed that hemagglutinin (HA) mRNA of H1N1 carry eight mA sites which are primarily enriched in 5'-DRACH-3' sequence motif. Herein, a large-scale comparative mA analysis was conducted to investigate the conservation patterns of the DRACH motifs that corresponding to the reference mA sites among influenza A viruses. A total of 70,030 complete HA sequences that comprise all known HA subtypes (H1-18) collected over several years, countries, and affected host species were analysed on both mRNA and vRNA strands. The bioinformatic analysis revealed the highest degree of DRACHs conservation among all H1 sequences that clustered largely in the middle and in the vicinity to 3' end with at least four DRACH motifs were conserved in all mRNA sequences. The major HA-containing subtypes displayed a modest DRACH motif conservation located either in the middle region of HA transcript (H3) or at the 3' end (H5) or were distributed across the length of HA sequence (H9). The lowest conservation was demonstrated in HA subtypes that infect mostly the wild type avian species and bats. Interestingly, the total number and the conserved DRACH motifs in the vRNA were found to be much lower than those observed in the mRNA. Collectively, the identification of putative mA topology provides a foundation for the future intervention of influenza infection, replication, and pathobiology in susceptible hosts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84007-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7907337PMC
February 2021

Physicochemical Characterization of Finasteride Nanosystem for Enhanced Topical Delivery.

Int J Nanomedicine 2021 16;16:1207-1220. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Gomal University, D.I. Khan, 29050, KPK, Pakistan.

Introduction: The current work aimed to formulate a novel chitosan-based finasteride nanosystem (FNS-NS) for skin delivery to optimize the drug availability in skin for a longer time and enhance ex vivo performance of finasteride against androgenic alopecia.

Methods: Both undecorated and chitosan decorated FNS-NSs were synthesized by a high energy emulsification technique. All the prepared nanosystems were further subjected to physicochemical characterizations like pH, viscosity, encapsulation efficiency, surface morphology and in vitro drug release behavior. The influence of the nanosystem on the drug permeation and retention in rat skin was examined using Franz diffusion cell apparatus.

Results: The droplet size of developed nanosystems ranged from 41 to 864 nm with a low polydispersity index. The zeta potential of the nanosystems was between -10 mV and +56 mV. This chitosan decorated nanosystem exhibited controlled drug release, ie about 78-97% in 24 h. Among all the nanosystems, our chitosan decorated formulation (F5) had low drug permeation (16.35 µg/cm) and higher drug retention (10.81 µg/cm).

Conclusion: The abovementioned results demonstrate satisfactory in vitro drug release, skin retention profiles and ex vivo performance with chitosan decorated FNS-NS (F5). This optimized formulation could increase drug availability in skin and could become a promising carrier for topical delivery to treat androgenic alopecia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S296793DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7896786PMC
February 2021

A practical approach for synthesis of biodiesel via non-edible seeds oils using trimetallic based montmorillonite nano-catalyst.

Bioresour Technol 2021 Feb 17;328:124859. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Nottingham Malaysia, Jalan Broga, Semenyih 43500, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. Electronic address:

The potential of new trimetallic (Ce, Cu, La) loaded montmorillonite clay catalyst for synthesizing biodiesel using novel non-edible Celastrus paniculatus Willd seed oil via two-step transesterification reaction has been reported along with catalyst characterization. Transesterification reaction was optimized and maximum biodiesel yield of 89.42% achieved under optimal operating reaction states like; 1:12 oil to methanol ratio, 3.5% of catalyst amount, 120 °C of reaction temperature for 3 h. The predicted and experimental biodiesel yields under these reaction conditions were 89.42 and 89.40%, which showing less than 0.05% variation. Additionally, optimum biodiesel yield can be predicted by drawing 3D surface plots and 2D contour plots using MINITAB 17 software. For the characterization of the obtained biodiesel, analysis including the GC/MS, FT-IR, H NMR and C NMR were applied. The fuel properties of obtained biodiesel agrees well with the different European Union (EU-14214), China (GB/T 20828), and American (ASTM-951, 6751) standards.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2021.124859DOI Listing
February 2021

Emerging pharmacy services; Recommendations for emergency care of COVID-19 pandemic in low and middle-income countries.

Pak J Pharm Sci 2020 Jul;33(4):1735-1738

College of Pharmacy, Jouf University Sakaka, Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia.

The ongoing outbreak of coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) has been declared as Pandemic by the World Health Organization and now become a global health emergency. Low and Middle income-countries lack standard pharmacy services in terms of staff, education, training, pharmaceutical care, research, and practice. The literature aimed to provide emerging pharmacy services and recommend it to be implemented in low and middle-income countries. Currently, pharmacies were easily accessible sites by the community, a trained staff under the guidance of pharmacist can be helpful for the management of visiting customers. In the surge of disease, pharmacists proved themselves as a frontline defense for the community by significant contribution in identifying, reporting, and managing COVID-19 patients through pharmaceutical care services at the community level, hospital/clinical level, and through Tele-pharmaceutical services.
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July 2020

Student-led surgical research network: Enhancing medical student research opportunities.

J Pak Med Assoc 2021 Jan;71(Suppl 1)(1):S117-S119

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Aga Khan Medical University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan.

The current paper was planned to describe a student-led surgical research network established by the Research Division of the Surgery Interest Group at the Aga Khan University, Karachi. The project involved the creation of a collaborative network to provide opportunities to medical students to work with faculty on research projects. Over 25 students were directly connected with faculty and research mentors to work on research projects in the surgical specialty of their choice. The initiative of establishing a student-led surgical research network was successfully implemented and provided medical students with novel research opportunities by helping bridge the gap between the students and the faculty.
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January 2021

Monitoring of copper accumulation in water, soil, forage, and cows impacted by heavy automobiles in Sargodha, Pakistan.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Feb 7. Epub 2021 Feb 7.

Department of Botany, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, 40100, Pakistan.

The instant endeavor was undertaken to monitor copper (Cu) contents in water, soil, forage, and cow's blood impacted by heavy automobiles in Sahiwal town of district Sargodha, Pakistan. The samples were collected in triplicates with a total of 120 soil and water samples with corresponding forage samples. For the analysis of metal concentration in cows, 60 blood samples were collected from the cows feeding on these forages on selected sites. Metal contents were analyzed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The results showed that water samples contained mean values of Cu concentration ranged from 1.01 to 0.444 mg/kg at all sites. It was maximum at site 3 and minimum at site 6. The soil samples of all the forage fields showed Cu mean values concentration ranged from 1.94 to 0.286 mg/kg at all sites. It was maximum in Trifolium alexandrinum grown field at site 2, and minimum in Avena sativa at site 2. All the forage samples showed the mean value of Cu concentration ranged from 0.151 to 1.86 mg/kg at all sites. The concentration of Cu was maximum in Zea mays grown at site 5 and minimum in Trifolium alexandrinum at site 4. The cow blood samples showed the mean concentration of Cu ranged from 1.368 to 0.53 mg/kg at all sites. It was maximum at site 2 and minimum at site 6. Owing to the results of pollution index and transfer factors, metal content was found to be in permissible range in forages as well as animal samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-12770-8DOI Listing
February 2021

VP2 virus-like particles elicit protective immunity against duckling short beak and dwarfism syndrome in ducks.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2021 Feb 5. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Fujian Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Fuzhou, China.

Duckling short beak and dwarfism syndrome virus (SBDSV), an emerging goose parvovirus, has caused short beak and dwarfism syndrome (SBDS) in Chinese duck flocks since 2015. Presently, there is no commercial vaccine against SBDS. In the present study, a virus-like particle (VLP)-based candidate vaccine was developed against this disease. A baculovirus expression system was used to express the SBDSV VP2 protein in Sf9 cells. Immunofluorescence assay, sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and Western blotting were used to confirm protein expression. Furthermore, transmission electron microscopy was used to observe the formation of VLPs. VLPs were formulated into an oil-adjuvanted maternal vaccine to evaluate humoral responses in breeding ducks via latex particle agglutination inhibition assay (LPAI) and microneutralization assay. The offspring were challenged with SBDSV to test the protective efficacy. A single dose of SBDSV was able to induce the high level of LPAI antibodies in ducks, with LPAI and neutralization peak titres of 4.9 ± 1.20 log2 and 7.1 ± 1.20 log2, respectively, at 4 weeks post-vaccination (wpv). The average LPAI titre of yolk antibodies in duck eggs receiving 2 doses (first and boost doses) of the vaccine was 5.3 ± 1.09 log2 at 4 weeks post-boost. The protective efficacy of the maternal vaccine was 87.5%-100%. These results indicate that SBDSV VLPs can be a promising vaccine candidate for controlling SBDS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.14021DOI Listing
February 2021

In-hospital outcomes of transcatheter mitral valve repair in patients with and without end stage renal disease: A national propensity match study.

Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2021 Feb 1. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, West Virginia University Heart and Vascular Institute, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.

Objectives: To study trends of utilization, outcomes, and cost of care in patients undergoing undergoing transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVr) with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Background: Renal disease has been known to be a predictor of poor outcome in patients with mitral valve disease. Outcome data for patients with ESRD undergoing TMVr remains limited. Therefore, our study aims to investigate trends of utilization, outcomes, and cost of care among patients with ESRD undergoing TMVr.

Methods: We analyzed NIS data from January 2010 to December 2017 using the ICD-9-CM codes ICD-10-CM to identify patients who underwent TMVr. Baseline characteristics were compared using a Pearson 𝜒 test for categorical variables and independent samples t-test for continuous variables. Propensity matched analysis was done for adjusted analysis to compare outcomes between TMVr with and without ESRD. Markov chain Monte Carlo was used to account for missing values.

Results: A total of 15,260 patients (weighted sample) undergoing TMVr were identified between 2010 and 2017. Of these, 638 patients had ESRD compared to 14,631 patients who did not have ESRD. Adjusted in-hospital mortality was lower in non-ESRD group (3.9 vs. <1.8%). Similarly, ESRD patients were more likely to have non-home discharges (85.6 vs. 74.9%). ESRD patients also had a longer mean length of stay (7.9 vs. 13.5 days) and higher mean cost of stay ($306,300 vs. $271,503).

Conclusion: ESRD is associated with higher mortality, complications, and resource utilization compared to non-ESRD patients. It is important to include this data in shared decision-making process and patient selection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ccd.29517DOI Listing
February 2021

Correction to: Potential reverse spillover of infectious bursal disease virus at the interface of commercial poultry and wild birds.

Virus Genes 2021 Jan 30. Epub 2021 Jan 30.

Division of Biomedical and Life Science, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YG, Lancashire, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11262-021-01824-1DOI Listing
January 2021

Representation of women, older patients, ethnic, and racial minorities in trials of atrial fibrillation.

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2021 Mar 3;44(3):423-431. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.

Background: Representation trends of women, older adults, and ethnic/racial minorities in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of atrial fibrillation (AF) are uncertain.

Methods: We systematically reviewed 134 AF related RCTs (phase II and III) encompassing 149,162 participants using Medline and ClinicalTrials.gov through April 2019 to determine representation trends of women, older patients (≥75 years), and ethnic/racial minorities. Weighted data on the prevalence of AF from epidemiological studies were used to compare the representation of the studied groups of interest in AF RCTs to their expected burden of the disease.

Results: Only 18.7% of the RCTs reported proportion of older patients, and 12.7% RCTs reported ethnic/racial minorities. The proportions of women in RCTs versus general population were 35.2% and 35.1%, of Hispanics were 11.9% and 5.2%, of Blacks were 1.2% and 5.7%, of American Indian/Alaskans were 0.2% and 0.2%, of Asians were 14.2% and 2.4%, of native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders were 0.05% and 0.1% and of non-Whites were 19.5% and 22.5%, respectively. The weighted mean age (SD) across the trials was 65.3 (3.2) years which was less than the corresponding weighted mean age of 71.1 (4.5) years in the comparative epidemiological data.

Conclusion: The reporting of older patients and ethnic/racial minorities was poor in RCTs of AF. The representation of women and American Indian/Alaskan natives matched their expected population share of disease burden. Hispanics and Asians were over-represented and Blacks, native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and non-Whites were under-represented in RCTs of AF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pace.14178DOI Listing
March 2021

Structural Insights Into m6A-Erasers: A Step Toward Understanding Molecule Specificity and Potential Antiviral Targeting.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2020 12;8:587108. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom.

The cellular RNA can acquire a variety of chemical modifications during the cell cycle, and compelling pieces of evidence highlight the importance of these modifications in determining the metabolism of RNA and, subsequently, cell physiology. Among myriads of modifications, methylation at the N6-position of adenosine (mA) is the most important and abundant internal modification in the messenger RNA. The mA marks are installed by methyltransferase complex proteins (writers) in the majority of eukaryotes and dynamically reversed by demethylases such as FTO and ALKBH5 (erasers). The incorporated mA marks on the RNA transcripts are recognized by m6A-binding proteins collectively called readers. Recent epigenetic studies have unequivocally highlighted the association of mA demethylases with a range of biomedical aspects, including human diseases, cancers, and metabolic disorders. Moreover, the mechanisms of demethylation by mA erasers represent a new frontier in the future basic research on RNA biology. In this review, we focused on recent advances describing various physiological, pathological, and viral regulatory roles of mA erasers. Additionally, we aim to analyze structural insights into well-known mA-demethylases in assessing their substrate binding-specificity, efficiency, and selectivity. Knowledge on cellular and viral RNA metabolism will shed light on mA-specific recognition by demethylases and will provide foundations for the future development of efficacious therapeutic agents to various cancerous conditions and open new avenues for the development of antivirals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.587108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7835257PMC
January 2021

Comparative evaluation of the toxicological effect of silver salt (AgNO ) and silver nanoparticles on Cyprinus carpio synthesized by chemicals and marine algae using scanning electron microscopy.

Microsc Res Tech 2021 Jan 25. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pattoki, Pakistan.

The widespread use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) results in the unintentional release into the water body. Therefore, understanding of the potentially harmful impacts of AgNPs and Ag-salt on aquatic animals is a need of time. This study was design to analyze the oxidative stress and histopathological damages in Cyprinus carpio. The synthesis of AgNPs from Halymenia porphyraeformis and by reduction of chemical was done. Nanoparticles were characterized with UV-Visible spectroscopy, SEM, XRD, and FTIR analysis. The comparative toxicological effect of chemically synthesized silver nanoparticles (Ch-AgNPs), green silver nanoparticles (Gr-AgNPs), and Ag-salt on C. carpio was analyzed. For oxidative stress analysis, different tests Lipid peroxidation (LPO), catalase, glutathione reduction (GST), and glutathione S-transferase (GST) were performed. The highest LPO 245.168 ± 0.034 was recorded in Ch-AgNPs-treated gills and the lowest 56.4532 ± 0.02 was found in Gr-AgNPs-treated liver. Maximum GSH 56.4065 ± 0.13 was observed in Gr-AgNPs liver and minimum 40.781 ± 0.54 was recorded in Ag-salt gills. The maximum quantity of catalase 68.0162 ± 0.09 was noted in the Ag-salt-treated liver and the minimum was calculated 17.3665 ± 0.01 in the liver of Ch-AgNPs and highest values of GST 765.829 ± 0.11 were recorded in gills of Gr-AgNPs and lowest 633.08 ± 0.26 in the liver of Ch-AgNPs-treated fish. In conclusion, maximum destruction was found in the gills and liver of the fish treated with chemical and green AgNPs followed by Ag-salt as compared to control. The adverse effects of AgNPs and Ag-salt were probably related to the oxidative stress in the fish that lead to histopathological damage of its vital organs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jemt.23710DOI Listing
January 2021

Minimally invasive surgery versus transcatheter aortic valve replacement: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Open Heart 2021 Jan;8(1)

Division of Cardiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has recently been approved for use in patients who are at intermediate and low surgical risk. Moreover, recent years have witnessed a renewed interest in minimally invasive aortic valve replacement (miAVR). The present meta-analysis compared the outcomes of TAVR and miAVR in the management of aortic stenosis (AS). We conducted an electronic search across six databases from 2002 (TAVR inception) to December 2019. Data from relevant studies regarding the clinical and length of hospitalisation outcomes were extracted and analysed using R software. We identified a total of 11 cohort studies, of which seven were matched/propensity matched. Our analysis demonstrated higher rates of midterm mortality (≥1 year) with TAVR (risk ratio (RR): 1.93, 95% CI: 1.16 to 3.22), but no significant differences with respect to 1 month mortality (RR: 1.00, 95% CI: 0.55 to 1.81), stroke (RR: 1.08, 95% CI: 0.40 to 2.87) and bleeding (RR: 1.45, 95% CI: 0.56 to 3.75) rates. Patients undergoing TAVR were more likely to experience paravalvular leakage (RR: 14.89, 95% CI: 6.89 to 32.16), yet less likely to suffer acute kidney injury (RR: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.69) compared with miAVR. The duration of hospitalisation was significantly longer in the miAVR group (mean difference: 1.92 (0.61 to 3.24)). Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation assessment revealed ≤moderate quality of evidence in all outcomes. TAVR was associated with lower acute kidney injury rate and shorter length of hospitalisation, yet higher risks of midterm mortality and paravalvular leakage. Given the increasing adoption of both techniques, there is an urgent need for head-to-head randomised trials with adequate follow-up periods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2020-001535DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7813322PMC
January 2021

Evaluation of toxicity potential of cobalt in wheat irrigated with wastewater: health risk implications for public.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Jan 6. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

School of Environment Science and Spatial Informatics, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou, China.

The use of wastewater in irrigation weakens the beneficial properties of the soil and leads to a threat to food safety standards. The present research was designed to explore the cobalt toxicity associated with the ingestion of wastewater irrigated wheat. Wheat plants of five different varieties were collected from 7 different sites of Punjab, Pakistan, which were irrigated with three different sources of water. The sampling was done in two cropping years. The cobalt values in water, soil and wheat samples (root, shoot, grain) ranged from 0.46 to 1.24 mg/l, 0.15 to 1.20, 0.29 to 1.30, 0.08 to 0.76 and 0.12 to 0.57 mg/kg, respectively. All the water samples showed high cobalt concentration than the maximum permissible value. However, all the soil and wheat plant samples were found within the maximum allowable range. The high cobalt concentration in irrigating water showed that the continuous usage of such type of water may lead to cobalt toxicity in living organisms with the passage of time and may results in severe health risks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-11815-8DOI Listing
January 2021

Sustainability assessment using STIRPAT approach to environmental quality: an extended panel data analysis.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Jan 6. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

School of Business and Economics, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, 54000, Pakistan.

The consequence of increasing economic activities is observable in the incidence of environmental deterioration. Many studies have explored the precedents of environment quality. In this regard, the proposed stochastic impacts by regression on population, affluence, and technology (STIRPAT) and environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) analysis are valuable not only for academic analysts, but also for policymakers. This study has focused on 80 selected countries between 1990 and 2017, which confirms the existence of EKC within the STIRPAT framework. The results are estimated with the help of dynamic ordinary least square (DOLS), which controls for the autocorrelation in long periods. According to the estimated results, this study confirms U-shaped EKC based on industrial-, agricultural-, and services-based economic activities. This means that over-reliance on one specific economic activity may harm the environment and create footprint. In this regard, urbanization is responsible for affecting carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, governance and technology are protecting the environment. This quadratic function had classified the sample countries in terms of the degree of sustainability of their economic activity sectors. This study proposes that countries should work on a balanced composition of economic activity so that the lowest possible environmental deterioration is caused.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-12044-9DOI Listing
January 2021

Fundamental Characteristics of Bat Interferon Systems.

Front Cell Infect Microbiol 2020 11;10:527921. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Department of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom.

Interferons are an essential component of the innate arm of the immune system and are arguably one of the most important lines of defence against viruses. The human IFN system and its functionality has already been largely characterized and studied in detail. However, the IFN systems of bats have only been marginally examined to date up until the recent developments of the Bat1k project which have now opened new opportunities in research by identifying six new bat genomes to possess novel genes that are likely associated with viral tolerance exhibited in bats. Interestingly, bats have been hypothesized to possess the ability to establish a host-virus relationship where despite being infected, they exhibit limited signs of disease and still retain the ability to transmit the disease into other susceptible hosts. Bats are one of the most abundant and widespread vertebrates on the planet and host many zoonotic viruses that are highly pathogenic to humans. Several genomics, immunological, and biological features are thought to underlie novel antiviral mechanisms of bats. This review aims to explore the bat IFN system and developments in its diverse IFN features, focusing mainly on the model species, the Australian black flying fox (), while also highlighting bat innate immunity as an exciting and fruitful area of research to understand their ability to control viral-mediated pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2020.527921DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759481PMC
December 2020

A Clinical Review of COVID-19; Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Management.

Curr Pharm Des 2020 Dec 22. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

School of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, Damietta. Egypt.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19 virus) is a worldwide pandemic pathogen infecting 210 territories. It belongs to the family coronaviriadae and the order Nidovirales. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA enveloped virus that includes spike proteins projecting from the envelope. The spike (S) protein interacts with the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which plays a role in the viral entry into the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is zoonotic, the wet animal market where live animals are sold is expected to be the source of infection. It is the third zoonotic coronavirus, after SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Transmission of the virus among humans is confirmed by direct contact, droplet infection, fecal-oral, and blood transmission. The symptoms of COVID 19 include fever, dry cough, headache, and difficulty of breathing. COVID 19 complications, including the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute organ injury, secondary infection, and shock, are common in immunocompromised and elderly patients. Up till now, there is no established treatment for COVID-19, and supportive measures including mechanical ventilation and the use of nonspecific anti-viral therapies such as Remdesevir, Liponavir, and chloroquine are currently applied on the severe cases. Also, until now, there is no approved vaccine for COVID-19. In the review, we gave an update on the SARS-COV2 virus, focusing on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentations, treatment options, and preventive measures associated with COVI-19 cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1381612826666201222162509DOI Listing
December 2020

Identification and characterization of a novel multi-stress responsive gene in Arabidopsis.

PLoS One 2020 17;15(12):e0244030. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Genomics and Bioinformatics Division, Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (IBGE), The University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

Abiotic stresses especially salinity, drought and high temperature result in considerable reduction of crop productivity. In this study, we identified AT4G18280 annotated as a glycine-rich cell wall protein-like (hereafter refer to as GRPL1) protein as a potential multistress-responsive gene. Analysis of public transcriptome data and GUS assay of pGRPL1::GUS showed a strong induction of GRPL1 under drought, salinity and heat stresses. Transgenic plants overexpressing GRPL1-3HA showed significantly higher germination, root elongation and survival rate under salt stress. Moreover, the 35S::GRPL1-3HA transgenic lines also showed higher survival rates under drought and heat stresses. GRPL1 showed similar expression patterns with Abscisic acid (ABA)-pathway genes under different growth and stress conditions, suggesting a possibility that GRPL1 might act in the ABA pathway that is further supported by the inability of ABA-deficient mutant (aba2-1) to induce GRPL1 under drought stress. Taken together, our data presents GRPL1 as a potential multi-stress responsive gene working downstream of ABA.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244030PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7746274PMC
February 2021

Application of CRISPR/Cas9 in Understanding Avian Viruses and Developing Poultry Vaccines.

Front Cell Infect Microbiol 2020 24;10:581504. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, The Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom.

Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats associated protein nuclease 9 (CRISPR-Cas9) technology offers novel approaches to precisely, cost-effectively, and user-friendly edit genomes for a wide array of applications and across multiple disciplines. This methodology can be leveraged to underpin host-virus interactions, elucidate viral gene functions, and to develop recombinant vaccines. The successful utilization of CRISPR/Cas9 in editing viral genomes has paved the way of developing novel and multiplex viral vectored poultry vaccines. Furthermore, CRISPR/Cas9 can be exploited to rectify major limitations of conventional approaches including reversion to virulent form, recombination with field viruses and transgene, and genome instability. This review provides comprehensive analysis of the potential of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technique in understanding avian virus-host interactions and developing novel poultry vaccines. Finally, we discuss the simplest and practical aspects of genome editing approaches in generating multivalent recombinant poultry vaccines that conform simultaneous protection against major avian diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2020.581504DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7732654PMC
November 2020

Antibiotic resistance development and human health risks during wastewater reuse and biosolids application in agriculture.

Chemosphere 2021 Feb 19;265:129032. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC, 28223, United States. Electronic address:

The reuse of treated wastewater (TWW) and sewage sludge are considered as solutions to the limited water resource and sludge disposal issues, respectively. The associated environmental and human health risks need to be analyzed to assess whether they are safe solutions or not. This paper discusses issues that relate to the accumulation of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance (AR) determinants in agricultural lands and crops, following TWW irrigation and biosolid amendment. Exposure assessment and dose-response assessment are the two important aspects of risk assessment discussed in this paper. Finally, research gaps in current knowledge that are relevant to a comprehensive and quantitative AR risk assessment were identified which includes: 1.) Studies on soil conditions that increase the frequency of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between native soil resistome and pathogenic microbes in biosolids and TWW 2.) Holistic studies that examine the accumulation or dissipation of antibiotics, antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) from the irrigation/biosolids application stage to crop consumption stage 3.) The influences of soil environmental conditions (e.g. salinity, nutrients) on the fate of ARB and ARGs in soil and translocation in edible plants 4.) The development of dose-response models that explicitly incorporate the potential for ARGs transfer between microbes when quantifying the risks of infection due to ARB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.129032DOI Listing
February 2021

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement vs Surgical Replacement in Patients With Pure Aortic Insufficiency.

Mayo Clin Proc 2020 12;95(12):2655-2664

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, West Virginia University Heart and Vascular Institute, Morgantown, WV.

Objective: To compare the outcomes of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) with surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) in patients with pure aortic insufficiency (PAI).

Background: The treatment of choice for patients with severe symptomatic PAI is SAVR. However, not all patients are candidates for surgery because of comorbidities or are deemed high risk for surgery. As a result, TAVR is being used as an off-label procedure in some patients with PAI.

Patients And Methods: We analyzed the National Inpatient Sample database from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017, using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision. Inclusion criteria were patients with aortic valve insufficiency undergoing either TAVR or SAVR. Patients with concomitant aortic stenosis, or history of infective endocarditis, and those below the age of 18 years were excluded.

Results: A total of 14,720 patients with PAI underwent valve replacement. Of those, 6.2% underwent TAVR. The TAVR group was significantly older (median age 78 years vs 64 years; P <.001). There was no evidence of a difference in in-hospital mortality between the 2 groups. However, after adjustment, patients in the TAVR group were associated with favorable outcomes in terms of acute kidney injury, cardiogenic shock, postoperative respiratory complications, and length of stay. On the other hand, those in the SAVR group were less likely to need permanent pacemakers.

Conclusion: There was no evidence of a significant statistical difference in in-hospital mortality between patients with PAI treated by either SAVR or TAVR, both in unmatched and propensity-matched cohorts. TAVR could be considered for patients with PAI who are not candidates for surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.07.030DOI Listing
December 2020

Comparative infectivity and transmissibility studies of wild-bird and chicken-origin highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses H5N8 in chickens.

Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis 2021 Feb 19;74:101594. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Division of Biomedical and Life Science, Lancaster University, LA1 4YG Lancaster, Lancashire, UK. Electronic address:

Despite the recent advances in avian influenza viruses surveillance and genomic data, fundamental questions concerning the ecology and evolution of these viruses remain elusive. In Egypt, H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) are co-circulating simultaneously with HPAIVs of subtypes H5N1 and low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIVs) of subtype H9N2 in both commercial and backyard poultry. In order to isolate AIVs from wild birds and to assess their potential in causing infection in commercial poultry, a total of thirty-four cloacal swab samples were collected from apparently healthy migratory wild birds (Anas acuta, Anas crecca, Rallus aquaticus, and Bubulcus ibis) from four Egyptian Governorates (Giza, Menoufia, Gharbia, and Dakahlia). Based on matrix (M) gene-targeting real-time reverse transcriptase PCR and subsequent genetic characterization, our results revealed two positive isolates (2/34) for H5N8 whereas no H5N1 and H9N2 subtypes were detected. Genetic characterization of the full-length haemagglutinin (HA) genes revealed the clustering of two reported isolates within genotype 5 of clade 2.3.4.4b. The potential of a wild bird-origin H5N8 virus isolated from a cattle egret for its transmission capability within and between chickens was investigated in compare to chicken origin H5N8 AIV. Chickens inoculated with cattle egret isolate showed varying clinical signs and detection of virus shedding. In contrast, the contact chickens showed less levels of virus secretion indicating efficient virus inter/intra-species transmission. These results demonstrated the possibility for spreading of wild bird origin H5N8 viruses between chicken. In conclusion, our study highlights the need for continuous and frequent monitoring of the genetic diversity of H5N8 AIVs in wild birds as well as commercial poultry sectors for better understanding and determining the genetic nature of these viruses, which is fundamental to predict any future threat through virus reassortment with the potential to threaten human and animal health. Likewise, an assessment of coverage and efficacy of different vaccines and or vaccination regimes in the field conditions should be reconsidered along with strict biosecurity measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cimid.2020.101594DOI Listing
February 2021

Systematics of with the Resurrection of (Elapidae, Serpentes).

Zoolog Sci 2020 Dec;37(6):586-594

Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Nihonmatsu, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.

The red-bellied form of (Laurenti, 1768) sensu lato was originally reported from Pahang, west Malaysia. To determine the taxonomic status of this form, we examined the type specimens of Lidth De Jeude, 1890, (Boulenger, 1896), and var. Peters, 1863. The results indicated that the red-bellied form of should be named as comb. nov., whose valid species status was based on morphological and molecular analyses. We designate a lectotype and redescribe the species, which is genetically close to (Peters, 1881) from the Philippines, and is clearly distinguishable from other congeners by possessing a pair of gray or dark blue lateral stripes and by being bright red on the ventrum. and are relegated to subjective junior synonyms of .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2108/zs200100DOI Listing
December 2020

Author Correction: A comprehensive global perspective on phylogenomics and evolutionary dynamics of Small ruminant morbillivirus.

Sci Rep 2020 Nov 27;10(1):20997. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YG, United Kingdom.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78219-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7691326PMC
November 2020

Structural and functional insights into non-structural proteins of coronaviruses.

Microb Pathog 2021 Jan 23;150:104641. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YG, UK. Electronic address:

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are causing a number of human and animal diseases because of their zoonotic nature such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These viruses can infect respiratory, gastrointestinal, hepatic and central nervous systems of human, livestock, birds, bat, mouse, and many wild animals. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a newly emerging respiratory virus and is causing CoVID-19 with high morbidity and considerable mortality. All CoVs belong to the order Nidovirales, family Coronaviridae, are enveloped positive-sense RNA viruses, characterised by club-like spikes on their surfaces and large RNA genome with a distinctive replication strategy. Coronavirus have the largest RNA genomes (~26-32 kilobases) and their expansion was likely enabled by acquiring enzyme functions that counter the commonly high error frequency of viral RNA polymerases. Non-structural proteins (nsp) 7-16 are cleaved from two large replicase polyproteins and guide the replication and processing of coronavirus RNA. Coronavirus replicase has more or less universal activities, such as RNA polymerase (nsp 12) and helicase (nsp 13), as well as a variety of unusual or even special mRNA capping (nsp 14, nsp 16) and fidelity regulation (nsp 14) domains. Besides that, several smaller subunits (nsp 7- nsp 10) serve as essential cofactors for these enzymes and contribute to the emerging "nsp interactome." In spite of the significant progress in studying coronaviruses structural and functional properties, there is an urgent need to understand the coronaviruses evolutionary success that will be helpful to develop enhanced control strategies. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the structure, function, and interactions of coronaviruses RNA synthesizing machinery and their replication strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.micpath.2020.104641DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7682334PMC
January 2021

Survival of Bacterial Strains on Wood () Compared to Polycarbonate, Aluminum and Stainless Steel.

Antibiotics (Basel) 2020 Nov 13;9(11). Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Laboratoire de Bactériologie-Hygiène, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, 4 rue Larrey, 49933 Angers, France.

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) remain a burden in healthcare facilities, environmental surfaces being a potential reservoir for healthcare-associated pathogens. In this context, exploration of materials with potential antimicrobial activities represents a way forward for the future. Here, we explored the survival of four bacterial species commonly involved in HAI (, , , ), on oak versus three other materials (aluminum, polycarbonate, stainless steel). Twenty microliters of each bacterial suspension (approximatively 10 bacteria) were deposited on each material. Bacterial counts were measured by grinding and culturing on day 0, 1, 2, 6, 7 and 15. Analyses were performed in triplicate for each material and each time evaluated. It appeared that the bacteria viable count decreased rapidly on transversal and tangential oak compared with the other materials for all bacterial species. Furthermore, no difference was noticed between transversal and tangential oak. These results underline the potential for use of oak materials in healthcare facilities, a consideration that should be supported by further investigations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9110804DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7698295PMC
November 2020

Comparison of Efficacy of Dexamethasone and Methylprednisolone in Improving PaO2/FiO2 Ratio Among COVID-19 Patients.

Cureus 2020 Oct 12;12(10):e10918. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Medical Education and Simulation, Bahria International Hospital, Lahore, PAK.

Introduction Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the reason for the global pandemic that started from Wuhan, China, in December 2019, known as coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19). Acute respiratory distress syndrome happened in COVID-19 not just because of uncontrolled viral replication but also because of an uncontrolled immune reaction from the host. That's why antiviral and anti-inflammatory treatments have become an increasing concern for clinicians. Methods A retrospective quasi-experimental study design was used to assess the effectiveness of methylprednisolone and dexamethasone in the improvement of PaO/FiO (P/F) ratio in COVID-19 patients. We included 60 participants for this study by using a convenient sampling technique and divided them into two groups with 30 patients in each group. Group 1 was given dexamethasone 8 mg twice daily, and group 1 given methylprednisolone 40 mg twice daily for eight days. We recorded C-reactive protein (CRP), serum ferritin level, and P/F ratio before administration of both drugs and after administration of drugs for eight days. We used the paired t-test to assess the effect of both drugs on the P/F ratio of participants. Results The initial mean CRP in group 1 was 110.34, which reduced to 19.45 after administration of dexamethasone; similarly, the CRP in group 2 was 108.65, which reduced to 43.82 after administering methylprednisolone for eight days. In P/F ratio improvement, the calculated significance value for dexamethasone (p=0.000) was less than the table value at 0.05 in all sections, p-value for methylprednisolone (p=0.009) was also less than the table value at 0.05, which shows that both dexamethasone and methylprednisolone were effective in improving P/F ratio. Calculated p-value for dexamethasone (p=0.000) was lower than the calculated p-value for methylprednisolone (p=0.009), which shows that dexamethasone is more effective as compare to methylprednisolone. Conclusions Steroid therapy is effective in controlling inflammation markers, and especially dexamethasone is significantly effective in improving the P/F ratio in COVID-19 patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.10918DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7657375PMC
October 2020