Publications by authors named "Muhammad Saqib"

157 Publications

A Full-Range Flexible and Printed Humidity Sensor Based on a Solution-Processed P(VDF-TrFE)/Graphene-Flower Composite.

Nanomaterials (Basel) 2021 Jul 26;11(8). Epub 2021 Jul 26.

Department of Electronic Engineering, Jeju National University, 102 Jejudaehakro, Jeju 63243, Korea.

A novel composite based on a polymer (P(VDF-TrFE)) and a two-dimensional material (graphene flower) was proposed as the active layer of an interdigitated electrode (IDEs) based humidity sensor. Silver (Ag) IDEs were screen printed on a flexible polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate followed by spin coating the active layer of P(VDF-TrFE)/graphene flower on its surface. It was observed that this sensor responds to a wide relative humidity range (RH%) of 8-98% with a fast response and recovery time of 0.8 s and 2.5 s for the capacitance, respectively. The fabricated sensor displayed an inversely proportional response between capacitance and RH%, while a directly proportional relationship was observed between its impedance and RH%. P(VDF-TrFE)/graphene flower-based flexible humidity sensor exhibited high sensitivity with an average change of capacitance as 0.0558 pF/RH%. Stability of obtained results was monitored for two weeks without any considerable change in the original values, signifying its high reliability. Various chemical, morphological, and electrical characterizations were performed to comprehensively study the humidity-sensing behavior of this advanced composite. The fabricated sensor was successfully used for the applications of health monitoring and measuring the water content in the environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nano11081915DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8398072PMC
July 2021

A Laser Reduced Graphene Oxide Grid Electrode for the Voltammetric Determination of Carbaryl.

Molecules 2021 Aug 20;26(16). Epub 2021 Aug 20.

Laboratory of Physical and Chemical Method of Analysis, National Research Tomsk State University, Lenin Avenue 36, 634050 Tomsk, Russia.

Laser-reduced graphene oxide (LRGO) on a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate was prepared in one step to obtain the LRGO grid electrode for sensitive carbaryl determination. The grid form results in a grid distribution of different electrochemically active zones affecting the electroactive substance diffusion towards the electrode surface and increasing the electrochemical sensitivity for carbaryl determination. Carbaryl is electrochemically irreversibly oxidized at the secondary amine moiety of the molecule with the loss of one proton and one electron in the pH range from 5 to 7 by linear scan voltammetry (LSV) on the LRGO grid electrode with a scan rate of 300 mV/s. Some interference of the juice matrix molecules does not significantly affect the LSV oxidation current of carbaryl on the LRGO grid electrode after adsorptive accumulation without applied potential. The LRGO grid electrode can be used for LSV determination of carbaryl in fruit juices in the concentration range from 0.25 to 128 mg/L with LOD of 0.1 mg/L. The fabrication of the LRGO grid electrode opens up possibilities for further inexpensive monitoring of carbaryl in other fruit juices and fruits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules26165050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8401968PMC
August 2021

A rare case of extensively drug-resistant  typhi meningitis in a 9-year old: a case report.

Future Microbiol 2021 Sep 17;16:931-933. Epub 2021 Aug 17.

Department of Medical Lab Technology, National Skills University, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Meningitis caused by typhi is rare and is generally seen in infants. We report a case of a 9-year-old boy with extensively drug-resistant typhi meningitis. The patient was diagnosed using a culture sensitivity test and successfully treated with meropenem. Culture sensitivity may be included in routine testing for the diagnosis of  typhi especially in developing countries due to high burden of disease and emergence of drug resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fmb-2020-0257DOI Listing
September 2021

Animal and Human Brucellosis in Pakistan.

Front Public Health 2021 30;9:660508. Epub 2021 Jul 30.

Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Brucellosis is a bacterial zoonotic disease that affects many animal species and can be transmitted to humans direct contact or contaminated food. Although brucellosis is a serious health hazard, its public health concern has been neglected in many countries. In some developing countries, such as Pakistan, where brucellosis is endemic, this disease continues to be of importance. A literature search for the past 11 years (2011-2021) provided a comprehensive insight into brucellosis in Pakistan. In this review, particular emphasis was placed on occurrence, diagnostic tests used, and prevention, treatment, and control in the context of the "One Health" approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.660508DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8362930PMC
August 2021

Highly Efficient and Wide Range Humidity Response of Biocompatible Egg White Thin Film.

Nanomaterials (Basel) 2021 Jul 13;11(7). Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Faculty of Applied Energy System, Major of Electronic Engineering, Jeju National University, Jeju 63243, Korea.

Biopolymers are a solution to solve the increasing problems caused by the advances and revolution in the electronic industry owing to the use of hazardous chemicals. In this work, we have used egg white (EW) as the low-cost functional layer of a biocompatible humidity sensor and deposited it on gold (Au) interdigitated electrodes (IDEs) patterned through the state-of-the-art fabrication technology of thermal vacuum evaporation. The presence of hydrophilic proteins inside the thin film of EW makes it an attractive candidate for sensing humidity. Usually, the dependence of the percentage of relative humidity (%RH) on the reliability of measurement setup is overlooked for impedimetric humidity sensors but we have used a modified experimental setup to enhance the uniformity of the obtained results. The characteristics of our device include almost linear response with a quick response time (1.2 s) and fast recovery time (1.7 s). High sensitivity of 50 kΩ/%RH was achieved in the desirable detection range of 10-85%RH. The device size was intentionally kept small for its potential integration in a marketable chip. Results for the response of our fabricated sensor for dry and wet fingertips, along with determining the rate of breathing through the mouth, are part of this study, making it a potential device for health monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nano11071815DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8308394PMC
July 2021

Serologic evidence of Echinococcus granulosus in slaughterhouses in Pakistan: global alarm for butchers in developing countries.

J Infect Dev Ctries 2021 Jun 30;15(6):861-869. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, National Professional Laboratory of Animal Hydatidosis, Key Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China.

Introduction: Cystic echinococcosis, caused by Echinococcus granulosus, is a neglected zoonosis that affects humans and livestock. This sero-survey was designed for the first time in Pakistan to assess the exposure of butchers to E. granulosus as there was no previous report in the country for this occupational group.

Methodology: Blood samples were collected from registered butchers (n = 364) in five different slaughterhouses in Faisalabad and Bahawalnagar Districts. Sera were tested for anti-Echinococcus granulosus IgG with a commercially available ELISA kit (specificity, 100%; sensitivity, 97%).

Results: Overall, seroprevalence was 9.61% (35/364). Butchers >30 years of age (10.34%), those involved in small ruminants butchery (11.70%), >10 years' experience (10.04%), formal education level up to middle standard (10.28%), contact with dogs (12.71%), improper/unhygienic disposal of dog feces (11.87%), and those unaware of the consequences of eating with unwashed hands (13.80%) were more seropositive with significant statistical differences (p < 0.05). Variables like previous cyst encounter, no knowledge of zoonoses and/or cystic echinococcosis, living in rural areas and the presence of stray/feral dogs in surroundings did not show any significant association (p > 0.05) with seroprevalence in butchers. The binary logistic regression model also showed a statistically significant relationship (p < 0.05) for all risk factors found statistically significant (p < 0.05) in the univariate analysis.

Conclusions: This study shows high prevalence of cystic echinococcosis among butchers in Pakistan and underscores the need for educating native slaughterhouse personnel on cystic echinococcosis. It also serves as a global warning, especially in developing countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3855/jidc.14029DOI Listing
June 2021

The Efficacy of Little Lovely Dentist, Dental Song, and Tell-Show-Do Techniques in Alleviating Dental Anxiety in Paediatric Patients: A Clinical Trial.

Biomed Res Int 2021 23;2021:1119710. Epub 2021 May 23.

Department of Preventive Dentistry, College of Dentistry, Jouf University, Sakaka, Al Jouf 72345, Saudi Arabia.

Introduction: Dental anxiety is a common occurrence in patients undergoing dental treatments, especially in children. The success in paedriatric dental treatments and patient comfort depends on controlling the level of patient's anxiety in clinical settings. This study is aimed at evaluating the efficacy of different techniques applied for the reduction of dental anxiety in paediatric patients. . One hundred and sixty participants were divided into 4 groups; each group having 40 patients as follows: group I: mobile application "little lovely dentist," group II: YouTube® "dental video songs," group III "tell-show-do," and group IV "control." Dental prophylaxis treatments were provided to all the participants. Initial anxiety levels were noted during the patient's education phase by measuring heart rate with pulse oximeter and distress level with facial image scale, at the same time in each group, respectively. The postoperative anxiety was noted later with the same methods, after the application of anxiety reduction techniques. The data obtained were entered in the statistical package for the social sciences software, version 25. One-way ANOVA and paired -test for matched groups were used to compare mean values of the 4 groups, in this study to determine their effectiveness. A value of ≤0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: The mean age of patients in group 1 was 6.8 ± 2.1 years, group 2: 8.15 ± 2.27 years, group 3: 7.5 ± 2.3 years, and group 4: 7.27 ± 1.68 years. The intragroup comparisons of heart rate and facial image scores have shown a significant difference in before and after dental treatment procedures. Marked reduction in heart rate and facial image scale scores were found in patients belonging to group 1 (mobile applications) and group 2 (dental video songs). An increase in heart rate and facial image scale scores was seen in group 3 (tell-show-do) and the control group.

Conclusion: The paediatric dental anxiety is a common finding in dental clinics. Behavior modification techniques like smartphone applications, "little lovely dentist," and "dental songs" can alleviate dental anxiety experienced by paediatric patients. The "tell-show-do" technique although most commonly used did not prove to be beneficial in the reduction of the anxiety levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2021/1119710DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8166486PMC
May 2021

Single-Entity Detection With TEM-Fabricated Nanopores.

Front Chem 2021 7;9:664820. Epub 2021 May 7.

Department of Chemistry, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China.

Nanopore-based single-entity detection shows immense potential in sensing and sequencing technologies. Solid-state nanopores permit unprecedented detail while preserving mechanical robustness, reusability, adjustable pore size, and stability in different physical and chemical environments. The transmission electron microscope (TEM) has evolved into a powerful tool for fabricating and characterizing nanometer-sized pores within a solid-state ultrathin membrane. By detecting differences in the ionic current signals due to single-entity translocation through the nanopore, solid-state nanopores can enable gene sequencing and single molecule/nanoparticle detection with high sensitivity, improved acquisition speed, and low cost. Here we briefly discuss the recent progress in the modification and characterization of TEM-fabricated nanopores. Moreover, we highlight some key applications of these nanopores in nucleic acids, protein, and nanoparticle detection. Additionally, we discuss the future of computer simulations in DNA and protein sequencing strategies. We also attempt to identify the challenges and discuss the future development of nanopore-detection technology aiming to promote the next-generation sequencing technology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fchem.2021.664820DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8138203PMC
May 2021

Biochar mitigates arsenic-induced human health risks and phytotoxicity in quinoa under saline conditions by modulating ionic and oxidative stress responses.

Environ Pollut 2021 Oct 15;287:117348. Epub 2021 May 15.

Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University Islamabad, Vehari Campus, 61100, Pakistan.

Arsenic (As) is a toxic metalloid and its widespread contamination in agricultural soils along with soil salinization has become a serious concern for human health and food security. In the present study, the effect of cotton shell biochar (CSBC) in decreasing As-induced phytotoxicity and human health risks in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) grown on As-spiked saline and non-saline soils was evaluated. Quinoa plants were grown on As contaminated (0, 15 and 30 mg kg) saline and non-saline soils amended with 0, 1 and 2% CSBC. Results showed that plant growth, grain yield, stomatal conductance and chlorophyll contents of quinoa showed more decline on As contaminated saline soil than non-saline soil. The application of 2% CSBC particularly enhanced plant growth, leaf relative water contents, stomatal conductance, pigment contents and limited the uptake of As and Na as compared to soil without CSBC. Salinity in combination with As trigged the production of HO and caused lipid peroxidation of cell membranes. Biochar ameliorated the oxidative stress by increasing the activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, POD, CAT). Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic human health risks were greatly decreased in the presence of biochar. Application of 2% CSBC showed promising results in reducing human health risks and As toxicity in quinoa grown on As contaminated non-saline and saline soils. Further research is needed to evaluate the role of biochar in minimizing As accumulation in other crops on normal as well as salt affected soils under field conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117348DOI Listing
October 2021

Seed Priming with Sorghum Water Extract Improves the Performance of Camelina ( (L.) Crantz.) under Salt Stress.

Plants (Basel) 2021 Apr 12;10(4). Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Agronomic Research Institute, Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan.

Seed priming with sorghum water extract (SWE) enhances crop tolerance to salinity stress; however, the application of SWE under salinity for camelina crop has not been documented so far. This study evaluated the potential role of seed priming with SWE in improving salt stress tolerance in camelina. Primed (with 5% SWE and distilled water-hydropriming) and nonprimed seeds were sown under control (no salt) and salt stress (10 dS m) conditions. Salinity reduced camelina's emergence and growth, while seed priming with SWE improved growth under control and stress conditions. Under salt stress, seed priming with SWE enhanced emergence percentage (96.98%), increased root length (82%), shoot length (32%), root dry weight (75%), shoot dry weight (33%), α-amylase activity (66.43%), chlorophyll content (60-92%), antioxidant enzymes activity (38-171%) and shoot K ion (60%) compared with nontreated plants. Similarly, under stress conditions, hydrogen peroxide, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and shoot Na ion were reduced by 60, 31, and 40% by seed priming with SWE, respectively, over the nonprimed seeds. Therefore, seed priming with SWE may be used to enhance the tolerance against salt stress in camelina.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants10040749DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8069245PMC
April 2021

Salinity modulates lead (Pb) tolerance and phytoremediation potential of quinoa: a multivariate comparison of physiological and biochemical attributes.

Environ Geochem Health 2021 Apr 27. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University Islamabad, Vehari Campus, Vehari, Pakistan.

Salinity and lead (Pb) contamination of soil are important environmental issues. A hydroponics experiment was performed to unravel the effects of salinity on modulation of Pb tolerance and phytoremediation potential of quinoa. Four-week-old plants of quinoa genotype "Puno" were treated with different concentrations of NaCl (0, 150 and 300 mM), Pb (0, 250 and 500 μM) and their combinations. It was noticed that plant biomass, chlorophyll contents and stomatal conductance of quinoa were slightly affected at 150 mM NaCl or 250 μM Pb. However, the higher concentrations of NaCl (300 mM) and Pb (500 μM) caused significant decline in these attributes. The accumulation of Na in quinoa increased under the combined application of salt with highest level of Pb. The uptake of K was not affected at the lower levels of either salinity or Pb, but decreased significantly at their highest levels. The combination of salinity and Pb increased HO contents and caused lipid peroxidation that was mitigated by the activation of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, peroxidase, ascorbate peroxidase). The activities of these enzymes increased by 4-, 3.75-, 5.4- and 2-fold, respectively, in the combined application of 500 μM Pb and 300 mM NaCl with respect to control. A multivariate analysis indicated that Pb tolerance potential of quinoa under combined application of NaCl and Pb was higher at 150 than 300 mM NaCl. The bioconcentration factor and translocation factor for Pb remained less than one either in the absence or presence of salinity. Lead accumulation and tolerance potential indicated that quinoa genotype "Puno" is suitable for phytostabilization of Pb under saline conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10653-021-00937-8DOI Listing
April 2021

Hydatigera taeniaeformis in urban rats (Rattus rattus) in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Infect Genet Evol 2021 08 24;92:104873. Epub 2021 Apr 24.

State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, National Professional Laboratory for Echinococcosis, Key Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou 730046, Gansu Province, PR China; Jiangsu Co-innovation Center for Prevention and Control of Important Animal Infectious Disease, Yangzhou 225009, Jiangsu Province, PR China. Electronic address:

Hydatigera taeniaeformis formerly referred to as Taenia taeniaeformis is a cestode of cats (definitive hosts) and rodents (intermediate hosts). The prevalence of the metacestode larval stage has been reported in rodents in many parts of the world even though the genetic polymorphisms or intraspecies variation is still understudied. Here, we report a prevalence of 22.09% (38/172) from an urban rodent population in Pakistan and a nucleotide diversity (cox1) of 0.00463 among the population. Infection was higher in male (27.85%) and adult (32.29%) rats than female and sub-adult/young rats. Interestingly, The median-joining network and phylogenetic construction comprising isolates from China, Japan, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and countries in Europe demonstrated that Pakistani H. taeniaeformis are closer to Asian and African population than those of European origin. The results of the study will add-in preliminary data for H. taeniaeformis and will also contribute to understand the global molecular epidemiology and population structure of H. taeniaeformis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2021.104873DOI Listing
August 2021

Coding-Complete Genome Sequence of a SARS-CoV-2 Strain Isolated in Gilgit, Pakistan.

Microbiol Resour Announc 2021 Apr 1;10(13). Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences, National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan

Here, we report the coding-complete genome sequence of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) isolate obtained from a nasopharyngeal swab from the first patient with COVID-19 in Gilgit, Pakistan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MRA.01151-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8104055PMC
April 2021

Hunger, malnutrition and persistent COVID-19 lockdowns: A swift approach is required.

J Formos Med Assoc 2021 07 14;120(7):1539-1540. Epub 2021 Mar 14.

Department of Life Sciences, School of Science, University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore, Pakistan. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfma.2021.03.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7955915PMC
July 2021

A copper nanoparticle-based electrochemical immunosensor for carbaryl detection.

Talanta 2021 Jun 4;228:122174. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, Lenin Avenue 30, 634050, Tomsk, Russia; Charles University, Faculty of Science, Department of Analytical Chemistry, UNESCO Laboratory of Environmental Electrochemistry, Albertov 6, 12843, Prague 2, Czech Republic. Electronic address:

A hapten-protein conjugate with copper nanoparticles ([email protected]) was first synthesized in the present work for the determination of carbaryl. The copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) of the conjugate were used as electrochemical labels in the direct solid-phase competitive determination of carbaryl residues in flour from different crops. The signal was read by linear sweep anodic stripping voltammetry (LSASV) of copper (through the electrochemical stripping of accumulated elemental copper) on a gold-graphite electrode (GGE). To form a recognition receptor layer of monoclonal antibodies against the carbaryl on the surface of the GGE, 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and 1-hydroxy-2,5-pyrrolidinedione (NHS) were used as the best covalent cross-linkers. The concentrations of the antibodies and the [email protected] conjugate were optimized for carbaryl detection by the electrochemical immunosensor. The electrochemical immunosensor can be used for highly sensitive determination of carbaryl residues in flour samples in the concentration range 0.8-32.3 μg·kg, with a limit of detection 0.08 μg·kg. The present work paves the path for a novel method for monitoring carbaryl in other food products, drinks, and soil samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.talanta.2021.122174DOI Listing
June 2021

Salvage therapy of bleeding esophageal tumor by fully covered self-expandable metallic stent: A case report.

SAGE Open Med Case Rep 2021 24;9:2050313X21997198. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Department of Internal Medicine, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Lahore, Pakistan.

The role of self-expandable metallic stents is gradually evolving for a diverse group of benign and malignant gastrointestinal tract problems, with luminal obstruction being by far the most common. Although its role in refractory variceal bleeding is well established, it has rarely been tried for tumor-related bleeding, with only a few case reports in this regard. We share our experience of successfully controlling esophageal tumor-related bleeding with the use of a fully covered self-expandable metallic stent. A 58-year-old woman with irresectable distal esophageal cancer, presented with hematemesis. Esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy revealed an obstructing esophageal tumor with diffuse oozing of blood. This was unamenable to local injection of adrenaline and hemospray; therefore, a temporary self-expandable metallic stent was parked to create a tamponade effect. This successfully stopped bleeding and the patient remained asymptomatic till discharge. However, she was lost to follow-up, and therefore, the stent was removed after a period of 5 months instead of 2 weeks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2050313X21997198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7925943PMC
February 2021

Polarization Reversal Characteristics in Capacitors with a Metal/Insulator/Ferroelectric/Metal Structure.

J Nanosci Nanotechnol 2021 Sep;21(9):4911-4915

Department of Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Applied Energy System, Jeju National University, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Jeju-si 63243, Korea.

A metal/insulator/ferroelectric/metal structure was fabricated using a covering of approximately 10 nm thick of an insulating polystyrene film on a ferroelectric poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene) film. To fabricate several samples, the thickness of the ferroelectric film was held constant while the thickness of the insulating film was varied from 8 to 24 nm. The polarization- voltage relationships were measured to extract the main parameters, in this case the remanent polarization, depolarization, coercive voltage and biased voltage values. As the insulating film becomes thicker, the remanent polarization and coercive voltage values tended to increase. On the other hand, depolarization and biased voltage values decreased. By analyzing the above mentioned parameters, a certain optimum insulator thickness could be predicted. This work shows that metal/insulator/ferroelectric/metal devices are more useful than metal/ferroelectric/metal capacitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jnn.2021.19276DOI Listing
September 2021

Validation of a Commercial Glanders ELISA as an Alternative to the CFT in International Trade of Equidae.

Front Vet Sci 2021 16;8:628389. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Bacterial Infections and Zoonoses, Jena, Germany.

Glanders, caused by (.) is a notifiable zoonotic disease in equidae. For international trade and movement of equids, certificates of negative serological test results for antibodies against are required. To date, the complement fixation test (CFT) is the mandatory test to issue these health certificates. The CFT is difficult to standardize and, due to its poor specificity, often leads to false-positive reactions resulting in trade restrictions with considerable financial consequences. In the present study, the new ID Screen Glanders Double Antigen Multispecies ELISA (GLANDA- ELISA) (IDvet, Grabels, France) was evaluated using 400 negative and 370 glanders positive field samples of equidae. The GLANDA-ELISA was significantly more specific (99.8%) than the CFT (97.0%). Considering the comparable sensitivities of CFT (96.5%) and ELISA (98.1%), this new GLANDA-ELISA test appears a suitable confirmatory test and a realistic alternative for serological testing of horses for trade or movement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2021.628389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7920956PMC
February 2021

Shape effect on MHD flow of time fractional Ferro-Brinkman type nanofluid with ramped heating.

Sci Rep 2021 Feb 12;11(1):3725. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Department of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia JB, 81310, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia.

The colloidal suspension of nanometer-sized particles of FeO in traditional base fluids is referred to as Ferro-nanofluids. These fluids have many technological applications such as cell separation, drug delivery, magnetic resonance imaging, heat dissipation, damping, and dynamic sealing. Due to the massive applications of Ferro-nanofluids, the main objective of this study is to consider the MHD flow of water-based Ferro-nanofluid in the presence of thermal radiation, heat generation, and nanoparticle shape effect. The Caputo-Fabrizio time-fractional Brinkman type fluid model is utilized to demonstrate the proposed flow phenomenon with oscillating and ramped heating boundary conditions. The Laplace transform method is used to solve the model for both ramped and isothermal heating for exact solutions. The ramped and isothermal solutions are simultaneously plotted in the various figures to study the influence of pertinent flow parameters. The results revealed that the fractional parameter has a great impact on both temperature and velocity fields. In the case of ramped heating, both temperature and velocity fields decreasing with increasing fractional parameter. However, in the isothermal case, this trend reverses near the plate and gradually, ramped, and isothermal heating became alike away from the plate for the fractional parameter. Finally, the solutions for temperature and velocity fields are reduced to classical form and validated with already published results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78421-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7881191PMC
February 2021

Recent progress in understanding salinity tolerance in plants: Story of Na/K balance and beyond.

Plant Physiol Biochem 2021 Mar 23;160:239-256. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, China.

High salt concentrations in the growing medium can severely affect the growth and development of plants. It is imperative to understand the different components of salt-tolerant network in plants in order to produce the salt-tolerant cultivars. High-affinity potassium transporter- and myelocytomatosis proteins have been shown to play a critical role for salinity tolerance through exclusion of sodium (Na) ions from sensitive shoot tissues in plants. Numerous genes, that limit the uptake of salts from soil and their transport throughout the plant body, adjust the ionic and osmotic balance of cells in roots and shoots. In the present review, we have tried to provide a comprehensive report of major research advances on different mechanisms regulating plant tolerance to salinity stress at proteomics, metabolomics, genomics and transcriptomics levels. Along with the role of ionic homeostasis, a major focus was given on other salinity tolerance mechanisms in plants including osmoregulation and osmo-protection, cell wall remodeling and integrity, and plant antioxidative defense. Major proteins and genes expressed under salt-stressed conditions and their role in enhancing salinity tolerance in plants are discussed as well. Moreover, this manuscript identifies and highlights the key questions on plant salinity tolerance that remain to be discussed in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2021.01.029DOI Listing
March 2021

High-Performance Humidity Sensor Based on the Graphene Flower/Zinc Oxide Composite.

Nanomaterials (Basel) 2021 Jan 18;11(1). Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Faculty of Applied Energy System, Major of Electronic Engineering, Jeju National University, Jeju 63243, Korea.

Performance of an electronic device relies heavily on the availability of a suitable functional material. One of the simple, easy, and cost-effective ways to obtain novel functional materials with improved properties for desired applications is to make composites of selected materials. In this work, a novel composite of transparent n-type zinc oxide (ZnO) with a wide bandgap and a unique structure of graphene in the form of a graphene flower (GrF) is synthesized and used as the functional layer of a humidity sensor. The (GrF/ZnO) composite was synthesized by a simple sol-gel method. Morphological, elemental, and structural characterizations of GrF/ZnO composite were performed by a field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM), energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and an x-ray diffractometer (XRD), respectively, to fully understand the properties of this newly synthesized functional material. The proposed humidity sensor was tested in the relative humidity (RH) range of 15% RH% to 86% RH%. The demonstrated sensor illustrated a highly sensitive response to humidity with an average current change of 7.77 μA/RH%. Other prominent characteristics shown by this device include but were not limited to high stability, repeatable results, fast response, and quick recovery time. The proposed humidity sensor was highly sensitive to human breathing, thus making it a promising candidate for various applications related to health monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nano11010242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7831307PMC
January 2021

Determination of the Entire Stent Surface Area by a New Analytical Method.

Materials (Basel) 2020 Dec 10;13(24). Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, Maria-Reiche-Strasse 2, 01109 Dresden, Germany.

Stenting is a widely used treatment procedure for coronary artery disease around the world. Stents have a complex geometry, which makes the characterization of their corrosion difficult due to the absence of a mathematical model to calculate the entire stent surface area (ESSA). Therefore, corrosion experiments with stents are mostly based on qualitative analysis. Additionally, the quantitative analysis of corrosion is conducted with simpler samples made of stent material instead of stents, in most cases. At present, several methods are available to calculate the stent outer surface area (SOSA), whereas no model exists for the calculation of the ESSA. This paper presents a novel mathematical model for the calculation of the ESSA using the SOSA as one of the main parameters. The ESSA of seven magnesium alloy stents (MeKo Laser Material Processing GmbH, Sarstedt, Germany) were calculated using the developed model. The calculated SOSA and ESSA for all stents are 33.34%(±0.26%) and 111.86 mm (±0.85 mm), respectively. The model is validated by micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), with a difference of 12.34% (±0.46%). The value of corrosion rates calculated using the ESSA computed with the developed model will be 12.34% (±0.46%) less than that of using ESSA obtained by micro-CT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ma13245633DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7764317PMC
December 2020

COVID-19 and Tuberculosis overlapping epidemics: A holistic review from Pakistan.

J Med Virol 2021 May 23;93(5):2573-2575. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Department of Biosciences, COMSATS University, Islamabad, Pakistan.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmv.26714DOI Listing
May 2021

An Artificial Intelligence-Based, Personalized Smartphone App to Improve Childhood Immunization Coverage and Timelines Among Children in Pakistan: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial.

JMIR Res Protoc 2020 Dec 4;9(12):e22996. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

Surrey Business School, University of Surrey, Guildford Surrey, United Kingdom.

Background: The immunization uptake rates in Pakistan are much lower than desired. Major reasons include lack of awareness, parental forgetfulness regarding schedules, and misinformation regarding vaccines. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and distancing measures, routine childhood immunization (RCI) coverage has been adversely affected, as caregivers avoid tertiary care hospitals or primary health centers. Innovative and cost-effective measures must be taken to understand and deal with the issue of low immunization rates. However, only a few smartphone-based interventions have been carried out in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to improve RCI.

Objective: The primary objectives of this study are to evaluate whether a personalized mobile app can improve children's on-time visits at 10 and 14 weeks of age for RCI as compared with standard care and to determine whether an artificial intelligence model can be incorporated into the app. Secondary objectives are to determine the perceptions and attitudes of caregivers regarding childhood vaccinations and to understand the factors that might influence the effect of a mobile phone-based app on vaccination improvement.

Methods: A mixed methods randomized controlled trial was designed with intervention and control arms. The study will be conducted at the Aga Khan University Hospital vaccination center. Caregivers of newborns or infants visiting the center for their children's 6-week vaccination will be recruited. The intervention arm will have access to a smartphone app with text, voice, video, and pictorial messages regarding RCI. This app will be developed based on the findings of the pretrial qualitative component of the study, in addition to no-show study findings, which will explore caregivers' perceptions about RCI and a mobile phone-based app in improving RCI coverage.

Results: Pretrial qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted in February 2020. Enrollment of study participants for the randomized controlled trial is in process. Study exit interviews will be conducted at the 14-week immunization visits, provided the caregivers visit the immunization facility at that time, or over the phone when the children are 18 weeks of age.

Conclusions: This study will generate useful insights into the feasibility, acceptability, and usability of an Android-based smartphone app for improving RCI in Pakistan and in LMICs.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04449107; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04449107.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/22996.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/22996DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7748948PMC
December 2020

Electron Attachment Studies with the Potential Radiosensitizer 2-Nitrofuran.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Nov 24;21(23). Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics, University of Innsbruck, Technikerstrasse 25, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.

Nitrofurans belong to the class of drugs typically used as antibiotics or antimicrobials. The defining structural component is a furan ring with a nitro group attached. In the present investigation, electron attachment to 2-nitrofuran (CHNO), which is considered as a potential radiosensitizer candidate for application in radiotherapy, has been studied in a crossed electron-molecular beams experiment. The present results indicate that low-energy electrons with kinetic energies of about 0-12 eV effectively decompose the molecule. In total, twelve fragment anions were detected within the detection limit of the apparatus, as well as the parent anion of 2-nitrofuran. One major resonance region of ≈0-5 eV is observed in which the most abundant anions NO, CHO, and CHNO are detected. The experimental results are supported by ab initio calculations of electronic states in the resulting anion, thermochemical thresholds, connectivity between electronic states of the anion, and reactivity analysis in the hot ground state.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21238906DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7727711PMC
November 2020

Karachi Cancer Registry (KCR): Age-Standardized Incidence Rate by Age-Group and Gender in a Mega City of Pakistan.

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 2020 Nov 1;21(11):3251-3258. Epub 2020 Nov 1.

Pakistan Health Research Council Research Centre, Karachi, Pakistan.

Objectives: To estimate the cancer incidence by age group and gender for the population of Karachi Division by analyzing the Karachi Cancer Registry data of 2017-19.

Settings: The population of Karachi division is 16.1 million according to national census 2017. 'Karachi Cancer Registry' which is a part of 'National Cancer Registry' is collecting data from eight major hospitals in Karachi since 2017. For outcome measures, cancer counts and the age standardized incidence rates (ASIR) per 100,000 population were computed for age groups (0-14, 15-19 and ≥20 years), in both genders and all cancer site/type.

Methods: The population denominators were based on the population of Karachi division estimated at 16.1 million in the population census, 2017. Counts and age-standardized incidence rates (ASIR) were calculated for each of the three age categories.

Results: From Jan 2017 till Dec 2019 a total of 33,309 malignant cases were recorded in KCR database comprising 17,490 (52.5%) females and 15,819 (47.5%) males. ASIRs in age groups 0-14, 15-19 and ≥ 20 years, among female were 11.5, 2.4 and 223.6 and in males were 17.6, 3.2 and 216.7 respectively. The commonest diagnosis in children, adolescent and adults were (1) among females: children; bone (3.12),  leukemia (2.09) brain/CNS (1.26); in adolescents: bone (0.78), brain/CNS (0.27), connective and soft tissue (0.11), in adults: breast cancer (76.07), oral cancer (16.68) and ovary (10.89) respectively, and (2) among males: children; bone (4.56),  leukemia (2.79) and brain/CNS (1.88); in adolescent; bone (1.19), brain/CNS (0.31) and leukemia (0.21) and in adults: oral cancer (42.83), liver (16.10) and bone (13.37) respectively.

Conclusion: Oral Cancer, a largely preventable cancer is the leading cancer in Karachi adult males while in female adults Breast Cancer is the leading cancer followed by Oral Cancer. In children and adolescents Bone, Leukemia and Brain/CNS malignancies are most common.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.31557/APJCP.2020.21.11.3251DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8033128PMC
November 2020

First Report on Molecular Characterization of Isolates From Sheep and Goats in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Front Vet Sci 2020 10;7:594599. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, National Professional Laboratory for Animal Echinococcosis, Key Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou, China.

is the larval stage of commonly found in the brain (cerebral form), intramuscular and subcutaneous tissues (non-cerebral form) of ungulates. Globally, few reports exist on the molecular characterization and genetic diversity of . with none available for Pakistan. The current study molecularly characterized 12 . isolates surgically recovered from sheep ( = 4) and goats ( = 8) from a total of 3,040 small ruminants using a portion of the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (1) mitochondrial () gene. NCBI BLAST search confirmed the identity of each isolate. A high haplotype and a low nucleotide diversity with three haplotypes from the 12 isolates were observed. The findings suggest the existence of unique haplotypes of in Pakistan. The negative value of Tajima's and the positive value of Fu's Fs were inconsistent with population expansion, however, the sample size was small. Bayesian phylogeny revealed that all Pakistani isolates alongside the Chinese sequences (obtained from GenBank) constituted a cluster while sequences from other regions constituted another cluster. This is the first molecular study to determine the genetic diversity of . in Pakistan and serves as a foundation for prospective studies on the prevalence and population structure of in the country. Furthermore, in this study, we amplified only a partial segment of the 1 gene from a limited sample size. This could have implications on the interpretation of the actual population structure in reality. Thus, we recommend future studies to consider a larger sample size in a massive epidemiological survey for further insights.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.594599DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7683608PMC
November 2020

Evaluating the Contribution of Growth, Physiological, and Ionic Components Towards Salinity and Drought Stress Tolerance in .

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

National Engineering Laboratory for Improving Quality of Arable Land, Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China.

Salinity and drought stress, singly or in combination, are major environmental menaces. L. is a biodiesel plant that can tolerate long periods of drought. However, the growth performance and stress tolerance based on physical, chemical, and physiological attributes of this plant have not yet been studied. To address this question, seedlings were grown in a completely randomized design in plastic pots filled with soil to evaluate the effects of salinity and drought stresses on growth, ionic composition, and physiological attributes. The experiment consisted of six treatments: control (without salinity and drought stress), salinity alone (7.5 dS m, 15 dS m), drought, and a combination of salinity and drought (7.5 dS m+ Drought, 15 dS m+Drought). Our results revealed that, compared with the control, both plant height (PH) and stem diameter (SD) were reduced by (83%, 80%, and 77%) and (69%, 56%, and 55%) under salinity and drought combination (15 dS m+Drought) after three, six, and nine months, respectively. There was 93% more leaf Na found in plants treated with 15 dS m+Drought compared with the control. The highest significant average membrane stability index (MSI) and relative water content (RWC) values (81% and 85%, respectively) were found in the control. The MSI and RWC were not influenced by 7.5 dS m and drought treatments and mostly contributed towards stress tolerance. Our findings imply that is moderately tolerant to salinity and drought. The Na toxicity and disturbance in K: Na ratio were the main contributing factors for limited growth and physiological attributes in this plant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants9111574DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7696781PMC
November 2020

Does ecological footprint matter for the shape of the environmental Kuznets curve? Evidence from European countries.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Mar 14;28(11):13634-13648. Epub 2020 Nov 14.

University of Montpellier, Montpellier Research in Economics, 34960, Montpellier, France.

The study empirically examines the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypotheses by investigating the relationship between ecological footprint, economic growth, energy consumption, and population growth. The study uses ecological footprint as a measurement of environmental degradation which is a more comprehensive indicator and considers all factors responsible for environmental degradation. Keeping in view the problem of cross-sectional dependence, a more efficient estimation tools like pooled mean group and augmented mean group have been used to estimate the long-run parameters for 22 European countries from 1995 through 2015. Results of the study found a quadratic relationship between income growth and ecological footprint and support validity of EKC. Energy consumption positively contributes to ecological footprint, while population growth plays no significant role in determining environmental quality. The long-run estimates of the study are validated through robustness analysis by employing dynamic ordinary least square (DOLS) and fully modified ordinary least square (FMOLS) techniques. Dumitrescu and Hurlin (2012) panel non-causality test indicated that there is a unidirectional causality running from GDP to ecological footprint while bidirectional causality running between energy consumption and ecological footprint. The study identified that population growth in European region is not a severe issue as compared to intensive energy consumption. Policies which restrict emission, deforestation, and water pollution should be adopted for sustainability of environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-11517-1DOI Listing
March 2021

Revisiting Brucellosis in Small Ruminants of Western Border Areas in Pakistan.

Pathogens 2020 Nov 10;9(11). Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Institute of Bacterial Infections and Zoonoses, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, 07743 Jena, Germany.

Brucellosis, globally known bacterial zoonosis, is endemic to Pakistan. in bovines, in small ruminants and in dogs mainly cause this disease. A total of 1821 sera (1196 from sheep and 625 from goats) from animal herds near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border were collected. In parallel testing of sera for anti- antibodies ( and ) was carried out by RBPT and indirect ELISA. The presence of DNA in sera was tested by real-time PCR. The overall percentage of seropositive samples was 0.99 (18/1821) by both tests. All positive samples originated from Baluchistan territory which translated into 1.76% (18/1021). None of the positive sera had signals for DNA and none of sera from goats carried detectable antibodies. Both tests showed an almost perfect agreement with Kappa statistics. The flock size was found to be associated with the presence of anti- antibodies. The samples of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) tested negative in both serological tests and hence were not processed for real-time PCR. The present study shows the presence of anti- antibodies in sheep in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan. Diagnostic services need to be improved and test and slaughter policies might be implemented for eradication of infection in these areas. Awareness about the infection is needed at the farmer's level. Isolation and molecular biology of the isolates could help with understanding the prevailing etiology in a better way.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9110929DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7697571PMC
November 2020
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