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  1. In this study, we describe reducing the moisture vapor transmission through a commercial polymer bag material using a silicon-incorporated diamond-like carbon (Si-DLC) coating that was deposited using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. The structure of the Si-DLC coating was analyzed using scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, selective area electron diffraction, and electron energy loss spectroscopy. Moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) testing was used to understand the moisture transmission barrier properties of Si-DLC-coated polymer bag material; the MVTR values decreased from 10.10 g/m2 24 h for the as-received polymer bag material to 6.31 g/m2 24 h for the Si-DLC-coated polymer bag material. Water stability tests were conducted to understand the resistance of the Si-DLC coatings toward moisture; the results confirmed the stability of Si-DLC coatings in contact with water up to 100 °C for 4 h. A peel-off adhesion test using scotch tape indicated that the good adhesion of the Si-DLC film to the substrate was preserved in contact with water up to 100 °C for 4 h. 
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  2. SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, is a new, highly pathogenic coronavirus, which is the third coronavirus to emerge in the past 2 decades and the first to become a global pandemic. The virus has demonstrated itself to be extremely transmissible and deadly. Recent data suggest that a targeted approach is key to mitigating infectivity. Due to the proliferation of cataloged protein and nucleic acid sequences in databases, the function of the nucleic acid, and genetic encoded proteins, we make predictions by simply aligning sequences and exploring their homology. Thus, similar amino acid sequences in a protein usually confer similar biochemical function, even from distal or unrelated organisms. To understand viral transmission and adhesion, it is key to elucidate the structural, surface, and functional properties of each viral protein. This is typically first modeled in highly pathogenic species by exploring folding, hydrophobicity, and isoelectric point (IEP). Recent evidence from viral RNA sequence modeling and protein crystals have been inadequate, which prevent full understanding of the IEP and other viral properties of SARS-CoV-2. We have thus experimentally determined the IEP of SARS-CoV-2. Our findings suggest that for enveloped viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, estimates of IEP by the amino acid sequence alone may be unreliable. We compared the experimental IEP of SARS-CoV-2 to variants of interest (VOIs) using their amino acid sequence, thus providing a qualitative comparison of the IEP of VOIs. 
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  3. Currently available point‐of‐care systems for body fluid collection exhibit poor integration with sensors. Herein, the design of a disposable device for interstitial fluid (ISF) extraction as well as glucose, lactate, and potassium ion (K+) monitoring is reported on. It is minimally invasive and appropriate for single use, minimizing the risk of infection to the user. This microscale device contains a 3D‐printed cap‐like structure with a four‐by‐four microneedle (MN) array, bioreceptor‐modified carbon fiber (CF)‐sensing surface, and negative pressure convection technology. These features are incorporated within a compact, self‐contained, and manually operated microscale device, which is capable of withdrawing ≈3.0 μL of ISF from the skin. MN arrays applied with an upward driving force may increase the ISF flow rate. Moreover, functionalized CF working electrodes (WE1, WE2, WE3) are shown to selectively detect lactate, glucose, and K+with high sensitivities of 0.258, 0.549, and 0.657 μA μm−1 cm−2and low detection limits of 0.01, 0.080, 0.05 μm, respectively. Ex vivo testing on porcine skin is used to detect the ISF levels of the biomarkers. The microscale device can be a replacement for current point‐of‐care diagnostic approaches.

     
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    Widespread vaccine coverage for viral diseases could save the lives of millions of people each year. For viral vaccines to be effective, they must be transported and stored in a narrow temperature range of 2–8 °C. If temperatures are not maintained, the vaccine may lose its potency and would no longer be effective in fighting disease; this is called the cold storage problem. Finding a way to thermally stabilize a virus and end the need to transport and store vaccines at refrigeration temperatures will increase access to life-saving vaccines. We explore the use of polymer-rich complex coacervates to stabilize viruses. We have developed a method of encapsulating virus particles in liquid complex coacervates that relies on the electrostatic interaction of viruses with polypeptides. In particular, we tested the incorporation of two model viruses; a non-enveloped porcine parvovirus (PPV) and an enveloped bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) into coacervates formed from poly(lysine) and poly(glutamate). We identified optimal conditions ( i.e. , the relative amount of the two polypeptides) for virus encapsulation, and trends in this composition matched differences in the isoelectric point of the two viruses. Furthermore, we were able to achieve a ∼10 3 –10 4 -fold concentration of virus into the coacervate phase, such that the level of virus remaining in the bulk solution approached our limit of detection. Lastly, we demonstrated a significant enhancement of the stability of non-enveloped PPV during an accelerated aging study at 60 °C over the course of a week. Our results suggest the potential for using coacervation to aid in the purification and formulation of both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses, and that coacervate-based formulations could help limit the need for cold storage throughout the transportation and storage of vaccines based on non-enveloped viruses. 
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