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  1. Abstract SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domains (RBDs) interact with both the ACE2 receptor and heparan sulfate on the surface of host cells to enhance SARS-CoV-2 infection. We show that suramin, a polysulfated synthetic drug, binds to the ACE2 receptor and heparan sulfate binding sites on the RBDs of wild-type, Delta, and Omicron variants. Specifically, heparan sulfate and suramin had enhanced preferential binding for Omicron RBD, and suramin is most potent against the live SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) when compared to wild type and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants in vitro. These results suggest that inhibition of live virus infection occurs through dual SARS-CoV-2 targets of S-protein binding and previously reported RNA-dependent RNA polymerase inhibition and offers the possibility for this and other polysulfated molecules to be used as potential therapeutic and prophylactic options against COVID-19. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Most vector control activities in urban areas are focused on household environments; however, information relating to infection risks in spaces other than households is poor, and the relative risk that these spaces represent has not yet been fully understood. We used data-driven simulations to investigate the importance of household and non-household environments for dengue entomological risk in two Kenyan cities where dengue circulation has been reported. Fieldwork was performed using four strategies that targeted different stages of mosquitoes: ovitraps, larval collections, Prokopack aspiration, and BG-sentinel traps. Data were analyzed separately between household and non-household environments to assess mosquito presence, the number of vectors collected, and the risk factors for vector presence. With these data, we simulated vector and human populations to estimate the parameter m and mosquito-to-human density in both household and non-household environments. Among the analyzed variables, the main difference was found in mosquito abundance, which was consistently higher in non-household environments in Kisumu but was similar in Ukunda. Risk factor analysis suggests that small, clean water-related containers serve as mosquito breeding places in households as opposed to the trash- and rainfall-related containers found in non-household structures. We found that the density of vectors (m) was higher in non-household than household environments in Kisumu and was also similar or slightly lower between both environments in Ukunda. These results suggest that because vectors are abundant, there is a potential risk of transmission in non-household environments; hence, vector control activities should take these spaces into account. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  5. Abstract

    Objective.Extracting signals directly from the motor system poses challenges in obtaining both high amplitude and sustainable signals for upper-limb neuroprosthetic control. To translate neural interfaces into the clinical space, these interfaces must provide consistent signals and prosthetic performance.Approach.Previously, we have demonstrated that the Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interface (RPNI) is a biologically stable, bioamplifier of efferent motor action potentials. Here, we assessed the signal reliability from electrodes surgically implanted in RPNIs and residual innervated muscles in humans for long-term prosthetic control.Main results.RPNI signal quality, measured as signal-to-noise ratio, remained greater than 15 for up to 276 and 1054 d in participant 1 (P1), and participant 2 (P2), respectively. Electromyography from both RPNIs and residual muscles was used to decode finger and grasp movements. Though signal amplitude varied between sessions, P2 maintained real-time prosthetic performance above 94% accuracy for 604 d without recalibration. Additionally, P2 completed a real-world multi-sequence coffee task with 99% accuracy for 611 d without recalibration.Significance.This study demonstrates the potential of RPNIs and implanted EMG electrodes as a long-term interface for enhanced prosthetic control.

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  6. Abstract We present the discovery of a new optical/X-ray source likely associated with the Fermi γ -ray source 4FGL J1408.6–2917. Its high-amplitude periodic optical variability, large spectroscopic radial-velocity semiamplitude, evidence for optical emission lines and flaring, and X-ray properties together imply the source is probably a new black widow millisecond pulsar binary. We compile the properties of the 41 confirmed and suspected field black widows, finding a median secondary mass of 0.027 ± 0.003 M ⊙ . Considered jointly with the more massive redback millisecond pulsar binaries, we find that the “spider” companion mass distribution remains strongly bimodal, with essentially zero systems having companion masses of between ∼0.07 and 0.1 M ⊙ . X-ray emission from black widows is typically softer and less luminous than in redbacks, consistent with less efficient particle acceleration in the intrabinary shock in black widows, excepting a few systems that appear to have more efficient “redback-like” shocks. Together black widows and redbacks dominate the census of the fastest spinning field millisecond pulsars in binaries with known companion types, making up ≳80% of systems with P spin < 2 ms. Similar to redbacks, the neutron star masses in black widows appear on average significantly larger than the canonical 1.4 M ⊙ , and many of the highest-mass neutron stars claimed to date are black widows with M NS ≳ 2.1 M ⊙ . Both of these observations are consistent with an evolutionary picture where spider millisecond pulsars emerge from short orbital period progenitors that had a lengthy period of mass transfer initiated while the companion was on the main sequence, leading to fast spins and high masses. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  7. Abstract Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is considered a critical threat to public health, and genomic/metagenomic investigations featuring high-throughput analysis of sequence data are increasingly common and important. We previously introduced MEGARes, a comprehensive AMR database with an acyclic hierarchical annotation structure that facilitates high-throughput computational analysis, as well as AMR++, a customized bioinformatic pipeline specifically designed to use MEGARes in high-throughput analysis for characterizing AMR genes (ARGs) in metagenomic sequence data. Here, we present MEGARes v3.0, a comprehensive database of published ARG sequences for antimicrobial drugs, biocides, and metals, and AMR++ v3.0, an update to our customized bioinformatic pipeline for high-throughput analysis of metagenomic data (available at Database annotations have been expanded to include information regarding specific genomic locations for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertions and/or deletions (indels) when required by specific ARGs for resistance expression, and the updated AMR++ pipeline uses this information to check for presence of resistance-conferring genetic variants in metagenomic sequenced reads. This new information encompasses 337 ARGs, whose resistance-conferring variants could not previously be confirmed in such a manner. In MEGARes 3.0, the nodes of the acyclic hierarchical ontology include 4 antimicrobial compound types, 59 resistance classes, 233 mechanisms and 1448 gene groups that classify the 8733 accessions. 
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