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   Table of Contents - Current issue
November 2020
Volume 13 | Issue 11
Page Nos. 477-524

Online since Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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Convalescent plasma: A potential therapeutic option for COVID-19 patients p. 477
Swee Li Ng, Tsuey Ning Soon, Wei Hsum Yap, Kai Bin Liew, Ya Chee Lim, Long Chiau Ming, Yin-Quan Tang, Bey Hing Goh
The new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has challenged us to take unprecedented steps to bring this pandemic under control. In view of the urgency of this situation, convalescent plasma which was used in previous coronavirus outbreaks has emerged as one of the treatment options in this current pandemic. This is mainly due to the fact that convalescent plasma has been studied in a few case series with promising outcomes. In addition, on-going large clinical trials aimed to further evaluate the effectiveness, safety, and optimal dosage, duration and timing of administration of convalescent plasma are indeed revealing a certain level of promising results. Therefore, this article aims to provide an overview of possible mechanisms of actions of convalescent plasma, its benefits and its level of usage safeness by summarizing the existing evidence on the use of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients.
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Clinical outcomes of patients with chronic hepatitis C after generic direct-acting antiviral treatments in Vietnam: A retrospective analysis p. 487
Huong T T Vu, Azumi Ishizaki, Quynh T Nguyen, Huyen N Nguyen, Hoi T Le, Kinh V Nguyen, Hiroshi Ichimura
Objective: To evaluate the outcomes of generic direct-acting antiviral treatments for chronic hepatitis C in Vietnam. Methods: The medical records of 522 patients (median 45 years; Female, 25.3%) with chronic hepatitis C treated at a tertiary hospital in northern Vietnam in 2016 were retrospectively reviewed. Results: Female patients were significantly older than male patients (median 52, IQR 41-59 vs. 43 years, IQR: 39-55; P<0.001). Among 522 patients, 49.4% were infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 6, followed by 1a (19.0%), 1b (13.0%), and 3 (5.9%). Co-infection with hepatitis B virus or human immunodeficiency virus was noted in 5.8% and 3.1% of patients, respectively. Patients were treated with ledipasvir/sofosbuvir with or without ribavirin (70.9%), sofosbuvir/pegylated-interferon + ribavirin (13.2%), daclatasvir/ sofosbuvir with or without ribavirin (12.5%), or sofosbuvir/ribavirin (3.4%), and 96.4% (n=503) completed the direct-acting antiviral treatment. No patient discontinued treatment due to adverse event(s). A sustained virologic response 12 weeks after the end of the treatment (SVR12) was evaluated in 62.6% of patients. Overall sustained virologic response 12 weeks after the end of the treatment was 98.7% regardless of HCV genotypes or direct-acting antiviral regimens. The severity of liver stiffness was significantly decreased from 10.2 to 6.3 kilopascals measured by transient elastography by the treatment (P<0.001). Among patients who completed the direct-acting antiviral treatment, 17.7% returned for further follow-ups after SVR12. Conclusions: In Vietnam, the current generic direct-acting antiviral treatment for chronic hepatitis C was effective regardless of HCV genotypes and direct-acting antiviral regimens with the attenuation of liver stiffness. It is feasible to implement direct-acting antiviral treatment to cure chronic hepatitis C patients at any liver fibrosis stages in Vietnam.
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Phytochemical profiling and biological activity of Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) mediated by various solvent extracts against Aedes aegypti larvae and toxicity evaluation p. 494
Deepak Paramasivam, Balamuralikrishnan Balasubramanian, Sungkwon Park, Palanisamy Alagappan, Tanushri Kaul, Wenchao Liu, Perumal Pachiappan
Objective: To analyze the phytochemical compounds and to investigate the bio-toxic efficacy of various solvent extracts of Plectranthus amboinicus against mosquito larvae activity and lethality on non-targeting organisms. Methods: The methanol, ethyl acetate, hexane, and aqueous extracts of Plectranthus amboinicus were subjected to analyze the mosquitocidal activity against the dengue vector, Aedes aegypti and toxicity assays on zebra fish and brine shrimp. Three replications were performed, and negative control was also maintained. Amongst, ethyl acetate extract of Plectranthus amboinicus was chosen for the determination of bio-active compounds. Results: The mosquitocidal assays of methanol and ethyl acetate extracts of Plectranthus amboinicus showed the maximal activity with minimal concentration against the 4th instar mosquito-larvae of Aedes aegypti through the following lethal concentration (LC50 and LC90) values: 53.36 & 92.51 μg/mL and 13.64 & 86.09 μg/mL, respectively. In addition, the plant extracts showed no toxicity on zebra fish embryo and brine shrimp assays. The gas-chromatography analysis of the ethyl acetate extract of Plectranthus amboinicus revealed the presence of seven different compounds. Among them, PAEA-fraction 60 contained a major active bioactive compound, hexadecanoic acid, methyl ester (270.0). Conclusions: Plectranthus amboinicus possesses mosquitocidal properties and could be used as a potential alternative source for preparing the mosquitocidal agents.
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Effect of climate change on spatial distribution of scorpions of significant public health importance in Iran p. 503
Javad Rafinejad, Mehran Shahi, Shahrokh Navidpour, Elham Jahanifard, Ahmad Ali Hanafi-Bojd
Objective: To establish a spatial geo-database for scorpions in Iran, and to identify the suitable ecological niches for the most dangerous scorpion species under different climate change scenarios. Methods: The spatial distribution of six poisonous scorpion species of Iran were modeled: Hemiscorpius lepturus, Androctonus crassicauda, Mesobuthus eupeus, Hottentotta saulcyi, Hottentotta zagrosensis, and Odontobuthus (O.) doriae, under RCP2.6 and RCP8.5 climate change scenarios. The MaxEnt ecological niche model was used to predict climate suitability for these scorpion species in the 2030s and 2050s, and the data were compared with environmental suitability under the current bioclimatic data. Results: A total of 73 species and subspecies of scorpions belonging to 19 genera in Iran were recorded. Khuzestan Province has the highest species diversity with 34 species and subspecies. The most poisonous scorpion species of Iran are scattered in the semi-arid climates, at an altitudinal range between 11 m and 2 954 m above sea level. It is projected that O. doriae, Androctonus crassicauda and Mesobuthus eupeus species would be widely distributed in most parts of the country, whereas the most suitable ecological niches for the other species would be limited to the west and/or southwestern part of Iran. Conclusions: Although the environmental suitability for all the species would change under the two climate change scenarios, the change would be more significant for O. doriae under RCP8.5 in the 2050s. These findings can be used as basis for future studies in the areas with the highest environmental suitability for the most dangerous scorpion species to fill the gaps in the ecology of scorpion species in these areas.
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Genetic variation and phylogenetic relationship of Hypoderaeum conoideum (Bloch, 1782) Dietz, 1909 (Trematoda: Echinostomatidae) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences p. 515
Chairat Tantrawatpan, Weerachai Saijuntha
Objective: To explore genetic variations of Hypoderaeum conoideum collected from domestic ducks from 12 different localities in Thailand and Lao PDR, as well as their phylogenetic relationship with American and European isolates. Methods: The nucleotide sequences of their nuclear ribosomal DNA (ITS), mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1), and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (ND1) were used to analyze genetic diversity indices. Results: We found relatively high levels of nucleotide polymorphism in ND1 (4.02%), whereas moderate and low levels were observed in CO1 (2.11%) and ITS (0.96%), respectively. Based on these polymorphisms, the 20 ND1, 12 CO1, and 18 ITS haplotypes were classified, and several common haplotypes were observed in all samples. At least three major lineages, namely American, European and Asian lineages, have been classified by phylogenetic analyses based on ND1 sequences. Conclusions: Our report demonstrates that the ND1 gene is the most suitable genetic marker to explore genetic variation and phylogenetic relationship of Hypoderaeum conoideum. However, a combination of all loci for ND1, CO1 and ITS would be of great value toward further genetic investigation of this endemic worldwide parasite. Thus, comprehensive molecular genetic analyses of Hypoderaeum conoideum from its worldwide distribution is needed to further understanding of the evolutionary and systematic relationships of this parasite.
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ARIMA models forecasting the SARS-COV-2 in the Islamic Republic of Iran p. 521
Nayereh Esmaeilzadeh, Mohammadtaghi Shakeri, Mostafa Esmaeilzadeh, Vahid Rahmanian
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