Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to the COVID-19 pandemic. After over 160 million cases and 3.3 million deaths worldwide as of May 2021, it is still unclear when this crisis will end. Thus, there is an urgent need for treatments that improve the prognosis of seriously affected patients. Multiple viruses including HIV, MERS-CoV (coronavirus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, MERS), SARS-CoV (coronavirus responsible for SARS) and SARS-CoV-2 use a mechanism known as -1 programmed ribosomal frameshifting (-1 PRF) to successfully replicate. SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 possess a unique RNA pseudoknotted structure that stimulates -1 PRF. Recent experiments identified small molecules as antiviral agents that can bind to the pseudoknot and disrupt its stimulation of -1 PRF. Targeting -1 PRF in SARS-CoV-2 can be an excellent strategy to impair viral replication and improve patients’ prognoses. Crucial to developing these successful therapies is modeling the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 -1 PRF pseudoknot. Following a structural alignment approach, we identify similarities in -1 PRF pseudoknots of SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV. In addition, we provide a better understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 -1 PRF pseudoknot by investigating the structural landscape using a hierarchical folding approach. We provide in-depth analysis on alternative structure prediction methods based on SARS-CoV-2 structural reactivity (SHAPE) data to contextualize and motivate future RNA structure-function research. Since understanding the impact of mutations is vital to long-term success of treatments based on predicted RNA functional structures, we provide insight on SARS-CoV-2 -1 PRF pseudoknot sequence mutations and their effect on the resulting structure.
Disease outbreaks in U.S. animal livestock industries have economic impacts measured in hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Biosecurity, or procedures intended to protect animals against disease, is known to be effective at reducing infection risk at facilities. Yet, to the detriment of animal health, humans do not always follow biosecurity protocols. Human behavioral factors have been shown to influence willingness to follow biosecurity protocols. Here we show how social cues may affect cooperation with a biosecurity practice. Participants were immersed in a simulated swine production facility through a graphical user interface and prompted to make a decision that addressed their willingness to comply with a biosecurity practice. We tested the effect of varying three experimental variables: (1) the risk of acquiring an infection, (2) the delivery method of the infection risk information (numerical vs. graphical), and (3) the behavior of an automated coworker in the facility. We provide evidence that participants changed their behavior when they observed a simulated worker making a choice to follow or not follow a biosecurity protocol, even though the simulated worker had no economic effect on the participants' payouts. These results advance the understanding of human behavioral effects on biosecurity protocol decisions, demonstrating that social cues need to be considered by livestock facility managers when developing policies to make agricultural systems more disease resilient.
DOI : 10.3389/fvets.2020.00130 Anahtar Kelimeler :
biosecurity, compliance, social cue, psychological distance
ISSN: 2297-1769 Cilt: 7
Hog producers' operational decisions can be informed by an awareness of risks associated with emergent and endemic diseases. Outbreaks of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) have been re-occurring every year since the first onset in 2013 with substantial losses across the hog production supply chain. Interestingly, a decreasing trend in PEDv incidence is visible. We assert that changes in human behaviors may underlie this trend. Disease prevention using biosecurity practices is used to minimize risk of infection but its efficacy is conditional on human behavior and risk attitude. Standard epidemiological models bring important insights into disease dynamics but have limited predictive ability. Since research shows that human behavior plays a driving role in the disease spread process, the explicit inclusion of human behavior into models adds an important dimension to understanding disease spread. Here we analyze PEDv incidence emerging from an agent-based model (ABM) that uses both epidemiological dynamics and algorithms that incorporate heterogeneous human decisions. We investigate the effects of shifting fractions of hog producers between risk tolerant and risk averse positions. These shifts affect the dynamics describing willingness to increase biosecurity as a response to disease threats and, indirectly, change infection probabilities and the resultant intensity and impact of the disease outbreak. Our ABM generates empirically verifiable patterns of PEDv transmission. Scenario results show that relatively small shifts (10% of the producer agents) toward a risk averse position can lead to a significant decrease in total incidence. For significantly steeper decreases in disease incidence, the model's hog producer population needed at least 37.5% of risk averse. Our study provides insight into the link between risk attitude, decisions related to biosecurity, and consequent spread of disease within a livestock production system. We suggest that it is possible to create positive, lasting changes in animal health by nudging the population of livestock producers toward more risk averse behaviors. We make a case for integrating social and epidemiological aspects in disease spread models to test intervention strategies intended to improve biosecurity and animal health at the system scale.
Failing to mitigate propagation of disease spread can result in dire economic consequences for agricultural networks. Pathogens like Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, can quickly spread among producers. Biosecurity is designed to prevent infection transmission. When considering biosecurity investments, management must balance the cost of protection versus the consequences of contracting an infection. Thus, an examination of the decision making processes associated with investment in biosecurity is important for enhancing system wide biosecurity. Data gathered from experimental gaming simulations can provide insights into behavioral strategies and inform the development of decision support systems. We created an online digital experiment to simulate outbreak scenarios among swine production supply chains, where participants were tasked with making biosecurity investment decisions. In Experiment One, we quantified the risk associated with each participant's decisions and delineated three dominant categories of risk attitudes: risk averse, risk tolerant, and opportunistic. Each risk class exhibited unique approaches in reaction to risk and disease information. We also tested how information uncertainty affects risk aversion, by varying the amount of visibility of the infection as well as the amount of biosecurity implemented across the system. We found evidence that more visibility in the number of infected sites increases risk averse behaviors, while more visibility in the amount of neighboring biosecurity increased risk taking behaviors. In Experiment Two, we were surprised to find no evidence for differences in behavior of livestock specialists compared to Amazon Mechanical Turk participants. Our findings provide support for using experimental gaming simulations to study how risk communication affects behavior, which can provide insights towards more effective messaging strategies.
Disease in U.S. animal livestock industries annually costs over a billion dollars. Adoption and compliance with biosecurity practices is necessary to successfully reduce the risk of disease introduction or spread. Yet, a variety of human behaviors, such as the urge to minimize time costs, may induce non-compliance with biosecurity practices. Utilizing a “serious gaming” approach, we examine how information about infection risk impacts compliance with biosecurity practices. We sought to understand how simulated environments affected compliance behavior with treatments that varied using three factors: (1) the risk of acquiring an infection, (2) the delivery method of the infection risk message (numerical, linguistic and graphical), and (3) the certainty of the infection risk information. Here we show that compliance is influenced by message delivery methodology, with numeric, linguistic, and graphical messages showing increasing efficacy, respectively. Moreover, increased situational uncertainty and increased risk were correlated with increases in compliance behavior. These results provide insight toward developing messages that are more effective and provide tools that will allow managers of livestock facilities and policy makers to nudge behavior toward more disease resilient systems via greater compliance with biosecurity practices.
DOI : 10.3389/fvets.2019.00156 Anahtar Kelimeler :
biosecurity, compliance, uncertainty, graphical message, linguistic phrase
ISSN: 2297-1769 Cilt: 6