Latest Research

Perspective  |  2020-10-19

The Scientific Foundation of Chinese Herbal Medicine against COVID-19

The recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak has caused a serious global health emergency. Supporting evidence shows that COVID-19 shares a genomic similarity with other coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome  coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and that the pathogenesis and treatment strategies that were applied 17 years ago in combating SARS-CoV and other viral infections could be taken as references in today’s antiviral battle. According to the clinical pathological features of COVID-19 patients, patients can suffer from five steps of progression, starting with severe viral infection and suppression of the immune system and eventually progressing to cytokine storm, multi-organ damage, and lung fibrosis, which is the cause of mortality. Therefore, early prevention of disease progression is important. However, no specific effective drugs and vaccination are currently available, and the World Health Organization is urging the development of novel prevention and treatment strategies. Traditional Chinese medicine could be used as an alternative treatment option or in combination with Western medicine to treat COVID-19, due to its basis on historical experience and holistic pharmacological action. Here, we summarize the potential uses and therapeutic mechanisms of Chinese herbal formulas (CHFs) from the reported literature, along with patent drugs that have been recommended by institutions at the national and provincial levels in China, in order to verify their scientific foundations for treating COVID-19. In perspective, more basic and clinical studies with multiple high-tech and translational technologies are suggested to further confirm the therapeutic efficacies of CHFs.

Elaine Lai-Han Leung ,   Hu-Dan Pan   et al.

Article  |  2020-10-19

Efficacy and Safety of Triazavirin Therapy for Coronavirus Disease 2019: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

No therapeutics have been proven effective yet for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). To assess the efficacy and safety of Triazavirin therapy for COVID-19, we conducted a randomized, double-blinded controlled trial involving hospitalized adult patients with COVID-19. Participants were enrolled from ten sites, and were randomized into two arms of the study with a ratio of 1:1. Patients were treated with Triazavirin 250 mg versus a placebo three or four times a day for 7 d. The primary outcome was set as the time to clinical improvement, defined as normalization of body temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, cough, and absorption of pulmonary infection by chest computed tomography (CT) until 28 d after randomization. Secondary outcomes included individual components of the primary outcome, the mean time and proportion of inflammatory absorption in the lung, and the conversion rate to a repeated negative SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test of throat swab sampling. Concomitant therapeutic treatments, adverse events, and serious adverse events were recorded. Our study was halted after the recruitment of 52 patients, since the number of new infections in the participating hospitals decreased greatly. We randomized 52 patients for treatment with Triazavirin (n = 26) or a placebo (n = 26). We found no differences in the time to clinical improvement (median, 7 d versus 12 d; risk ratio (RR), 2.0; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.7–5.6; p = 0.2), with clinical improvement occurring in ten patients in the Triazavirin group and six patients in the placebo group (38.5% versus 23.1%; RR, 2.1; 95% CI, 0.6–7.0; p = 0.2). All components of the primary outcome normalized within 28 d, with the exception of absorption of pulmonary infection (Triazavirin 50.0%, placebo 26.1%). Patients in the Triazavirin group used less frequent concomitant therapies for respiratory, cardiac, renal, hepatic, or coagulation supports. Although no statistically significant evidence was found to indicate that Triazavirin benefits COVID-19 patients, our observations indicated possible benefits from its use to treat COVID-19 due to its antiviral effects. Further study is required for confirmation.

Xiaoke Wu ,   Kaijiang Yu   et al.

Article  |  2020-10-13

Development Strategies for China’s Advanced Magnesium Alloy Industry Toward 2035

In this paper, we introduce the development status of China’s magnesium alloy material industry, analyze the main problems faced by its development in China and abroad, and prospect the future market demand in China for magnesium alloy materials such as high-performance rare earth–magnesium alloys with lightweight structures, magnesium alloys with high strength and high thermal conductivity, magnesium alloys with high strength and high electrical conductivity, and ultra-high-strength magnesium alloys.We also present a phased development plan for the industry toward 2030 and 2035 and propose relevant strategies for promoting the sustainable development of this industry in China. These strategies include promotion of independent innovation capabilities, optimization in resource allocation, strengthening of corporate cooperation, establishment of a complete research system for magnesium alloy materials, and improvement in platform construction. To satisfy the demand for the advanced magnesium alloy materials by national economy, national major projects, and social sustainable development, China should optimize its scientific research system, optimize the industrial development pattern, create high-quality and efficient industries, improve relevant policy systems, and build a sophisticatedtalent system.

Li Fang ,   Guan Renguo   et al.

Article  |  2020-10-13

Development and Prospect of High Performance Polymer Composites in China

High performance polymer composites have become an indispensable strategic material for national defense and economic development due to their excellent comprehensive properties. They have broad prospects for development since they have been widely applied in various fields such as aerospace, wind power generation, rail transit, and automobile. The macro development demand of China for high performance polymer composites is analyzed in this paper. The current status and characteristics of fiber reinforcement such as carbon fiber, aramid fiber, and high performance glass fiber as well as polymer resin matrix materials such as epoxy, phenolicresin, and special resin is reviewed. The existing problems and developing objective are also proposed. Specifically, an industrialization system including key technology research and engineering application for the carbon fiber has been established, allowing the carbon fiber industry to develop toward high performance and low cost. The industrial production of para-aramid fiber is preliminarily realized and the glass fiber industry has maintained a stable growth. However, the resin matrix materials for high performance polymer composites face a severe situation. Furthermore, suggestions are proposed based on the demand of development from the viewpoint of independent innovation, demand orientation, construction of industrial chain, personnel training, and industrial innovation, hoping to provide an effective reference for the development of high performance polymer composites in China.

Cao Weiyu ,   Yang Xueping   et al.

Article  |  2020-10-13

Development Strategies for China's Advanced Fiber Materials Industry

China’s chemical fiber volume ranks first in the world and is a pillar industry of the national economy. However, there are still prominent problems regarding the development of the chemical fiber industry and promoting the advanced fundamental fiber materials has become the key to the high-quality development of the chemical fiber and textile industries. This study focuses on three types of advanced fiber materials: differential fiber, high-performance fiber, and bio-based fiber. The status, challenges, and development trends of the advanced fiber materials in China are analyzed. On this basis, the key tasks for the future development of the advanced fiber materials are summarized, including developing key technologies to form representative products, improving the intelligent manufacturing level, strengthening the independent innovation capacity, and enhancing the training of scientific and technological talents. This study also proposes development suggestions from the aspects of industrial development strategy, scientific and technological innovation system, the role of science and technology, internationalization of key enterprises, and coordinated development, hoping to provide a theoretical reference for the high-quality development of China’s fiber materials industry.

Qu Ximing ,   Wang Ying   et al.

Article  |  2020-10-13

Development Strategies for New Energy Materials in China

New energy materials are an important element for the strategic emerging industries and they are also important concerning economic and social development as well as national security. In this paper, we summarize the development status of the key materials for lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells in China and abroad and analyze the problems of China’s new energy materials industry,which include shortage of original innovation, insecure industry chain of key strategic materials, low self-sufficiency rate of high end products, insufficient self-supply of high-end applications, and lack of platforms for collaboration among production, education,research, and application. The development trends of the key materials industry are also prospected. In view of the development requirements by 2025 and 2035, we expound the development ideas for the new energy materials regarding the lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells and elaborate the development goals and key tasks. To achieve leapfrog development, China should improve top-level planning and enhance its support policies for innovation-driven development to foster competitive enterprises. It also should establish a production and application demonstration platform and strengthen talent training.

Huang Xuejie ,   Zhao Wenwu   et al.