Growing resistance to antifungal drugs ‘a global issue’

Latest news

    Candida aurisImage copyright Science Photo Library
    Image caption Candida auris is responsible for increasing invasive fungal infections in hospitals

    Scientists are warning that levels of resistance to treatments for fungal infections are growing, which could lead to more outbreaks of disease.

    Intensive-care and transplant patients and those with cancer are most at risk because their immune systems cannot fight off the infections.

    Writing in Science, researchers said new treatments were urgently needed.

    Fungal infections had some of the highest mortality rates of infectious diseases, an expert said.

    An international team, led by researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Exeter, found a huge increase in resistance to antifungal drugs worldwide over the past 30-40 years.

    Everywhere in the air

    Prof Matthew Fisher, professor of epidemiology at Imperial College London, said this was probably down to farmers spraying their affected crops with the same drugs used to treat fungal infections in patients.

    The “unintentional by-product of this ‘dual use’ of drugs in the field and the clinic” was that drugs were no longer working in patients who were unwell, he said.

    “There is fungi in the air all the time, in every lung-full of air we breathe,” Prof Fisher said.

    “Bodies with a fully functioning immune system do an amazing job of curing the infection – but it can become an invasive fungal infection in others and [this] needs a drug.”

    He said the number of people at risk from fungal infections was rising rapidly as a result of increased numbers:

    • people with HIV
    • the elderly
    • patients in hospital

    The review said improvements were needed in how existing drugs were used, as well as an increased focus on the discovery of new treatments, in order to avoid a “global collapse” in the fight against fungal infections.

    ‘Under the radar’

    Prof Sarah Gurr, from the University of Exeter, said: “Emerging resistance to antifungal drugs has largely gone under the radar, but without intervention, fungal conditions affecting humans, animals and plants will become increasingly difficult to counteract.”

    Prof Gordon Brown, director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Medical Mycology, said some antifungal infections had mortality rates of more than 50%.

    He said: “Given the high rates of mortality of these infections, these disturbing trends suggest that even our limited ability to treat these diseases is being severely compromised.

    “We are also seeing the rise of new multidrug-resistant fungal pathogens such as Candida auris, for which there are limited therapeutic options.”

    Candida auris is responsible for increasing rates of invasive fungal infections in hospitals around the world.

    The review said it was resistant to all antifungal drugs and “presents a threat to intensive-care units” because it could survive normal efforts at decontamination.

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-44160730

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-44160730

    In the same category are

    Universities: Is free speech under threat? Free speech is being threatened at British universities by a culture of offence among certain students, according to critics. A Parliamentary inquiry ...
    ‘One stroke took my speech away – I think another brought it back’ Peter lost his ability to speak after a stroke four years ago, at the age of 73. But earlier this year he woke up one morning and suddenly he could sp...
    Life on the Rock Image copyright Luke ArcherAs Brexit draws closer, Gibraltar's shared border with Spain is under scrutiny. Photographer Luke Archer has family living ...
    Somebody to love! How Rami Malek became Freddie Mercury Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Rami Malek studied hundreds of professional and amateur films of the musician to prepare for the roleEvery ...
    World’s longest sea crossing: Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge opens Image copyright Getty Images Image caption China has been working on the bridge since 2009Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the world...
    Street harassment ‘relentless’ for women and girls Image copyright Getty ImagesThe government is failing to address street harassment of women and young girls in the UK, a new report has said. The Wome...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.