The level of resistance to treatments for fungal infections is continuously growing. This is a significant problem that might turn into a global one. Cancer patients are even more vulnerable because they cannot fight off the infections with their immune systems.
According to scientists, new treatments are needed immediately. Fungal infections are a real danger because they have some of the highest mortality rates. The team who discovered the high increase in resistance is an international one, which is led by researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Exeter.
Fungi are everywhere
Fungal infections appear everywhere, and that is because “There are fungi in the air all the time, in every lung-full of air we breathe,” according to Prof Matthew Fisher, professor of epidemiology at Imperial College London.
“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 then added. Fungal infections can be especially dangerous for the elderly, people with HIV, or patients in the hospital.
According to Sarah Gurr, the emerging resistance was not observed immediately. “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,” she explained.
Prof Gordon Brown, director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Medical Mycology also mentioned that the mortality rates for fungal infections are very high, more than 50%. “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,” he explained. There is also a rise of new multidrug-resistant fungi, including Candida auris.