New treat­ment in sight for fun­gal in­fec­tions

Daily Trust - - HEALTH - By Olayemi John-Men­sah

Thou­sands of pa­tients suf­fer­ing from in­va­sive fun­gal in­fec­tions in in­ten­sive-care units or af­ter or­gan trans­plan­ta­tion will ben­e­fit from the lat­est in­sights into di­ag­nos­tic and ther­a­peu­tic in­ter­ven­tions.

Pub­lished in the pres­ti­gious jour­nal, The Lancet In­fec­tious Dis­eases, fun­gal in­fec­tions in­vad­ing the blood­stream, lungs or other or­gans can cause pro­longed ill­ness and in ex­treme cases can lead to per­ma­nent dis­abil­ity or even death.

Se­nior au­thor, Pro­fes­sor Ta­nia Sor­rell from the West­mead In­sti­tute for Med­i­cal Re­search and the Marie Bashir In­sti­tute for In­fec­tious Dis­eases and Bio-se­cu­rity, said that in­va­sive fun­gal in­fec­tions can have se­ri­ous con­se­quences for pa­tients and their fam­i­lies.

“These new in­sights into di­ag­nos­ing and treat­ing in­va­sive fun­gal in­fec­tions are sig­nif­i­cant be­cause early and cor­rect treat­ment clearly leads to bet­ter out­comes for the pa­tient,” said Pro­fes­sor Sor­rell “These in­fec­tions are un­com­mon but po­ten­tially lifethreat­en­ing. Blood in­fec­tions such as can­di­daemia and lung in­fec­tions such as as­pergillo­sis have high mor­tal­ity rates of up to 85% in crit­i­cally ill and im­mune-com­pro­mised pa­tients.”

He added that in­va­sive fun­gal in­fec­tions, over­all, are a ma­jor prob­lem in both de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing na­tions, killing more than 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple an­nu­ally. The cost to the global health­care sys­tem runs into bil­lions of dol­lars each year.

He also ex­plained that It will al­low clin­i­cians to tai­lor their ap­proach to manag­ing these in­fec­tions in dif­fer­ent coun­tries or when work­ing with spe­cific at-risk pop­u­la­tions.

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