Study gives new insights into fungal infections

study gives new insights into fungal infections – The News Mill

ANI Photo | Study gives new insights into fungal infections

Global fungal infections, which afflict one billion people and cause 1.5 million deaths each year, are on the rise as a result of the growing number of medicinal therapies that increase susceptibility.
Patients enduring chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapies following an organ transplant frequently have impaired immune systems.
Given the advent of resistance strains and the limited range of current antifungal medicines, as well as their cost and side effects, treating these infections is difficult, necessitating an urgent need for additional effective therapies.
In this context, a team led by ICREA researcher Dr. Toni Gabaldon has identified hundreds of genes subject to recent, clinically relevant selection in six species of the fungal pathogen Candida.
“This work highlights how these pathogens adapted to humans and antifungal drugs and provides valuable knowledge that could lead to better treatments for Candida infections,” explained Dr. Gabaldon, head of the Comparative Genomics lab at IRB Barcelona and the BSC.
The study delves into the evolutionary landscape of Candida pathogens by analyzing approximately 2,000 genomes from clinical samples of six major Candida species. These genomes are stored in public databases.
The researchers compared these genomes to a reference, creating a comprehensive catalog of genetic variants.
Building on previous work addressing drug-resistant strains, the researchers conducted a Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) to identify genetic variants linked to antifungal drug resistance in clinical isolates.
This approach provided insights into both known and novel mechanisms of resistance toward seven antifungal drugs in three Candida species.
“Additionally, a concerning finding has arisen from the study: the potential spread of resistance through mating between susceptible and resistant strains, contributing to the prevalence of drug-resistant Candida pathogens,” explained Dr. Miquel Angel Schikora-Tamarit, a postdoctoral researcher in the same lab and first author of the study. (ANI)

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