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First-Ever List of Fungal Infections

  • 31 Oct 2022
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Fungal Infection, Fungal Priority Pathogen List, World Health Organization

For Mains: Concerns regarding Fungal Pathogen, Fungal Priority Pathogen List

Why in News?

Recently, The World Health Organisation released the first-ever list of fungal infections (Priority Pathogens) that can be a threat to public health.

What is WHO’s Fungal Priority Pathogen List?

  • About FPPL:
    • Fungal priority pathogens list (FPPL) includes 19 fungi that represent the greatest threat to human health.
    • The list takes precedence from the bacterial priority pathogens list, first established by WHO in 2017 with a similar focus to galvanise global attention and action.
  • Aim:
    • It aims to focus and drive further research and policy interventions to strengthen the global response to fungal infections and antifungal resistance.
  • Categories:
    • The classification is based on the pathogen’s public health impact or emerging antifungal resistance risk.
      • Critical Priority Group: It includes Candida auris, which is a highly drug-resistant fungi, Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Candida albicans.
      • High Priority Group: It includes a number of other fungi from the Candida family as well as others such as Mucorales, a group containing "black fungus", an infection which rose rapidly in seriously ill people, particularly in India, during Covid-19.
      • Medium Priority Group: It includes a number of other fungi, including Coccidioides spp and Cryptococcus gattii.
  • Recommended Actions by FPPL Report:
    • Strengthening laboratory capacity and surveillance.
    • Sustaining investments in research, development, and innovation.
    • Enhancing public health interventions for prevention and control.

What are the Rising Concerns related to Fungal Pathogens?

  • Concerns:
    • Fungal pathogens are a major threat to public health and are becoming increasingly common and resistant to treatment with only four classes of antifungal medicines currently available, and few candidates in the clinical pipeline.
    • Most fungal pathogens lack rapid and sensitive diagnostics and those that exist are not widely available or affordable globally.
    • Emerging evidence indicates that the incidence and geographic range of fungal diseases are both expanding worldwide due to global warming and the increase of international travel and trade.
    • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the reported incidence of invasive fungal infections increased significantly among hospitalized patients.
    • As the fungi that cause common infections (such as candida oral and vaginal thrush) become increasingly resistant to treatment, risks for the development of more invasive forms of infections in the general population are also growing.
  • Target Population:
    • These fungal infections often affect severely ill patients and those with significant underlying immune system related conditions.
    • Populations at greatest risk of invasive fungal infections include those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, chronic respiratory disease, and post-primary tuberculosis infection.

Source: IT

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