Medical mycology and fungal immunology: new research perspectives addressing a major world health challenge

Fungi cause more than a billion skin infections, more than 100 million mucosal infections, 10 million serious allergies and more than a million deaths each year. Global mortality owing to fungal infections is greater than for malaria and breast cancer and is equivalent to that owing to tuberculosis (TB) and HIV.

These statistics evidence fungal infections as a major threat to human health and a major burden to healthcare budgets worldwide.

Those patients who are at greatest risk of life-threatening fungal infections include those who have weakened immunity or have suffered trauma or other predisposing infections such as HIV.

To address these global threats to human health, more research is urgently needed to understand the immunopathology of fungal disease and human disease susceptibility in order to augment the advances being made in fungal diagnostics and drug development.

Here, we highlight some recent advances in basic research in medical mycology and fungal immunology that are beginning to inform clinical decisions and options for personalized medicine, vaccine development and adjunct immunotherapies.This article is part of the themed issue ‘Tackling emerging fungal threats to animal health, food security and ecosystem resilience’.

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Description: Disposable Plastic; Plastic Containers