Research Highlights

Anti-fungals losing ground against fungal infections in hospitals

Published online 15 November 2023

There is an alarming increase in life-threatening bloodstream infections caused by a drug-resistant fungus among cancer patients in Egypt.

Somewhere between one third and one half of hospitalized patients who are infected by the fungus Candida die. This number is on the rise due to increasing resistance to commonly used antifungals.

However, the picture is complicated because there are various species of Candida and outcomes depend on patients’ underlying conditions.

Now, four researchers in Cairo, Egypt, have analysed blood cultures from cancer patients in a hospital in Egypt to identify the Candida species present and to determine how well they responded to two common anti-fungal drugs.

They found that non-albicans Candida species, rather than the traditionally dominant Candida albicans, are now the most widespread cause of such infections. Alarmingly, they found high resistance rates to the drugs, particularly in non-albicans Candida species, suggesting that commonly used treatments may be losing their effectiveness.

To preserve the efficacy of existing antifungals, the researchers call for programs to steward them. They also recommend further studies looking at how resistance develops.