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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Metal, a possible solution against fungal infections

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BRISBANE (CU)_Resistance of microorganisms to current therapies has been a key area of concern prompting new research into the area across the world as the inability to treat conditions caused by microorganisms could lead to a severe health crisis. Scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ) may have a potential solution to fungal infections, where they revealed metal compounds could be the solution to the pending issue of drug-resistant fungal infections.

Associate Professor Mark Blaskovich, Dr Alysha Elliott and other researchers from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, joined hands with Dr Angelo Frei from The University of Bern in Switzerland, leading a research team which saw 1 in 5 metal compounds analyzed displayed antifungal properties.

Dr Blaskovich stated that the compounds, a particular class of molecule, demonstrated potential to be used in the production of much-needed antifungal drugs further stating that Fungal infections results in an estimated 1.5 million deaths each year and are especially a concern for immunocompromised individuals such as chemotherapy and transplant patients.

“As well as bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics, fungi – which cause meningitis and infections of the skin, lungs and bloodstream – are becoming resistant to known treatments,” said Dr Blaskovich. “There are only 10 antifungal drugs in various phases of clinical development at the moment and not all of them will pass trials to make it to patients, so we urgently need more options.”

The researchers had previously demonstrated metal compounds like the platinum-containing anticancer agent cisplatin have antibacterial properties, hence undertook the initial large-scale screening to investigate their antifungal properties. Dr Blaskovich stated they found that 21% metal compounds screened indicated antifungal activity as opposed to 1% of the 300,000 non-metal compounds previously evaluated and what made the finding even more significant was that they saw the highest antifungal activity also showed low toxicity.

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