PerspectiveInfectious Disease

How to bolster the antifungal pipeline

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Science  27 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6229, pp. 1414-1416
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa6097

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About 1.2 billion people worldwide are estimated to suffer from a fungal disease (1, 2). Most are infections of the skin or mucosa, which respond readily to therapy, but a substantial minority is invasive or chronic and difficult to diagnose and treat. An estimated 1.5 to 2 million people die of a fungal infection each year, surpassing those killed by either malaria or tuberculosis (3). Most of this mortality is caused by species belonging to four genera of fungi: Aspergillus, Candida, Cryptococcus, and Pneumocystis. Although great strides were made in the 1990s, drug development has largely stalled since then. Opportunities exist for accelerating development, particularly in fungal asthma, and to treat chronic and invasive aspergillosis.