Fungal infection ‘threat’ to human health
James Gallagher, BBC News, July 5th, 2016
Summary: This article aims to describe the extent to which fungal infections can be pathogenic to humans. Often when people think of fungal infections, they may not necessarily consider that these type of infections kill one million people per year. Also, there are no vaccines available for fungal infections. Three major groups of fungi are responsible for the infections. People that are immunosuppressed are most vulnerable to these infections.
Connections: Fungi are eukaryotes, which means that they share many cellular mechanisms with the eukaryotic hosts that they infect, such as humans. This explains in part why it is so difficult to make vaccines against and treat fungal infections. Since antibiotics rely on differences between the pathogens and host for their targets, if the pathogen and host are similar, there are fewer cellular mechanisms available for the antibiotic to target.
Critical analysis: I though that the numbers in this story were interesting. I was not aware that approximately 1 million people are killed every year by fungal infections, and that there are three main categories of fungi that are responsible for these infections.
Question: Do any vaccines against fungal infections exist? What is their mechanism?