Fungal infections: New drug to treat life-threatening conditions

The drug is the first antifungal treatment to be discovered in the last 30 years, scientists from the University of Liverpool claimed.

Invasive fungal infections are often deadly. After six weeks, up to 30 per cent of patients die, while the infection can be fatal if the infection is drug-resistant.

In order to overcome a “major global clinical challenge”, the scientists developed a new drug type, known as the orotomides.

The treatment was tested in rabbits successfully, and now second and third phase clinical trials can begin.

The drugs work by stopping one of the fungus’s enzymes from working. 

The results meant the correct doses for humans could be measured out for the first time, paving the way for more succinct human trials.

Researcher working on the study, Professor William Hope, said: “Antifungal resistance represents a major global clinical challenge.

“This study provides the necessary information to enable [the drug] to be developed for clinical use.”

The drug will be used to treat fungal infections including aspergillosis.

Aspergillosis is caused by a mould called aspergillus.

It usually affects the respiratory system, but can spread to anywhere in the body.

Symptoms of the fungal infection include coughing up mucus and blood, fatigue, weight loss, fever and shortness of breath.

Medication will usually take care of the infection, but in some cases it can be life-threatening.

Those most at risk of the lethal effects of the infection are those with a weak immune system, including people who have received cancer treatment or bone marrow transplants.

The most serious type of aspergillus is invasive pulmonary aspergillus (IPA).

About half of those with IPA die from the condition.