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Drug-resistance fears for deadly fungal disease
Date:5/5/2011

ethods, and 55% were found to contain azole-resistance markers.

"This is an extraordinarily high rate of resistance, possibly related to fungicide use in agriculture more than a third of 'pesticides' used by UK farmers are azoles and long treatment courses in patients, so the findings have major implications for the sustainability of azoles for human antifungal therapy."

The azoles itraconazole (Johnson & Johnson), voriconazole (Pfizer) and posaconazole (Merck) have annual sales of more than $1bn annually. Conventional diagnosis of aspergillosis is limited by poor culture yield, and so the true frequency of azole resistance has been unclear.

In this latest study, the researchers analyzed phlegm from patients with allergic and chronic lung disease caused by Aspergillus and found that almost twice the proportion of individuals tested had resistance markers in their sample compared to a Petri dish (or culture) study carried out by the team in 2008/9.

Professor Denning added: "Not only is molecular testing much more sensitive than conventional culture for diagnosis, but it enables testing for resistance, which until now has been impossible if cultures are negative. Given the rising frequency of resistance in Aspergillus in northern Europe, China and the United States, this study provides key data for doctors to shift antifungal therapy in the face of resistance."


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Contact: Aeron Haworth
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-8383
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

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