Superbug Fungus

  • by IAS Score

Candida auris is the deadly fungus that does not respond to conventional antifungal drugs.

What is it? 1. Candida auris is the deadly fungus that does not respond to conventional antifungal drugs.

2. Recently outbreaks have been reported this year in eight countries across four continents — India, Pakistan, South Korea, Kuwait, South Africa, Colombia, Venezuela, United states of America and United Kingdom.

3. The first case reported was in Japan in an external ear canal infection in a patient in 2009. Since then, most cases have been invasive in nature.

4. India has one of the highest number of infections caused by this superbug.

How did it develop resistance?
  • The rise of more virulent forms is connected to the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. Killing all kinds of bacteria gives space for fungi to grow.
  • the high resistance to existing drugs is that this species has a higher number of drug efflux pumps compared to other species.
  • Drug efflux pumps are proteins that prevent other drugs from crossing the cell membrane.
Whom does it affect? 1. It is often seen in patients whose immune system is compromised, such as AIDS patients

2. In case of transplants, malignancies and the use of catheters.

3. Most of the infections are hospital-acquired, especially in ICU settings.

State of diagnosis 1. Current diagnostic procedures to detect fungal infections cannot detect Candida auris, which is resistant to common antifungal treatment.

2. In several patients, by the time it is detected the infection has been proved it is fatal.

3. It is difficult to diagnosis since most patients who acquire Candida are already quite ill.

4. Recent progress in the diagnosis

I. The team of scientists has developed a diagnostic tool to detect Candida aurisusing polymerase chain reactions.

II. A team of scientists in Bengalurucompleted the genotype sequencing of Candida auris.

Way forward 1. Genome sequencing can help in detecting the fungus at an earlier stage than before and can start off with treatment which it is sensitive to.

2. Greater collaboration is required between academic research and clinical practises as emergence of superbugs is a small example of the lacunae between academic research that studies the current disease scenario and current clinical practices