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Beta-D-glucan useful for diagnosing paracoccidioidomycosis

January 02 2020

Establishing the diagnosis of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) can be difficult – direct microscopy and culture is supplemented by antibody testing. There is much high variability among medical mycology reference centers with antibody test results. Dr Melo from São Paulo assessed the value of (1,3)-beta-D-glucan (BDG) testing in both acute and chronic forms of PCM.

The sensitivity of BDG (Fungitell assay) was excellent, detecting 28 of 29 cases (sensitivity 97%). Patients with acute PCM had levels from 425 to 18,500 pg/mL and chronic from 51 to>5,230 pg/mL. Levels remained high even with successful treatment in both acute and chronic PCM, so following therapy with BDG is not very useful, as in many fungal infections.

As BDG is positive in many other fungal infections, it is not specific for PCM, and is positive in other endemic mycoses, including histoplasmosis.

Read more: Melo et al (2020) Evaluation of (1 → 3)-β-D-glucan assay for diagnosing paracoccidioidomycosis