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Prevalence and risk factors for disseminated Talaromyces marneffei in HIV-infected patients in China

August 26 2016

The prevalence of disseminated Penicillium marneffei (now known as Talaromyces marneffei) infection in HIV-infected patients is unknown. 8131 archived HIV-infected patient serum samples were tested for T. marneffei-specific mannoprotein antigen between 2004 and 2011 in Guangzhou, China in order to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for this infection. Previous studies have shown that environmental predictors, seasonality and changes in CD4 count affect the prevalence of T. marneffei, with HIV-infected patients with a CD4 count <200 cells/µL at particular risk. However, data regarding these factors in Chinese patients is lacking. The cell-wall mannoprotein, Mplp has previously been shown to be a potential biomarker for the serodiagnosis of T.marneffei and the authors established a double-antibody sandwich ELISA for Mplp antigen with high sensitivity and specificity (1)Wang et al. 2011). In this retrospective analysis, this immunoassay was used to assess the prevalence of Talaromyces among HIV-infected patients in Guangzhou. The correlation between the CD4 count and the seasonality, and the Mplp antigen-positive rate was also analysed in order to assess risk factors.
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Diagnosis by serology of some Cryptococcus gattii infections fails due to low sensitivity

August 22 2016

Latex agglutination tests (LATs) using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) such as the PastorexTM Crypto plus or the Remel Cryptococcus Antigen Test Kit have insufficient sensitivity to detect 4 out of 10 Cryptococcus gattii infections. Since the distribution of C. gattii is spreading to geographical zones outside of tropical/subtropical areas, Kathrin Tintelnot and colleagues from the Division of Mycology at the Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, recommend the use of an assay with a broad range specificity and sensitivity for C. neoformans and C. gattii in the case of a suspected Cryptococcus infection.
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New resources from the UK collaborative on development sciences

August 18 2016

“Global development challenges such as infectious diseases, conflict and food security are complex and dynamic. To develop appropriate solutions we need new thinking, input from all disciplines and equitable global collaborations.” The UK collaborative on development sciences (UKCDS) brings together a group of 15 UK government departments and research funders working in international development. The UKCDS is launching new resources to inspire and help researchers navigate the opportunities brought about by the changing research landscape.
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Millions deprived of life-saving antifungal medicines

August 11 2016

The world is in the grip of a global crisis that kills the equivalent of the populations of Philadelphia, Kampala or Prague, - around 1.6 million each year. A new report published today in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, documents how many countries do not have life-saving antifungal therapies. Now GAFFI (The Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections) has published the largest survey ever undertaken from 159 countries and found that a pair of critical antifungal medicines for AIDS patients are not available in over 95 countries. One of these antifungals has been available since the 1950’s and the other since the 1970’s. Professor David Denning, the paper’s lead author says it beggars believe that hundreds of millions of people cannot access the optimal therapy for fungal meningitis and fungal lung infections.“It is doubly tragic,” he says, “that these antifungals have been used since the late 1950’s in the case of amphotericin B. Yet the systems for delivering these drugs to the most needy are still not in place". A key drug for fungal meningitis, flucytosine is not licensed in and is unavailable in 89 of 125 (71.2%) and 95 of 125 (76.0%) countries, respectively, representing an unserved population of 2898 million. The daily price of flucytosine varied from $4.60 to $1409. Another of the critical drugs for fungal meningitis (amphotericin B) is not available in 42 countries.
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Molecular methods for the diagnosis of chronic fungal rhinosinusitis

August 08 2016

A diagnosis of chronic fungal rhinosinusitis (CFRS) usually relies on the culture and histological examination of sinus samples obtained during endonasal sinus surgery. A 3-year retrospective study (Comacle et al 2016) underlines the importance of using both culture and histology because false negative results often occur by histological examination, particularly for AFRS cases where fungal hyphae may be sparse. The authors also evaluated the sensitivity of ITS1/ITS2 PCR on sinus samples for fungal identification. All positive samples by direct examination (microscopy) were successfully amplified by PCR with a sensitivity of 100%. Molecular detection by ITS1/2 proved far superior to both culture (51% sensitivity) and histology (48% senstitivity).
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