Drug-resistant fungi thrive in the remote areas

A disease-causing fungus is resistant to a common antifungal medicine used to treat infections.

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The most common Aspergillus species are harmful to humans, and the main source of Aspergillosis is Aspergillus fumigatus. Its capacity to grow quickly on various organic detritus and its ability to produce many airborne spores have led to its wide distribution. 

In the Three Parallel Rivers region of Yunnan, China, a disease-causing fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus, has been discovered to resist a common antifungal drug used to treat infections. 

The region is 6,000 meters above sea level and bordered by glaciated peaks of the Eastern Himalayas, making the occurrence of antimicrobial-resistant strains of A. 

The research is the third trilogy of related investigations conducted by Xu and colleagues, who discovered that over 80% of A. fumigatus samples from Yunnan greenhouses were resistant to routinely used antifungal medicines. The second investigation discovered that approximately 15% of samples from Yunnan agricultural fields, lake sediments, and forests were also resistant.

Xu, a professor of biology at McMaster University and a member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, said, “Seven percent may seem like only a small number, but these drug-resistant strains are capable of propagating very quickly and taking over local and regional populations of this species.”

He added, “There is a need for increased surveillance of drug resistance in the environment across diverse geographic regions.”

These resistant Himalayan strains of A. According to the outward gradient of resistance from greenhouses, fumigatus were most likely created from the spores of other fungi overexposed to agricultural fungicides in other environments; given that the fungus is so widespread and can result in significant health issues, this is concerning for its global spread.

A new study has looked at similar resistance mechanisms supporting the Global Nexus School for Pandemic Prevention & Response in strains discovered in India and the Canadian Northwest Territories.

He has previously investigated analogous resistance mechanisms in fungal strains in Canada’s Northwest Territories and India – some 10,000 km apart.

Researchers said, “Unlike viruses like COVID-19, fungi don’t need a host to spread, They can travel on humans, through trade, and even on strong winds.”

To better understand how these resistant strains are spreading and developing in remote areas, he plans to return to China’s mountainous regions and collect air samples for fungal spores.

Journal Reference:

  1. Duanyong Zhou, Jianchuan Gong, et al.Genetic structure and triazole resistance among Aspergillus fumigatus populations from remote and undeveloped regions in Eastern Himalaya.mSphere.DOI: 10.1128/msphere.00071-23