Detection of the 'Big Five' mold killers of humans: Aspergillus, Fusarium, Lomentospora, Scedosporium and Mucormycetes.

Detection of the ‘Big Five’ mold killers of humans: Aspergillus, Fusarium, Lomentospora, Scedosporium and Mucormycetes.

Adv Appl Microbiol. 2020;110:1-61

Authors: Thornton CR

Fungi are an important but frequently overlooked cause of morbidity and mortality in humans. Life-threatening fungal infections mainly occur in immunocompromised patients, and are typically caused by environmental opportunists that take advantage of a weakened immune system. The filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus is the most important and well-documented mold pathogen of humans, causing a number of complex respiratory diseases, including invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, an often fatal disease in patients with acute leukemia or in immunosuppressed bone marrow or solid organ transplant recipients. However, non-Aspergillus molds are increasingly reported as agents of disseminated diseases, with Fusarium, Scedosporium, Lomentospora and mucormycete species now firmly established as pathogens of immunosuppressed and immunocompetent individuals. Despite well-documented risk factors for invasive fungal diseases, and increased awareness of the risk factors for life-threatening infections, the number of deaths attributable to molds is likely to be severely underestimated driven, to a large extent, by the lack of readily accessible, cheap, and accurate tests that allow detection and differentiation of infecting species. Early diagnosis is critical to patient survival but, unlike Aspergillus diseases, where a number of CE-marked or FDA-approved biomarker tests are now available for clinical diagnosis, similar tests for fusariosis, scedosporiosis and mucormycosis remain experimental, with detection reliant on insensitive and slow culture of pathogens from invasive bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, tissue biopsy, or from blood. This review examines the ecology, epidemiology, and contemporary methods of detection of these mold pathogens, and the obstacles to diagnostic test development and translation of novel biomarkers to the clinical setting.

PMID: 32386603 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Source: Industry